Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » She Had a Question, 1921 (2nd set)

She Had a Question, 1921 (2nd set)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 22, 2009

Wedding cakes, rats, and constipation. Not all at the same time, of course. From the “Girl Query” department of the Young Woman’s Journal.


“Inez.” – Have you tried going to bed early? Many girls who have experienced the same kind of nervousness, have discovered the cause was lack of sleep. You should get at least eight hours of undisturbed sleep in the 24, two hours of which should be before midnight generally. Many people through habit learn to go without sufficient sleep, but there is nothing more fruitful of nervous exhaustion than this tendency on the part of young people. Correct this habit and you will become more cheerful and happy each day. “Cheerfulness nourishes life” runs an Italian proverb.


Tomato juice rubbed on the hands and allowed to remain on for three or four minutes, then washed off with water to which a little borax has been added, will make the hands smooth and white.


“Portia.” – In hemming your table linen, turn the hem in the ordinary way then fold the back against the goods, and sew overhand instead of hemming. The stitches will sink into the goods and not be seen when laundered.


“L.J.M.” – If you will remit fifty cents to the “Bureau of Information,” Temple Grounds, Salt Lake City, you can get several small pamphlets suitable to present to your friend.


“Vossy.” – (1) We cannot discuss the question in this department. Opinions are so varied on the subject, hence one need use his own intelligence.

(2) Send the pelt to a taxidermist to be prepared. Or, if you wish to know the process of tanning a small skin, send stamped addressed envelope for same.

(3) Try another recipe next time, doubtless the one you used gave incorrect proportions.


Please tell me how to coddle an egg? – Novice.

Have a saucepan of water boiling hard, put the egg into the water and remove from fire at once. The water should cover the egg, the proportion is about three cups of water to one egg. Let remain in the water from seven to eight minutes. It will be cooked uniformly and is readily digestible.


“B.” – When using gasoline, to avoid the “ring” you mention, mix either salt or cornmeal with the gasoline and rub from the center out. Or, after cleaning, hold the stained part over the steam from a teakettle. Always use gasoline away from a fire or flame. The new cleaner, Thoro, is better than gasoline and much safer.


“A Member.” – Refer your query to the bishop of your ward. He is better prepared to answer.


“Janice.” – A simple remedy for feet that perspire is boracic acid. Put about a tablespoonful in each shoe. Repeat until the feet stop perspiring. This has been tried successfully. Do not soak the feet in hot water, rather use cold salt water.


“Allayne.” – An accident such as you mention would not necessarily concern the other guests, therefore it were better to continue the luncheon undisturbed.


How can I get pecan nuts out whole? – Melba.

Soak the nuts over night in cold water. This causes them to expand, so that when cracked the meats may readily be removed.


“Mrs. H.S.” – Bureau drawers should be cleaned with warm suds and ammonia water, then go over the inner surface with a paint brush dipped in turpentine to protect against moths. Let air several hours, line with white paper, putting some dried lavender leaves or sachet powder underneath to impart a delicate odor to clothing. To remedy the drawers that stick, go over the edge where the trouble lies, with a bar of white soap, run drawer back and forth several times. If not smooth rub with sandpaper.


“Bessie, Dimples, Violet.” – Girls of fourteen and fifteen are far too young to “go” with boys in the way you mean. Until a girl is seventeen or eighteen she is not a young lady, and her boy friends are more in the nature of playmates or everyday companions just as her girl friends are. It is quite right and perfectly natural for every girl to have simple and cordial friendships of boys of her own age, but there should be no “pairing off” and girls of this age should not attend theatres, shows, lake parties, etc., with a single boy friend. They should go in crowds or have a girl companion, sister, or mother go with them. Girls of fourteen and fifteen would do well to have their parties in the afternoon and go home in the early evening. It is indelicate, if not entirely wrong for a girl of this tender age to go walking with a boy alone in the evening. I feel quite sure, dear girls, that you will have more fun, a jollier time, if you will just be sweet, innocent girls until you are eighteen. The “young lady” period comes all too soon.


“Margaret.” – The cutting of the frosted, decorated wedding cake by the bride’s own hand was formerly an essential feature of every wedding. Often, now, small portions of the cake are tied in small packages and given the guests upon departure. The old custom is much nice and prettier. The cake should occupy a conspicuous place in the dining room, and is cut at the end of a luncheon, breakfast, or dinner party by the bride, who gives the first slice to her attendant of honor and then gives pieces to other attendants or aids, after which some other person can finish cutting the cake. If the reception includes many guests, this cake can be for attendants and members of the family only, while other cake can be provided for the guests. If a bride cuts the first slice of her wedding cake it will bring her good luck, while it is unlucky for her to bake it, so it is said.


“Rose.” – Proper exercise, daily bathing followed by vigorous massage, attention to diet reducing the amount of fats, sweets, and starchy foods, and perhaps taking only two meals per day for a few months, will help to reduce.

If there be a gymnasium in your town, by all means join and get the benefits derived therefrom. Send stamped addressed envelop for further information.


“Vigilance.” – Don’t you know, dear, that it is quite impossible to make people over to our liking? Our standards are so different. Untold energy has been wasted trying to make over our neighbors. I know of one clean, sweet girl who always speaks of the good she discovers in her neighbors or friends, and their mistakes or shortcomings are attributed to her own lack of knowledge as to the motive. She also devotes much time to self-improvement, because she has a knowledge of individual work – that each one will receive that which he merits. This girl’s life seems to be full of joy and gladness; her sunny disposition and winning smile are so “catching” that her neighbors anticipate pleasure in meeting her. More than one wayward girl has forsaken a bypath merely through this girl’s beautiful life. “Charity covereth a multitude of sins” and is kind.


“Beatrice.” – The announcement of your engagement should not be given out until the young man of your choice has consulted your father and mother and obtained their consent to your union.


Please give me a good remedy to rid our place of rats. – Mrs. E.M.

One of the most effective formulas in the market is a solution of milk and formaldehyde. After using this rats will never return.


Should our flag be raised at sunrise and lowered at sunset during war times, the same as when we are at peace? – Perscha.

Yes, the ceremony of raising and lowering the flag is uniform every day in the year, in war and peace. In the navy, however, it is always raised at 8 a.m. and lowered at sunset, while in the army it is raised at sunrise.

“Bab Billy.” – Just be your own sweet, modest self, and the boys will soon discover your amiable traits, and what you have that is worth while will receive proper recognition in time. Never solicit attentions from a young man, rather let him do the wooing.


Is there a missionary course given through correspondence? – Eva.

There is no missionary course given at present. It is possible a class may be organized in September.


“Bright Eyes.” – It is quite natural to blush, and the more you endeavor to control yourself in that direction the more you blush, as it becomes a nervous condition. Just make up your mind you will not become confused, and do not think that all eyes are upon you, for they are not. Cultivate a mental calm.


“Evaline.” – Styes are generally due to some constitutional disorder, very often constipation. Give yourself proper attention in this direction, and apply hot, moist applications which will relieve the pain. Or, take a bit of lard the size of a pea and work in dry calomel until a thick paste is formed. Apply carefully to the stye and it will heal rapidly.


“Mrs. M.J.W.” – The muscles of the face can be developed and made firm by careful vigorous massage. Nourishing food should be eaten also, to supply the muscles of the face, the same as the body muscles. Muscles that are not worked lack firmness, hence need daily massage using a rotary motion. Massage wrinkles criss-cross of the lines, and to avoid them stop worrying and frowning, and practice smiling whether you feel like it or not and some of these lines will disappear.


“Venice.” – Excessive perspiration of the hands and arm-pits often is caused by eating excessive acid foods. The tissues fill with water, which must be released, and find outlet at point of least resistance. Eat freely of vegetables and non-acid fruits. Bathe the affected parts with a solution of water and common baking soda, or a weak solution of alum water.


“Maggie.” – If your hair is thinning at the temples massage regularly every day with pine vaseline or olive oil. After the shampoo massage your scalp with vaseline – just a little on the tips of the fingers, to promote the growth of the hair.


“Mrs. M.W.” – Many mothers are asking the same question which you ask: “Is my child fit to attend school this year?” Each mother may well say: “What of the health of my child?” During and since the war, the fact has been brought forcibly before the American people, that a large percentage of our young men were and are defective, hence the necessity of a better understanding among mothers of corrective measures. Numbers of our school children are under-nourished, not alone from neglect, but because mothers are not educated up to the standard as to nutritional foods, and the prevention of many diseases occurring in childhood. All mothers of growing children should put forth every effort to gain information bearing upon their physical well being. One of the best and least expensive booklets published is, “The School Child’s Health, what mothers should and can do about it,” prepared by “The American School Hygiene Association,”with the cooperation of the American Red Cross. This book can be had for four cents in stamps, by addressing Frederick J. Haskins, Director Salt Lake Tribune Information Bureau, Washington, D.C. Do not fail to get it and read carefully, and I’m quite sure you will be able to diagnose your little boy’s trouble.



  1. One of the reasons I like these advice posts is trying to puzzle out the question frm the answer.

    The most puzzling on this one, I think, is the “accident” that “would not necessarily concern the other guests”. Love it.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — October 22, 2009 @ 6:54 am

  2. Hooray! Catherine is back!

    What must “Vossy” have asked to get the answer “We cannot discuss the question in this department…”?! It boggles the imagination.

    No need to soak pecans; using a sheller like this one will extract most nuts whole. I wonder if it would work for our shagbark hickories? (Although it’s doubtful that the squirrels have left any nuts intact by this time of the year.)

    Comment by Researcher — October 22, 2009 @ 7:18 am

  3. And, another comment…

    I looked up a few sources on styes. Styes seem to be caused by a staph infection in the eye area. One source does claim that they can be triggered by stress and diet, which is not much different than what Catherine said here. And all the sources seemed to agree on the use of moist, hot compresses.

    But [as I run screaming], her recommendation for calomel!?! In the eye?!? Calomel is a mercury compound and can be rather toxic. Perhaps, though, if your stye goes away, you won’t mind that your hair and teeth are falling out…

    Comment by Researcher — October 22, 2009 @ 7:24 am

  4. I am just hoping that Vossy’s incorrectly proprtioned recipe was unconnected with the pelt and the taxidermist…

    Comment by Anne (U.K) — October 22, 2009 @ 8:24 am

  5. I only wish that “Bushy Tail” had submitted a question this month. What are Bright Eyes without a Bushy Tail?

    Call me old-fashioned, but I agree with the advice given to Beatrice. (All my daughters are married, so we’ll just have to pass this along to my granddaughter(s) and their beaux.)

    Comment by Mark B. — October 22, 2009 @ 9:44 am

  6. Oh goodie! My favorite series!

    Comment by Tracy M — October 22, 2009 @ 9:46 am

  7. I hope that somewhere, somehow Catherine Hurst is aware of the pleasure with which we greet her advice whenever it appears!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 22, 2009 @ 10:17 am

  8. The three answers to Vossie are the most intriguing — like Anne, I wonder if they are all somehow related. Always one of my favorite posts, and, yes, Catherine Hurst has become a hero of mine — her mix of propriety, common sense, and compassion is always a delight to read. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — October 22, 2009 @ 7:15 pm

  9. What did Vossy ask? How about…

    1) Is it ethical to shoot Bambi?

    2) Since I already did, what do I do with the hide?

    3) And why did the venison stew turn out so gamey?

    Just in case that’s really what the reader was asking, here’s a good recipe for Venison Stew, since deer season just started in Utah…

    Comment by Researcher — October 23, 2009 @ 7:57 am