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She Had a Question, 1919

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 30, 2009

A good homemade cracker, a nice-but-cheap wedding present, morganatic marriages, and advice on smelling pretty — just some of the concerns of the Mormon girls and young women who wrote to the “Girl Query” department of the Young Woman’s Journal in 1919:

What is the difference between eugenics and euthenics? – Meg.

Eugenics means the inheritance of a fine breed; of the generation of a fine race or family line.

Euthenics is the making of a fine race or family line, by the circumstances, surroundings, conditions, and outward influences brought to bear upon them.

—oooOooo—

“Mrs. M.G.K.” – The following is an excellent recipe for crackers. Butter 1/2 cup; salt 1/2 teaspoon; flour 1 qt. Rub thoroughly together with the hand, and wet up with cold water. Knead well, and beat in flour to make quite brittle and hard. Pinch off pieces and roll out each cracker by itself, to resemble baker’s crackers.

—oooOooo—

“S.S.” – It is all right to wear your hair as suggested. The personal appearance of a girl has much to do with her success either in business or social life.

—oooOooo—

“Blonde.” – Many girls from the country find good positions in the city. If a girl is capable, energetic, strong, and efficient in what she sets out to do, success should be the result. Not knowing your age am reticent about advising you. What does mother think?

—oooOooo—

A “Hope Chest” is usually long in the making, and contains all sorts of linen – bed and table linen, doilies, towels, scarfs, etc., which have been collected and put away in the “Chest,” ready for the bridal day.

—oooOooo—

Please tell me what gives that delicate odor to waists, handkerchiefs, etc., that some ladies have? – Madaline.

Many women place sachet bags of some favorite perfume among their apparel. Or, a piece of sandal wood is preferred by some. A very simple method of obtaining just a touch of that very “delicate odor” is, when washing blouses, fine handkerchiefs, laces, ties, etc., put a small lump of orris root in the rinsing water. This is more lasting than the sachet.

—oooOooo—

What is a morganatic marriage? – Winifred.

A morganatic marriage is a matrimonial union between a man of rank and a woman of inferior social position, in which it is stipulated that the woman and her children shall not enjoy the rank or inherit the possessions of the man. The offspring, however, are considered legitimate. Morganatic marriages are solemnized by giving the left, instead of the right hand. We have none such in America.

—oooOooo—

“Wild Rose.” – The use of the walking chair for infants is not considered advisable.

—oooOooo—

“Grateful Madge.” – Do not try to change the color of your hair, but keep it clean, well-ventilated, brushed, combed, and arranged as best suited to your style of beauty, and it will look well and attractive.

—oooOooo—

“Golda.” – When making the service flag for your ward, place a gold bar above the stars of those who served overseas, and a silver bar above the star or stars of those who served in America, not going over. There is nothing placed on the flag to indicate the length of time one was in service. When a boy offered himself, and life if need be, for his country, he was equal to the supreme test, whether he was sent overseas or served at home. If any were killed, or died while in service, whether at home or abroad, a gold star is placed on the flag to designate such.

—oooOooo—

Please give me an idea of what to have engraved on a wedding ring. – J.C.

In these times the initials of the bride and bridegroom, with the date, is the customary inscription.

—oooOooo—

“Bonita.” – A girl may attend a ball or party with a relative when her lover cannot escort her, but if she is engaged to one man, she has no right to accept the attentions of another. It will cause trouble.

—oooOooo—

“La Vern.” – Why not give some other kind of a party rather than a “pajama” party? Such a party is not productive of the highest and best ideals, and we could not approve of it.

—oooOooo—

“Louise.” – (1) It is always good form to be polite. It is so easy to say: “thank you,” or some other courteous phrase. (2) Two dances are permissive with a new acquaintance, not more.

—oooOooo—

How can I get rid of dark circles under my eyes? – Winnie.

Rest and sleep are the corrective agents. Go to bed early and get your “beauty sleep.”

—oooOooo—

Please tell me how to do my part to keep the home pleasant, and conquer myself when angry? How can I get rid of unpleasant thoughts? – Delia.

Some of the essentials of a pleasant home are, health, order, cleanliness, service, kindness, politeness, unselfishness and grateful hearts. Many girls are unpleasant and cross because they do not give due attention to their personal appearance, spending most of the day in soiled apron or dress, run-over shoes, uncombed hair, unclean teeth, etc. Upon arising in the morning drink two glasses of water, bathe the whole body, putting on fresh, clean underwear and stockings. Brush the teeth, brush, comb, and dress the hair. Have ready a clean apron or dress and good fitting, straight-heeled shoes. You will now feel clean, pleasant, and cheery, ready to give service to others. Maintain a strong, healthy body, by paying particular attention to diet, exercise, bathing, and proper rest and sleep. (2) Thomas Jefferson said: “When angry count ten before speaking; if very angry, count twenty.” It lies within you to conquer or control self. Try more earnestly every day and you will succeed. (3) Keep the mind so full of good thoughts that bad ones may not find room. Read good books. Keep busy. Idleness breeds discontent; discontent begets disagreeable, unpleasant thoughts. Join the “Bee-Hive” girls and study the handbook, filling the “cells” that will be most helpful to you in your home life.

—oooOooo—

We have a girl friend who is quite a town favorite, and she is to be married in October. We want to do something for her that will be nice but not too expensive, as most of us are just plain country folks. Can you help us out? – Jane and Mary.

I am sure you can arrange a “shower” that will be just as nice and jolly as ay ever given. Let it be a “sweet and sour” shower. Invite the boys as well as the girls and have each one bring a jar of something sweet or something sour, to one of your homes. Pack these jars in a clothes basket and then go to the home of the bride-to-be and surprise her. Each jar or glass should have the name of the donor and a card attached with a sentiment or bit of rhyme, or a recipe for the contents, to be read aloud during the evening. The mother of the honored guest could be informed of the “surprise” and with the help of the girls have some simple, light refreshments prepared. Send stamped envelope, and I will mail you two or three games for such a shower.

—oooOooo—

“Imogene.” – If your circumstances will permit, get an ivory toilet set, as ivory is more serviceable and quite the best taste. You could purchase, say, six pieces to begin with and add to it as you can until you have a full set. Ivory will look well and last for years.

—oooOooo—

“Anxious.” – My dear little girl, if the boys and girls in your town will attend “Mutual” meetings, study their lessons properly, obey their parents, and otherwise strictly subscribe to Church duties, the conditions you mention will entirely disappear. An educated, well-trained boy or girl would refrain from anything that might cause friction or trouble among young people. The manly boy will treat every girl as he would have his chum treat his sister. Girls should be courteous and kind to friends of their brothers. Much ill feeling comes through delusions or misunderstanding. Spend your time improving self and see how much better you will feel.

—oooOooo—

“Caroline.” – The questions you present, should be submitted to those in authority in your ward or stake. I could not advise you.



17 Comments »

  1. “whether at home or afraid” — I’ve been afraid at home and unafraid while abroad. If I died in the latter state do I miss out on my gold star?

    Comment by Eric Boysen — July 30, 2009 @ 8:35 am

  2. And I saw an imaginary typo–a reference to an “ivory toilet seat.” Elegant, but hard on the elephants of the world.

    Comment by Mark B. — July 30, 2009 @ 8:57 am

  3. Oh, dear … all this after another reader alerted me privately to my typo encouraging the young folks to “john the Bee-hive girls.” He hated to guess what that might entail.

    Eric, I’ll fix yours. Mark, yours is between you and your ophthalmologist.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — July 30, 2009 @ 9:16 am

  4. At least I keep my hair well-ventilated.

    /s/ Air head

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 30, 2009 @ 9:20 am

  5. My immediate reaction to this collection was to wonder why in the world anyone would ask an advice columnist about morganatic marriages. But then a number of explanations occurred to me.

    The question could have arisen in a study of classical or contemporary literature. Or in a discussion about European royalty and habits, which would have been very much on the minds of Americans in 1919. See, for example, this 1919 publication.

    The question could have arisen in a discussion of polygamy and its history and precedents.

    And the question could have arisen in regards to genealogical research, particularly that kind favored among certain segments of the population, namely, the trace-your-family-back-to-Charlemagne kind of research.

    Comment by Researcher — July 30, 2009 @ 10:03 am

  6. These are great, as always. And the answers that don’t give away the question or the questioner are the most intriguing:

    The questions you present, should be submitted to those in authority in your ward or stake. I could not advise you.

    Scandal!

    Comment by Hunter — July 30, 2009 @ 10:22 am

  7. I too saw the ‘ivory toilet seat’, and only went back to re-read when I wondered why anyone would need six of same.

    Comment by Anne (U.K) — July 30, 2009 @ 11:14 am

  8. A wholesome Family Home Evening activity, maybe, Anne? Or a get-to-know-the-neighbors party?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 30, 2009 @ 11:22 am

  9. I guess that the children of a morganatic marriage won’t be inheriting the ivory toilet seats. I, also, misread my own virtual type there.

    Also, this might be why walking chairs are inappropriate for infants. You probably need a drivers license for one of these.

    Comment by kevinf — July 30, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

  10. It looks like I also inserted my own real typo for “virtual type”.

    Comment by kevinf — July 30, 2009 @ 12:19 pm

  11. aaaaah, is a ‘walking chair for infants’ that which we would call a baby walker?

    I’d have to disagree there. Not only are they wonderful for using up wannabe toddlers’ energy, they also do a nifty turn at the ward Halloween Party when every year at least one infant will turn up disguised as Davros.

    Am away to ventilate my hair now :-)

    Comment by Anne (U.K) — July 30, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

  12. Uh, Ardis, that would be “neighbours.”

    But, imagine the bragging rights: the Jones’s only have a two-seater, but we’ve got a six-seater. All ivory, no less.

    Comment by Mark B. — July 30, 2009 @ 1:40 pm

  13. Holy frijole, Anne of the United Kingdom proper. I wonder if I could rustle up a baby by Halloween…well, I suppose dressing as the Doctor and Donna (no chance I’d pass as Rose-Lela Maybe) would still be a waste of time in Utah, Davros or no.

    Ardis- you provide a wonderful service, not least because I now have recipes for crackers and eggless cakes. Many thanks on behalf of the peanut gallery.

    Comment by Moniker Challenged — July 30, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

  14. Once again, wonderful answers and wonderful insights. I especially liked the firm, “We have none such in America.” (referring to morganic marriages). Also note the lack of double standards in her response to “Anxious”, and the strong (female) employment encouragement to “Blonde”.

    And, of course, the blunt practicality of her answer to Winnie about dark circles. These are, I think, my favorite postings of yours. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — July 30, 2009 @ 5:38 pm

  15. #2: Hard not only on the elephants, but on the asses as well.

    Comment by Left Field — July 30, 2009 @ 8:07 pm

  16. I also read ivory toilet set as toilet seat, and the suggestion to start with six and add to it.

    I did wonder what brought about the question on eugenics vs euthenics and the morganatic marriage. Don’t you wish we had the questions to go with the answers?

    Comment by Maurine — July 30, 2009 @ 11:05 pm

  17. Maurine, I agree. Ardis, the day you stumble on the files that contain all the original letters sent to this column, I swear I am getting on a plane and coming out there!

    Comment by jeans — July 31, 2009 @ 5:24 pm

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