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She Had a Question, 1911

By: Ardis E. Parshall - March 25, 2009

We return today to the “Girl Queries” column of the Young Woman’s Journal, wherein a wise sister answered the questions submitted by young girls and women concerning everything from manners to health to gospel doctrine:

Is it proper for a gentleman to smoke when in the company of a young lady? – Mamie.

A gentleman should never smoke when in the presence of ladies, without first receiving their permission. From a Latter-day Saint view-point you should not keep company with a boy who smokes.

—oooOooo—

Is it good form to have the tooth pick holder on the table? – Jessica.

No. It may be placed on a side table or cupboard, but accessible to anyone greatly in need of a toothpick. In good society toothpicks are never openly used in the presence of others; always when one is alone or back of a napkin when others are not noticing.

—oooOooo—

Would it be unwise for me to “go out” with the husband of my dearest friend while she is out of town? I can see no harm. – Annette.

It certainly would be improper. There is nothing that is so likely to disrupt your friendship as to receive attentions from the husband of your “dear friend.” Then the impropriety of such actions is very grave.

—oooOooo—

When you are at a party where you are not very well acquainted with the boys, should you ask one of them to take you home if you are timid about going alone? – Sunny.

If you are so unfortunate as to be at a party without an escort or chaperone and no provision has been made by your hostess or parents for your safe return home, it would be perfectly proper to ask a respectable young man to accompany you.

—oooOooo—

When was the Orphan’s Home and Day Nursery of Salt Lake City established, and by whom, and how supported? – Mrs. O.B.S.

It was established Oct. 10, 1884, by Miss Elizabeth Dickey, a Presbyterian missionary. it is non-sectarian; supported by contributions and soliciting from the general public. It is controlled by a board of thirteen directors, belonging to different denominations. From forty to fifty children are cared for continuously. Their new building, just erected, cost $50,000. [The Day Nursery has functioned continuously since 1884, and in 2009 is known as the Children’s Service Society of Utah.]

—oooOooo—

Please give me a simple remedy for enlarged pores. – Peggy.

One and one-half ounces of cucumber juice, one-half ounce of tincture of benzoin, one ounce of cologne and five ounces of elder-flower water. Put the benzoin in an eight or ten ounce bottle, add the other ingredients which have been previously mixed, and shake together slightly. Apply this lotion with a sponge, night and morning.

—oooOooo—

To P.C.N.’s query, a girl of seventeen should be under her parents’ supervision and only “go out” occasionally with young men. Late hours should never be indulged in. Such liberties as you speak of are very improper. Be a sweet modest girl; stand on your dignity and respect yourself.

—oooOooo—

To “Brown eyes”: Be modest, sweet, and unselfish. Always appear happy; be very courteous to, and considerate of other girls. Bathe frequently and always have the appearance of being tidy and clean. Give special attention to the hair and finger nails. Follow these instructions and note results in a few months.

—oooOooo—

To an “Old Subscriber,” I quote the work of a noted French physician to discouraged patients: “Do not let us build a second story to our sorrow by being sorry for our sorrow. He who knows how to suffer suffers less.”

—oooOooo—

What is the proper time to break up a house party of boys and girls when they are invited for 7 o’clock? When they do not leave what should be done? – L.B. and G.R.

If girls and boys are under seventeen they should not remain longer than 9:45 p.m. if none of the party suggest going before that time, the mother of the hostess should announce, very kindly, that the hour is late and she is quite sure that their parents will be expecting them; she hopes they all have had a pleasant time, and invites them to come again. Older boys and girls might be permitted to remain until 10:30.

—oooOooo—

In reply to “August.” it certainly would be very improper to do as you suggest. The person in question was evidently not well born, and truly not well-bred.

—oooOooo—

To “Meg.” Decidedly no.

—oooOooo—

To Jennie. Address him as, Dear Friend, or My Dear Friend Mr. — .

—oooOooo—

Should a wife pay tithing on what is earned while her husband is on a mission, and should it be paid in his name? – Melba.

If the husband has left some business or a stipulated sum from which interest is accruing, the tithing on such should be paid in his name. But if the wife or children are earning money, the tithing from that should be paid in the name of the one who earns it.

—oooOooo—

To Jennie’s query, yes, Louise Alcott did go out to service. Such service was not pleasant to her, however. she wrote a story, “How I went out to service,” describing some of her experiences.

—oooOooo—

“Sunshine” – it all depends on what sort of an education you refer to. Girls should be just as progressive, and anxious to develop and grow into complete womanhood as boys to develop into complete or perfect manhood. There are many advantages in the “higher education.”

—oooOooo—

To Fay’s query – Diet yourself. Lessen the quantity of food. Do not eat fat-producing foods. Exercise more and take long, brisk walks.

—oooOooo—

Can you suggest some appropriate games with which to spend Sunday evening? Is it wrong to play card games, as “Flinch” and “Block?” – “A Girl.”

Sunday evening is a continuation of the Sabbath day, and from a “Mormon” viewpoint it would be very improper to play such games. if you have a number of young people at your home after church service, there are so many intellectual subjects to be discussed that are really entertaining and much more appropriate to the hour after church.

—oooOooo—

Is it proper for a girl to have her photograph taken with a gentleman friend? – Lelia.

Not unless they are in a group with others. Although she may be engaged to the gentleman, it were better to wait until after marriage to have their photographs taken together. Should they not marry, regrets might follow such an action.

—oooOooo—

When a girl goes to a dance with friends or a chaperone, should she accept the company of a young man home? – ruby.

Certainly not. It would be very discourteous to those with whom she went. A girl should not be so eager for a man’s company as to snatch at every opportunity. she does not gain respect by cheapening herself.

—oooOooo—

Please give me a solution to prevent disagreeable odors from the armpits. – Pearl.

Bathe the body daily. Bathe the armpits twice a day with one quarter of water to which has been added one tablespoonful of listerine or half the quantity of ammonia. Then bathe twice daily with the following: One dram of boric acid, one ounce of rosewater and two ounces of witch hazel. Dust lightly once a day with a powder made of one ounce of powdered alum, two ounces powdered orris root and two ounces powdered rice. Be sure your digestive organs are in proper condition. Continued constipation will cause unpleasant odors.

—oooOooo—

“Margaret.” – It is difficult to alter the appearance of the ears when the child has attained his majority. Mothers should notice the ears in infancy and train them to be as perfect as possible. Many deformities could be corrected in childhood if parents were more painstaking with their children. your daughter’s ears may be less “conspicuous” by the manner in which you dress her hair. Have it come down and partly cover the ears.



29 Comments »

  1. I absolutely have to share some of these with my early morning seminary students tomorrow. They will get a kick out of them.

    Thanks,

    Comment by David Richey — March 25, 2009 @ 7:10 am

  2. Peggy: I hope that remedy works for your enlarged pores.

    Comment by Steve C. — March 25, 2009 @ 7:13 am

  3. Holy cow. Listerine and ammonia in your armpits?!

    Comment by Mark Brown — March 25, 2009 @ 7:43 am

  4. Mothers should notice the ears in infancy and train them to be as perfect as possible. Many deformities could be corrected in childhood if parents were more painstaking with their children.

    This answer calls out for elaboration. How does one “train [ears] to be as perfect as possible”?

    Comment by Justin — March 25, 2009 @ 8:52 am

  5. I think I get as many out-loud laughs from these questions and answers than from the Funny Bones series. The author does an admirable job, I think.

    Comment by Hunter — March 25, 2009 @ 9:37 am

  6. Are These actual questions? some of them seem real but some of them seem like straw questions (dreamed up with the answer already in mind for the purpose of moralizing) The one about card games sounds made up.

    Comment by J.Paul — March 25, 2009 @ 9:53 am

  7. “Continued constitution will cause unpleasant odors”?! Not sure what that means; not sure I want to!!

    Some fascinating insights into the society of the time, Ardis, keep it up, and as Hunter said, these are far funnier than the funnies!

    Comment by Alison — March 25, 2009 @ 10:01 am

  8. Ha! I have no reason to suspect that these are anything other than what they appear to be — questions sent in by girls and answered by Sister Catherine Hurst (I need to do some research on her).

    Argh, Alison, I’m sure that’s a typo. Catherine is very concerned about constipation and often mentions it in connection with odors so I’m sure that “constitution” should be “constipation.” Will correct that.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 25, 2009 @ 10:06 am

  9. Oh boy, Ardis. These are great. I should have read this post before writing an email to someone a minute or two ago complaining about something. “Do not let us build a second story to our sorrow by being sorry for our sorrow. He who knows how to suffer suffers less.” Time to stop complaining and be stoic!

    And the policy of no engagement photos? That’s certainly changed in our current society!

    Comment by Researcher — March 25, 2009 @ 10:15 am

  10. Oh, yes, stoicism is certainly the only way to go. It will help you maintain that calm, modest exterior despite the social stigma and your regrets at having allowed your photograph to be taken with your fiance.

    But however great your sorrow for being sorry, do NOT allow yourself to become constipated. Nor your pores to become enlarged.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 25, 2009 @ 10:45 am

  11. Wait, I’m dying to know what “Meg” asked. These are great.

    Comment by jeans — March 25, 2009 @ 11:06 am

  12. Poor Margaret.

    I’m dying to know how to train ears so that they don’t have to be covered by hair in adulthood. Especially the painstaking part. One has to assume pain, I suppose, in such delicate matters.

    Comment by kevinf — March 25, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

  13. I agree; these are even funnier than the Funny Bones posts.

    I love how practical they are – and the armpit odor question . . . I’m trying to picture that in the current New Era . . . but the effort is making me constipated.

    Comment by Ray — March 25, 2009 @ 2:06 pm

  14. I researched the matter of training ears and found the following non-surgical tips (check out the first three books).

    Comment by Justin — March 25, 2009 @ 2:52 pm

  15. I would just love to see the look on my 12 year old daughter’s face if she read about constipation and armpit odors in the New Era. She’d say “Ewwwwwwww!”

    Comment by Steve C. — March 25, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

  16. #13 – I knew I was rushed when I typed #13, but that’s embarrassing. I like the “New Ear” typo in context, but the “my constipated” part sounds like I forgot to finish the sentence. :(

    Comment by Ray — March 25, 2009 @ 7:23 pm

  17. Fixed, Ray. Sorry I didn’t get to it sooner.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 25, 2009 @ 7:42 pm

  18. As always, these are great, Ardis. Frankly, a lot of Catherine’s advice would be useful today. Except maybe the listerine and ammonia in the armpits. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — March 25, 2009 @ 8:31 pm

  19. #14

    Justin, you don’t plaster your babies’ ears to their heads for a few weeks and then clean up the adhesive goo with gasoline?

    Who doesn’t?

    Comment by Ben Pratt — March 25, 2009 @ 10:27 pm

  20. Ardis,what year or years are these question/answers from? I’m trying to picture any of the women in my family who would reading these comments.
    There seems to be a wide fluctuation of age: Would it be unwise for me to “go out” with the husband of my dearest friend while she is out of town? I can see no harm. – Annette When you are at a party where you are not very well acquainted with the boys, should you ask one of them to take you home if you are timid about going alone? – Sunny

    Comment by Maurine — March 25, 2009 @ 11:04 pm

  21. #20 – “She Had a Question, 1911″ :)

    Comment by Ray — March 25, 2009 @ 11:07 pm

  22. The YWJ was aimed at the entire YLMIA, which in this era was from 14 years up to mid-20s and beyond (the “advanced senior” class was for age 23 and up to as old as anyone was interested in being in MIA, including married women — there was no age cut-off). So yeah, we seem to be reading questions from precocious little girls up to the mothers of those same girls, don’t we?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 26, 2009 @ 12:54 am

  23. Justin, you don’t plaster your babies’ ears to their heads for a few weeks and then clean up the adhesive goo with gasoline?

    Who doesn’t?

    Well, there was that one small incident a few years ago involving my ears, adhesive plaster, gasoline, and a candle….In any event, I’m now using the Claxton ear-cap on my outstanding ears. I’ve found it to be quite comfy.

    Comment by Justin — March 26, 2009 @ 7:41 am

  24. Justin, great links. Just avoid the “cheap and nasty” imitations to the original Claxton. Hee.

    Comment by jeans — March 26, 2009 @ 8:24 am

  25. These are hilarious. Ardis, keep doing these. I agree with everyone else that they’re as funny as the joke ones.

    I loved the Louisa May Alcott story. She was such a great writer! I laughed at her “fancy work” peeling spuds. Her description of the entire household, and the gentleman’s demands and complaints were so funny and so real. Also, her description of the lessons she learned there is wonderful and true. I need to go back and read her entire works again. She was my first favorite writer of chapter books.

    Comment by Tatiana — March 26, 2009 @ 7:36 pm

  26. Tatiana, my first “history” was a biography of Louisa May Alcott when I was in 4th grade. I love her!

    Never fear, all; I have 8 or 10 of these “she had a question” posts already typed and in the queue for the next couple of months. “She” had lots of questions, and they were all as unexpected as these.

    And Justin, I knew you were “outstanding” but didn’t realize you were “all ears.”

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 26, 2009 @ 7:42 pm

  27. There’s a website that’s similar to this: http://ldswhy.com/qa/
    The answers aren’t as funny, but still helpful.

    Comment by Allison — March 26, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

  28. “Never fear, all; I have 8 or 10 of these “she had a question” posts already typed”

    Ardis:

    Oh my. You must be a typing fiend. Hast thou no scanning technology available? I’m fearful of hearing about an impending carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis . . .

    Comment by Hunter — March 26, 2009 @ 10:51 pm

  29. Scanning wouldn’t work for most posts, Hunter — the Funny Bones and Questions, for instance, are selections made from the best of a whole year’s magazine pages, not straight copying from a single page. And I am something of a typing fiend, so it’s easier to copy-type even something like a Sunday School lesson than it is to scan and then have to go through and fix all the formatting problems and mis-read letters one at a time.

    Besides, my mother taught me to type like a pianist learns to play, with wrists flat and all movement coming from the fingers — never had a sign of carpal tunnel problems. But thanks for your concern. :)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 27, 2009 @ 4:59 am

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