Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » She Had a Question, 1921 (3rd set)

She Had a Question, 1921 (3rd set)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - November 20, 2009

Wash your face with milk. Don’t use toothpicks in public. Serve cream and sugar with your rice.  And what if your brother doesn’t treat you right?  The “Girl Query” department of the Young Woman’s Journal has the scoop.

Oh, and avoid constipation.


“Betty.” – Massaging with face creams and using powder will not help a bad complexion. Too much powder will injure the skin, clog the pores, impair circulation, and in a way cause blackheads. Taking the proper foods and drinks will do much more to insure a beautiful complexion. Drink milk, which is a beautifier, eat plain nourishing foods, avoiding much meat, pastry, and pickles, and eating freely of green vegetables, fresh fruits, wheat cereals, eggs, etc.

Drink much water daily, also drinks made from fruit juices. Go to bed early so as to get your “beauty sleep.” A girl of your age requires nine hours undisturbed sleep. Washing the face with milk once daily will tend to make the skin smooth and white, if the general health is good. Avoid constipation.


Can you tell me of some unusual shower to give to one of my girl friends who is to be married: – Eloise.

A basket shower, or work basket shower is a change. the hostess should furnish the work basket, which can be lined with pink, blue or yellow with a huge bow at each end. The girls bring the gifts to put in it which ought to number 10 or 12. Or, a brush shower could be arranged which would furnish amusement as well. By advance arrangements duplication can be avoided. Have brushes hidden in different parts of the home, and the bride-to-be must hunt for them with the assistance of the girls, who lead her a long, long trail. A bottle shower is another one out of the usual.


“Fannie.” – When a man meets a girl accidentally in a car, he need not pay her carfare, nor need he pay for her luncheon in a restaurant if he happens by mere chance to meet, or sit at the same table with her.


“Beth.” (1) When the dance is over, a boy escorts a girl back to her seat and thanks her for the pleasure. She may answer with a word of appreciation, but she should never thank him for dancing with her.

(2) Unless you are engaged to the young man, you should not accept gifts of jewelry or wearing apparel. Gifts that are permissible are, flowers, fruit, books, magazines, anything that is not personal.


“Persia.” – Yes, dear girl, it is just as necessary for your brother to be polite and act kindly toward you, his sister, as though you were his sweetheart. Kindly, polite speech at home has much more value than rude, disagreeable phrases often heard. Tell your brother that as he speaks and acts toward his home people, so he will act in his own home sometime, and so speak to his wife after the “honeymoon” causing her much grief and many tears. Husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, do appreciate a compliment coming from another member of the family. To be sweet and kind as to the faults of each other, and tender of their feelings on these points, is so commendable, and cements the family together in love, and remember, dear, that you must be as thoughtful and forbearing of brother as you expect him to be of you. The love of a brother for a trusting sister, living on through all earth’s changes, is very holy. To make the atmosphere of the home more beautiful, do not fail to sing occasionally: “Love at Home.”


“Housewife.” – Rice may be served as a vegetable with the meat course, or later with cream and sugar, according to preference.


“La Verne.” – There is only one way to remove superfluous hair permanently, and that is the electric needle. Pastes and other depilatories in general need to be used continually to keep the hair away. If you wish to use such, send stamped envelope for address of one who makes a very good paste.


Will you explain the Monroe doctrine? – W.H.L.

The United States is not to meddle in European affairs, nor to allow European governments to meddle in the affairs of the American continent. European forms of government are not to be permitted in North America.


What initials should I use on my linen, and what is a nice size for napkins? – Mary Jane.

A bride uses the initial of her maiden surname or all her initials on all linen. Any linen bought after her marriage should have her married surname monogrammed. Napkins may be twenty-two, twenty-four or twenty-seven inches square. Twenty-four is considered the regulation size, and the marking is just in from one corner. A tablecloth is usually marked twice. Crease the cloth diagonally from one corner to the other and place the monogram on the crease about twelve inches each side of the center, the bottom of the letter toward the corner. Napkins and tablecloths have very narrow hems. Pillow cases have hems from two and a half to three inches and the same width is used for the top hem of sheets, with a narrower hem on the bottom.


When out at dinner is it proper to take a second helping, and if one should drop anything on the floor, what should be done? Can toothpicks be used? – Dorothy.

A second helping is perfectly permissible unless it be a very formal dinner. When anything is dropped on the floor it should be left there during the meal. If dropped on the cloth it should be removed with a corner of the napkin, never with knife or spoon. Toothpicks should never be used in public.


“B. Mc.” – Your query reached me too late to send a return answer in the time specified.


Can you suggest anything to keep my black hose a good color? – Iris.

If you will wash your black stockings in blue water the color will be preserved and they will keep black much longer.


Why do I need new tops for my Mason jars every year? The old ones seem to leak. – Mrs. N.S.D.

When opening your fruit in the winter no doubt you run the edge of a knife round between the rubber and top. If so, this will spring the edge of the cover so that when next used it is not air tight. In place of using knife put the bottle, top side down, in a pan of fairly hot water for four or five minutes and it will open without difficulty. Or, place a hot flatiron on top of jar for a few minutes and the same result may be obtained. By thus opening your jars of fruit, the lids will be serviceable for several years.


“Dorothy C.” – I failed to find the poem you asked for, so perhaps you gave the incorrect title. Try again.


“Denria.” – After the dance you might remark that you enjoyed the dance very much. Or, as the boy thanks you remark, “The pleasure is mutual,” or “That particular number is quite a favorite of mine.”


It is not quite the proper thing to wear rings or other jewelry belonging to another. Perhaps you might lose or break the articles, and your regrets would hardly compensate the owner. To be on the safe side, do not do it.


“Country Girl.” – You want to know what to send your newly-wed “city” girl friend for Christmas, that will be somewhat inexpensive, but appreciated. A gift any one might be proud of receiving from the country would be: Take a large pumpkin, cut in half, remove the seeds, in one half put a fat dressed chicken, in the other red apples, potatoes, vegetables sufficient for a dinner. Sprigs of parsley or other green, and a bow of red ribbon complete the gift.


“Mrs. J.” – There is always danger for an inexperienced person to tamper with carbide, for it can explode.



  1. Rice with cream and sugar is essentially rice pudding. Why not!
    The blue water reference is to laundry bluing. In my house we have experimented with bluing things by adding ballpoint pens to the dryer. This, unfortunately has led to garments that are not unspotted of the world. I cannot recommend this method. Bluing in the wash cycle is likely to give much better results.
    I used to carry a bit of calcium carbide in my emergency kit as a way to help start fires in the snow. If all available tinder is damp, take a spoonful of carbide and put it on the bottom and build your firelay over it. The carbide will react with the snow to produce acetylene gas. Use a metal match to produce a spark, and the gas will ignite and dry out the more standard materials.

    Comment by Eric Boysen — November 20, 2009 @ 8:02 am

  2. I just think it’s a shame that I can’t expect — in the name of courtesy — any stray male acquaintance I accidentally meet on the bus to pay my fare. I suppose this also applies if I accidentally meet a male acquaintance in the grocery store, on the Ferrari sales floor, or on my way to the dress shoppe?

    I protest the decline of civility!!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 20, 2009 @ 8:18 am

  3. I’m chortling at the response to the question about the Monroe Doctrine! Also not too sure about how I’d feel receiving essentially an uncooked roast dinner packaged in a pumpkin, but I do feel an overwhelming urge to try this :-)

    Comment by Anne (U.K) — November 20, 2009 @ 9:35 am

  4. Oh, Anne, you must remember that the Monroe Doctrine was invented before 1820, shortly after you wicked Brits and your wicked European cousins had finished nearly 20 years of warfare. And we were just a weak country on the coast of a wild continent, and didn’t want your European wars polluting our fair shores.

    As to not intervening in European affairs, I’m quite certain that your Mr Churchill was quite hopeful that we would intervene in that nasty little affair that Herr Hitler started. But maybe the conspiracy-mongers have it right, and it was our Mr Roosevelt’s plot all along. :-)

    As to something completely different–that one bit of advice:

    To make the atmosphere of the home more beautiful, do not fail to sing occasionally: “Love at Home.”

    I’m tempted to dredge up the answer Adlai Stevenson gave to the Russian ambassador to the U.N. during the Cuban Missile Crisis (which, fortuitously, was sort of a Monroe Doctrine moment): not in my house, at least “until Hell freezes over.”

    Comment by Mark B. — November 20, 2009 @ 10:23 am

  5. I love reading these pieces of advice from the past. It’s interesting to see how times have changed, and how they’ve stayed the same.

    The advice about reusing canning jar lids (assuming that the lids are the same as we use now) is pretty dangerous. It’s my understanding that to prevent all sorts of nasty spoilage and the like, that the lids are single-use. (The jars and bands can be reused, though.)

    I find it interesting that back in 1921, a book was considered to be less personal a gift than, say, a scarf. Maybe I’m revealing my own bookwormish tendencies, but I find a well-chosen book to be much more personal than an article of clothing.

    Comment by Keri Brooks — November 20, 2009 @ 10:58 am

  6. These were fun.

    But why, after a boy and girl have finished a dance, the girl can “answer with a word of appreciation, but she should never thank him for dancing with her”? What’s wrong in 1921 with a girl thanking the boy for the dance?

    Proves once again (to me) that many manners and social courtesies are often counterintuitive.



    Comment by Hunter — November 20, 2009 @ 11:05 am

  7. Keri,
    If I recall correctly, I think the jars of the period, though made by the same manufacturers and known by similar names, were shoulder-seal using gaskets, not rim-seal using bands and separate lids like we use today. The process described by the letter-writer of using a knife to open the jars would cause damage to the shoulder-seal surface of the lid, preventing future sealing despite the use of a new gasket.

    Comment by Coffinberry — November 20, 2009 @ 11:39 am

  8. I’m with Anne, I’d be a little perplexed receiving a gift of a naked, raw chicken wrapped in a pumpkin. However, it might help explain this pie chart.

    Comment by kevinf — November 20, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

  9. I think the point of not thanking the boy for dancing is that the young man was the fortunate one in dancing with the young lady, and she was gracious in allowing him to dance with her. It is kind of like not congratulating a bride on the wedding. You always give her “best wishes.” The one who gets the congratulations is the groom, because he is the fortunate one in finding such a wonderful wife. All kind of interesting.

    Comment by Rosemary — November 20, 2009 @ 1:00 pm

  10. I remember my grandparents eating cooked rice as a dessert with milk, sugar, and cinnamon. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t chocolate cake, either.

    Comment by kevinf — November 20, 2009 @ 2:06 pm

  11. I wonder if it would be a breach of etiquette at a bridal shower to line a work basket in a brown or green instead of yellow, pink, or blue.

    Like Anne and Kevinf, I can’t imagine receiving a gift of a raw chicken in half a scooped out pumpkin, yuck!

    Eric, even laundry bluing isn’t safe. Years ago I was trying to whiten some dingy white clothes, so I borrowed mother’s bluing bottle, poured in too much, and my husband had blue, never again to be white, underwear.

    Comment by Maurine — November 20, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

  12. #11 – Smurf garments!

    Comment by Ray — November 20, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

  13. Thanks, Rosemary. That makes more sense.

    Comment by Hunter — November 20, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

  14. The yellow, blue, or pink fabric used to line the basket could be used to make baby clothes. Perfect for newly weds!

    Comment by Floyd the Wonderdog — November 21, 2009 @ 4:24 am

  15. My mind has been working overtime since yesterday trying to work out who could be the recipient of an uncooked- chicken- in- a- pumpkin- Christmas present. Alison, Keepa’ninny closest to me geographically, saw my postand sent a pre-emptive ‘no thanks!’ email. Curses.

    kevinf: there’s potential to add food poisoning to that pie chart!

    Comment by Anne (U.K) — November 21, 2009 @ 7:09 am

  16. Uncooked-chicken-in-a-pumpkin. I think we now have an official Keepa’ninny wedding present, to go along with our mascots (keep them away from pumpkins!), our motto, an official winter rendezvous, and all the other bits of KeepaKulture.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 21, 2009 @ 8:44 am

  17. The raw poulet in the raw punkin was definitely way off base, but, like World Wars, I suppose it could be considered one of Mother Nature’s way of keeping a lid on population density.

    The basket thing is a reminder of the time when a woman’s place was in the home, preferably chained to the oven but within reach of the sink and hand-cranked laundry machine, etc.

    Running through the whole of the instructions is a solid vein of common sense and respect that is worth the keeping, and ought to be basic to the education and nurture of all children.


    Long grain and short grain rice is ideal for use as a vegetable complement to a meal, or as the base of a cordon bleu salad.

    Round grain rice makes the perfect Rice Pudding, but, instead of cinnamon, powdered nutmeg will produce a richness of flavour that you will not soon forget.


    Comment by Ronnie Bray — November 21, 2009 @ 10:34 am

  18. My wife eats rice with milk and sugar on a regular basis. But then, her dad was an Anderson from Samaria, Idaho, and her mom is a Sorenson from Koosharem, Utah, so she’s got deep LDS pioneer roots. (She’s also related to a large percentage of the Intermountain West.) She also likes beets. A lot. But I still love her dearly. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — November 22, 2009 @ 9:01 pm

  19. Maybe the mascots in their current state could be “dressed” with little hats or something and put in the half pumpkin. I still don’t think I’d want it as a gift.

    BTW Ardis, the motto link seems broken.

    Comment by Eric Boysen — November 22, 2009 @ 10:38 pm

  20. The sibling spat question seems to have hit a hot button with the author. Whoever wrote “Love at Home” must have forgotten about life with a house full of preschool-toddler aged kids running around….

    Comment by Clark — November 23, 2009 @ 9:55 am