Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » She Had a Question, 1917

She Had a Question, 1917

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 02, 2009

We’ve laughed at earlier posts drawn from the “Girl Query” department of the Young Woman’s Journal. Those curiosities magnified by the passing of time are still here, but in this first year of American involvement in World War I, a surprising number of of queries hint at the darker facts of life — typhus, war, and racial prejudice.

And the cost of postage has climbed by 50%.

Can you suggest something new to serve with a light meat or chicken course, aside from cranberry or currant jelly? – Kathryn.

A very refreshing relish and garnish to serve with such a course is small individual molds of very tart lemon jelly, in which are molded a few nut meats. Tint the jelly to carry out any color scheme.


“Bride-to-be”. – the wedding linen is usually marked with the bride’s maiden name, rather than that of her future surname. As long as it lasts it will be a reminder to her of the happy associations of her passing girlhood and early young wifehood.


Please tell me how a woman’s business card should be engraved. – One Who Works.

A woman’s business card should bear the prefix “Miss” or “Mrs.” The address should be placed in the lower left-hand corner, and her occupation in smaller type just below the name. It may be either printed or engraved. Business cards are not allowable for social purposes.


“Wanda.” – Hair deadened by typhoid fever will fall. Tonics will not prevent it. Have it cut and be patient, as nature will provide a new growth, when your general health improves.


“Atlas.” – You ask about the submarines. The Germans call their submarines, Unter see boote, which means undersea boats, therefore they are called U-1, U-2, or whatever the number of the submarine may be.


“Julia.” – For excessive perspiration in the hands, bathe with vinegar or strong alum water.

To whiten the hands, wash them daily in buttermilk, or in a mixture of milk and bran.


“Nellie.” – A person’s nose usually conforms to the contour and shape of the face, and is the right nose in the right place. You cannot change it, so try not to be conscious of the size, but rather let your manner and disposition be so charming and sunny, that people will admire you in spite of it.


“Betty.” – For the freckles on your hands and arms, spread fresh buttermilk over them after the manner of a plaster, and let remain on for several hours. Rinse with warm water and carefully dry, then dust with talcum powder. Or, dissolve some salt in lemon juice, and use on the hands at night before retiring. Let dry on. The juice of the tomato is also good.


What does the word “boches” mean, and how pronounced? – Margaret.

The word “boches” is a term of derision applied to the kaiser’s troops by the allied soldiers in the trenches. It is pronounced as spelled with the “o” short.


“M.S.” – Children born in the United States of unnaturalized parents are natural born Americans, and therefore are citizens of the United States. The Chinese, although not eligible to naturalization, become citizens if born in this country.


What is the meaning of “Gretna Green?” – Jessie.

Gretna Green is a village in Dumfrieshire, Scotland, near the border line between Scotland and England, and for over a century was notorious for the celebrations of marriages of runaway couples from England. The practice was checked by an act of 1856, when all irregular marriages were rendered invalid, unless one of the parties had been living in Scotland for three weeks previously, or had his or her residence there at the time.


“Mrs. A.G.B.” – To remove the ink spot from your centerpiece, dip the stained part in melted tallow. Remove the tallow with hot soap suds. Or, keep the spot wet with milk and apply dry salt until the stain comes out, or dip alternately in strong bran water and lemon juice until the stain disappears.


Is a wedding ring required in civil marriage ceremonies, and what was its origin? – Martha.

The wedding ring is used in most religious marriage ceremonies. It is not required in civil ceremonies. The origin or history of the wedding ring goes back to pagan times when brides were often bought, and sometimes stolen and carried away by force in chains. As men advanced, became more civilized and enlightened, they recognized women as their equals, love and romance went hand in hand, and the gold ring – emblematical of love, unity, and equality – took the place of chains and slavery.


Where does the word “khaki” come from? – Libbie.

Khaki is a Hindu name, meaning dusty or dirt colored. The term is applied to any cloth of a green gray or drab color that does not attract attention or show dirt easily. It was first adopted in British India in 1848 to equip a corps of guides on the frontier of India. The term is applied to the color of the cloth rather than to the material.


“Dora.” – More than once we have published that there is nothing but the electric needle for the permanent removal of superfluous hair. This treatment is quite expensive, and can only be done by an expert. Any depilatory one might use would only remove the hairs temporarily. They will soon grow again thicker and more conspicuous than before. (2) For perspiration about the arm pits use Odo-ro-no, to be had at any drug store. This however will not remove the cause. See to it that your general health is perfect, giving particular attention to the eliminations from the body.


“Cecil.” – We cannot discuss the “movie” stars in these columns.


What are the rules when entering a street car, with a gentleman, paying fare, seating, etc.? – Novice.

A gentleman assists a lady to enter a car ahead of himself, finds her a seat if possible. A gentleman will arise and proffer his seat to a lady who enters with a friend of his. If a gentleman is with a lady he pays the fare; if she casually met him while waiting for the car, or on the car, she pays her own fare unless he insists on doing so, when she must not discuss the matter, merely bow politely. Women ought not to expect men to always offer their places in the car, as ofttimes working men are more tired and in greater need of rest, than the woman. A gentleman will always know when to proffer a seat.


How can I make mint vinegar? – Olive.

Strip the leaves from the stems of mint, put them in fruit jars, and pour over them cold white or pure cider vinegar. Allow three ounces of mint leaves to one quart of vinegar. Cover closely and let stand for two weeks. Shake the jar occasionally during this time. Strain through cheese cloth and bottle. When using for mutton or lamb, to three tablespoonsful of mint vinegar, add three tablespoonsful of plain vinegar, one teaspoonful of sugar, and one teaspoonful of minced parsley.


“Dorothy.” – It appears that your association with the young man was merely “college” friendship, and as such he no doubt regards it. If he has any other feeling toward you, he will write and let you know about it. “Faint heart never won fair lady.”


“Jennie.” – As the young man was so very kind to you during a portion of the year, it would be all right, and extremely nice on your part to send him a Christmas remembrance, now that he is away from home. The “boys” have no room for unnecessary things, therefore your gift might be a vest pocket camera, a box of candy, a small fruit cake, half a dozen handkerchiefs, or a knit scarf if you have the time to make and send it before Christmas.


Note: In sending stamped, addressed envelopes, remember that postage is now 3 cents.



  1. I never tire of reading these. I think it’s partly that they give me a glimpse of an earlier time, but also because, frankly, I learn something new each time. (I didn’t know much about the word “khaki” till today.)

    And, I loved the one about the size of your nose: “You cannot change it, . . . rather let your manner and disposition be so charming and sunny, that people will admire you in spite of it.” Ha!

    Comment by Hunter — July 2, 2009 @ 10:49 am

  2. I’m glad you enjoy them, Hunter. We’re getting near the end of the string, although I might go back and pick up some of the second-best bits to stretch it out a little. Since I didn’t realize this would be as popular as it’s been, it could easily be that some of what I passed over could be of even greater amusement to some.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 2, 2009 @ 11:51 am

  3. These answers have the delicate sound of my grandmother telling me how to navigate the tides of life. She married in 1917 and I can see that she continued to be a reflection of her generation. Love these Ardis, thanks for sharing them.

    Comment by Jones — July 2, 2009 @ 12:58 pm

  4. You were right about the subject of war weaving throughout the questions this time. The questions definitely teach us about that period of time in a way that history books would not.

    Comment by Maurine — July 2, 2009 @ 9:37 pm

  5. I just adore reading these. One one hand, times have changed so much, but looked at another way, things really aren’t so different.

    Comment by Tracy M — July 3, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

  6. I adore them too. Thanks for your effort in collecting the best of them.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — July 4, 2009 @ 10:42 pm

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI