Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » She Had a Question, 1909 (3rd set)

She Had a Question, 1909 (3rd set)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 14, 2010

Trading in your brother’s company for the company of that fun young man you just met? Engaged but wanting to accept attention from other young men? How do these girls come up with such questions?!


Will you please give me a simple lotion for the complexion. I live where the wind blows a great deal and my face is much tanned. – Rosebud.

I think the following will help you:

Powdered borax, three drams.
Glycerine, three drams.
Rosewater, six ounces.

Apply two or three times a day, gently rubbing into the skin. Or, slice, do not peel, three good sized cucumbers, add one-half cup of water, boil until pulp is soft, strain and cool. To one and one-half ounce of cucumber juice add same quantity of alcohol. In this dissolve one-half ounce of powdered castile soap, and let stand over night.

Next morning add eight ounces of the cucumber juice, half ounce oil of sweet almonds and fifteen drops tincture of benzoin. Pour oil in slowly, shaking the bottle well. Keep in cool place, and apply twice a day with cloth or sponge. Use a great deal of fruit and milk in your diet, drink freely of pure water, keep the bowels well regulated and you ought to be fortunate in having a good complexion. When drinking milk a less quantity of other food is required.


In reply to M.M.S. (1) We do not know. (2) Yes. (3) Gen. 4:16-17. Read carefully and you will understand. (4) That is not known as yet. (5) Will be determined later in the history of the Church.


When a young lady is engaged is it proper to accept presents from a young man? – Blossom.

Generally no; at least they should be very few.


Girls, you must be patient. So many questions are received and we are answering them in their order.


I desire to have some music composed for some lines I have written. Can you suggest someone competent to whom I might apply? – Grace.

Walter Smith. – Address Beesley Music Co., Salt Lake City, Utah.


When a girl goes to a resort with her brother and another boy asks to bring her home, should she go with him or her brother? – Rose.

It all depends on who the boy is, and what the brother thinks. If it is perfectly agreeable with your brother and the young gentleman in question is not objectionable to your people, there would be nothing improper. But do not offend your brother.


Is it proper for girls to cross knees? – A Reader.

It is not considered good form although many women do it. It also has a tendency to stiffen those joints as the blood does not circulate so freely. Some medical men claim that rheumatism of the limbs is contracted in this way.


Half the cost of living is the price of food, and it is not the food actually eaten that costs, but waste by poor cooking, excessive quantities, buying out of season, etc. With careful consideration and good judgment the expense can be cut down one-half without noticeable lack in any regard.


To Ethel D. would say, if the young man in question persists in his rude behavior, perhaps you would have more peace of mind by letting him entirely alone. Try it for a time at least.


Do you think it wrong for a young lady to accept attentions from any of her gentleman friends when she is engaged to be married? – Luella.

If the young man to whom she is engaged is at home or living in the same town, I should think he would object to her receiving attentions from any but himself.

If, however, he be away, it would not be improper to occasionally accept an invitation to go out with a dear friend of both, providing her lover does not object. If she thinks as much of some other boy, as the one to whom she is engaged, my advice would be, don’t marry until she is quite sure she is selecting the right one.


Is it proper for a young girl of sixteen to keep company steadily with a young man? – Hortense.

Generally no. A girl should be at least nineteen or twenty before she devotes herself to one young man. Keep your girlhood as long as possible. When you commence receiving regular attentions from a young man, it means parties, entertainments, very often late hours, and a general change in your thought and daily life. From sixteen to twenty is a splendid time to cultivate your intellect and develop character, which can be done much more advantageously when free from “steady” company.


Will you give me a recipe for some kind of beverage, hot or cold, to serve with lunch? Something in accordance with the Word of Wisdom. Also some songs suitable for Mutual. – Josie.

(1) Chocolate or cocoa is very nice for a hot drink. Did you ever add a little vanilla to your chocolate? If not, try it. Fruit lemonade is a good cold drink. Make your lemonade with lemons and pine apple. Strain two quarts of fruit; plums, raspberries, or blackberries, and add this quantity to one gallon of lemonade.

(2) There are several pretty ones in our Sunday School Song book, which can be given as solos: as “Kind Words are Sweet Tones of the Heart,” “Scatter Seeds of Kindness,” “Count Your Many Blessings,” etc. Some others are “I Need Thee Every Hour,” “The Children’s friend,” “Bendemere Stream,” “There, Little Girl, Don’t Cry,” “Dreaming,” “The Butterfly Gay,” “Japanese Love Song” and “The Dying Rose.”


“Helen,” please write more in detail of your trouble. I will try to help you. What you say is very vague. I must know more of the circumstances.


Can you give me the address of an institution that teaches Domestic Science by correspondence? – L.D.

I do not know of any such institution. All you can do at home is to follow recipe books and learn all you can from mother. If you are anxious to become a good cook, why not come to Salt Lake, take one or two courses with Miss Van Cott, and while you are here work for your board. Miss Van Cott can readily procure you a place with a respectable family, and should you have to borrow the money – twelve dollars – to pay for the course, you could easily find plenty to do, and in a short time have it all paid. In studying Domestic Science one needs the practical work, under a practical teacher. The course referred to is most excellent for any girl, as she is then master of a trade that is always remunerative.



  1. I think we’ll use “The Butterfly Gay” on our next Mutual night. On second thought, maybe we’ll just write away for Domestic Science lessons.

    [uncrossing knees]

    Poor Rosebud, she was a generation or two too early. These days we pay for that kind of complexion.

    Comment by jeans — January 14, 2010 @ 6:40 am

  2. Funny how names change over time: here it’s “Domestic Science” . . . later we see “Home Economics” . . . and now we have BYU’s “Family Studies” . . .

    Anyhow, my favorite head-shaking moment of this batch of questions was the answer to the anonymous writer with the unstated question. The cryptic response: “Gen. 4:16-17. Read carefully and you will understand.”

    By the way, those verses read:

    16 And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
    17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

    What in the heck did the questioner ask to prompt that response, “Read carefully and you will understand”??!?

    Comment by Hunter — January 14, 2010 @ 8:56 am

  3. Maybe she asked about the early geographic distribution of children named Wyncken and Blyncken.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 14, 2010 @ 9:00 am

  4. Wow — thank heavens for Google, otherwise I would never, ever have understood your allusion, Ardis.

    Speaking of Nod (and its location “east of Eden”), it makes me wonder why John Steinbeck didn’t name his famous novel “Land of Nod.” OK, just kidding.

    Comment by Hunter — January 14, 2010 @ 9:21 am

  5. Half the cost of living is the price of food, … With careful consideration and good judgment the expense can be cut down one-half without noticeable lack in any regard

    Oh my. I’m drawing up my budgets for the year. Groceries are expensive, but they’re certainly not 50 percent of my expenditures! And it would sure be difficult to cut the bills by one half.

    I like to use these charts to make sure my grocery bill is not getting out of hand:

    Comment by Researcher — January 14, 2010 @ 9:28 am

  6. My my, you’re all in fine form this morning!

    Comment by Clark — January 14, 2010 @ 11:12 am

  7. I feel old. It was ‘Domestic Science’ when I was at school.

    Comment by Anne (U.K) — January 14, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

  8. I like the answers about gifts/attentions from men other than the young lady’s betrothed:

    Gifts? Generally no; at least they should be very few.

    Attentions? Not if he’s in town, but if he’s away, do it discreetly. : )

    About the grocery budget–I wonder if she’s right about food being half the family budget in 1909. You can be sure that the average family spent less on cell phone and internet and cable TV back then, and with no computer, refrigerator, air conditioner, washer, dryer, they would have spent a lot less on electricity.

    As to Researcher cutting the family food budget in half: just remember two words: “rice” and “beans”. : )

    Comment by Mark B. — January 14, 2010 @ 12:55 pm

  9. There are a surprising number of questions about engaged women receiving gifts from other men, in this instalment as well as previous ones. There must have been something cultural I do not yet understand.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — January 14, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

  10. bruce: It ain’t a done deal until both parties say “I do.” And another saying: “It’s never too late to do comparison shopping.”

    Comment by Bookslinger — January 14, 2010 @ 9:40 pm

  11. Hunter must have missed this post.

    Comment by Eric Boysen — January 14, 2010 @ 10:43 pm

  12. Bruce: Have you ever heard of jealousy?

    I think Luella is a pseudonym for Julie Flinders.

    If the young man to whom she is engaged is at home or living in the same town, I should think he would object to her receiving attentions from any but himself.

    Of course if he is on a mission, by all means go ahead Julie (I mean Luella).

    “He’s just a friend like those I count in dozens. . .”

    Comment by Eric Boysen — January 14, 2010 @ 10:54 pm

  13. @#10 Actually, Bookslinger, there does come a time when it’s too late to do comparison shopping, at least since Wilford Woodruff discontinued the Principle.

    Comment by Clark — January 15, 2010 @ 8:57 am

  14. Eric Boysen — Yeah, I did miss that post. Thanks! (Maybe next time I’ll try the Keepa “Search” field instead of running straight to Google.)

    Comment by Hunter — January 15, 2010 @ 9:36 am

  15. I agree with Hunter — the cryptic set of answers to M.M.S. had me shaking my head, particularly when I looked up the scripture cited. I wonder if M.M.S. was wondering just where Cain and Able got their wives. Or maybe Catherine was just pulling everyone’s collective legs. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — January 15, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

  16. I’m wondering if that wasn’t a coded answer to “Where did blacks come from?” or some related question.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 15, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

  17. Clark, I should have combined the two: “Until the ‘I-dos’ are spoken, it’s never too late to do comparison shopping.”

    Or, one might also say that “comparison shopping” is by definition those comparisons done before the purchase is actually made.

    -Books (still looking for an 8-cow wife on a two-chicken budget).

    Comment by Bookslinger — January 15, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

  18. This is so perfect! Advice from the dust I can email to my newly engaged daughter. She’s at U of I (Moscow, Idaho) and her fiancee goes to at BYU Provo.

    So he’s decidedly out of town. And he grew up in Moscow, so has oodles of old friends there…

    Comment by Diane Peel — January 15, 2010 @ 3:46 pm

  19. I think (I do that-sometimes) I left the wrong impression here. I look with utmost favor on this engagement.

    I love her fiance and she adores him.

    I’d say I just didn’t want her staying home Friday night-but she’s not-she’s driving to Provo.

    I dunno. Maybe I just want my favorite daughter to see all the options, so to speak.

    Comment by Diane Peel — January 15, 2010 @ 10:03 pm

  20. Your first comment was entirely in the spirit of this series of posts, Diane — we’ve had a lot of fun with the old advice, some of which makes us howl with laughter and some of which makes us wonder why advisers today can’t be as sensible!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 16, 2010 @ 8:58 am

  21. Ardis:

    I also thought that the M.M.S. question had something to do with race. I wrote a comment that I lost when I accidently navigated away proposing what the questions might have been, but I didn’t have the energy to rewrite it.

    Comment by Eric Boysen — January 16, 2010 @ 4:32 pm

  22. I’m surprised that the advice for Josie didn’t settle the questions about Cocoa and the WoW.

    Comment by Clair — January 16, 2010 @ 6:39 pm

  23. Yeah, I know my first comments were more ‘fitting,’ and the engaged couple would usually get it.
    It’s just that we’re (betrothed children and me) at a weird place now. I am never entirely sure that something I say or do is not going to foul up the works for the next 30 years. SHOULD I write for advice?

    Mostly though, I wanted to call Ashley my favorite daughter. I adore her reaction.

    Comment by Diane Peel — January 16, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

  24. But I really want to know what happened to others, say Ethel D.?

    Was she strong enough to send the lout on his way for a while when his rude behavior continued?

    Did she relent when (and if) he promised to play nice? Did he do so? For a short season at least…

    Comment by Diane Peel — January 17, 2010 @ 11:51 am

  25. And what WAS Helen’s trouble? Did she write again in any detail?

    Comment by Diane Peel — January 18, 2010 @ 11:56 am

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