I have recently taken delivery of a large collection of Christmas Edition 1950's women's magazines and while perusing them for Vintage Housekeeping inspiration, it struck me that it is the letter page that is the most telling of it's time...the page that reveals most about the women, etiquette, and relative innocence of the era, while I suspect, showing us that the world really hasn't changed at all...
"I saw her at a sherry party: the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. She was perfect, from her smooth gold curls to her dainty shoes. Her black dress fitted like a sheath and over one arm she carried a heavenly silver fox cape. This I thought, is how one should look, should dress. I moved closer and heard her saying to the man, "No, no, we won't be going away at all this year- too difficult to leave the hens."
"I'm a different woman now. Hubby's socks neatly darned (without a last minute plea from him), the Winters knitting taken from the drawer and completed, a library book read within the allotted time, hair carefully set at night, child in bed without fuss- and the reason? The televisions gone bust!!!"
R.C., Ilkley, Yorks.
"At lunchtime I was sharing a table in a cafe with two ladies, who seemed to be well known to each other. One was very old and looked as if she had little comfort i life and few of this world's goods. Presently the other left, saying "Good Morning" to us. The little old lady then called for her bill. "But it is paid" said the waitress, "your friend paid it." "How could that be? I do not know her." She turned to me and I thought I saw tears of thankfulness in her eyes. "Well she has proved your friend hasn't she?" I said "And I know it has given her pleasure." I gave thanks that there are good Samaritans amongst us still."
"My Mother knitted my baby daughter a horror of a woollie- in old rose, bottle green and mustard. Two months later, I thought I'd better dress her in it as we were visiting Mother. Removing the child's coat, Mother said: "Goodness! Who on earth knitted that monstrosity?"
Mrs R.B., Kirkaldy, Fife.
"Noise from the neighbours may be tiresome, but I wish you'd try to think of it this way: The slammed car door noises may be the fault of the car manufacturers; the smoky bonfires were meant to flare out, burn the rubbish and then die quickly. One sometimes has to rev the car engine. The noisy door slamming inside was caused by a draught of wind. Have an inward when you hear your neighbours laugh loudly, and wonder what the joke is.
Perhaps the person who hammers in the evening has a very long day at work and is trying to build something that he can't afford to buy for his hardworking wife? Do find excuses for others, you'll be much happier... I know, I've tried."
Mrs. D., West Wickham, Kent.
"When my daughter first started school, I went along to meet her, and found a long line of children waiting expectantly. My child, a sweet look on her face, took me by the hand, and led me up to them, saying "This is my Mummy, isn't she lovely?". The children looked disappointed, because between you and me, I am a plain Jane. Though I have always seen the funny side of this incident, it brought tears to my eyes at the time."
Through bad luck, we have been almost stony broke; consequently, I have only been buying just enough food for husband, myself and two children. The other day- calamity!- we had unexpected guests to tea. In the cupboard was just enough bread for ourselves and a small tin of meat. We talked for a while, then I went to get tea ready. I opened the cupboard and behold! half a dozen tomatoes, a loaf and some biscuits! Staggered but overjoyed, I made quite a good meal. Afterward, the mystery was solved. My sister who lives down the street, had seen my visitors arrive, and, guessing my plight, sneaked in the back way while we chatted and did a fairy godmother act!"