Thursday, April 14, 2011

Help or Hinderance Indeed!

I'm participating in Thrifty Things Friday at The Thrifty Groove

and Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
and Vintage Inspiration at common Ground

Dear Helen Hartman,
            I am a bride-to-be and I can’t wait to get married and spend my days having cat fights, celebrity soirees and plastic surgery,  you know, the life of a typical all-American housewife like I see on TV.  One problem. My future husband doesn’t think he will earn enough right away to support my totally realistic (I keep telling him it’s REALITY TV, how can they not be realistic?!) expectations.
            Love your take on how to get my man to the top... so I can be queen of the hill                                                                
 Dear Loved One,
            As a long time feminist, part time TV Critic and full time believer in telling others to straighten up and fly right I can only say - I feel a sermon coming on. For our text today let us read from this squeeee-inducing bargain I picked up the other day for just $ 1.25 The American Magazine.  
I confess I was first drawn by the clever art on the lovely PINK cover. I thought it would be full of wonderful womanly advice and recipes and... but wait. See how the policeman has stolen an apple from the lady struggling to carry home what looks like must have been in that day maybe five dollars worth of groceries? (Here’s a test to see how old you are – remember when the joke was that cops loved apples, not donuts? Me neither – I guess we are forever young… or our minds are going.) That should have been a clue but this article title tipped the scale:

Those wives! Up to their foolishness again, I see. Right from the get-go all some of them do is complain. 

Carried over the threshold and all she wants to do is make a phone call? Let the not-tonight-dear games begin!

James Bender, Ph. D. waxes on and on as to his opinions of the role of the modern housewife in making or breaking hubby’s career. Meanwhile modern housewives wax and wash, and clean and cook, and raise families and shop and mend and re-roof the house and keep their hair shiny, their makeup perfect and their pearls polished, not to mention doing it in heels and often supplementing the household income with an out of the house job and as seen in another part of the magazine, even invent clever ways to keep up with the kiddies while they are at it.

Yes, she HAS strapped a chair to her back. I suspect the pressure of not having that kitchen phone. It does things to a person.
But back to the article: The Quiz. 
If you answered yes to three or more of these it suggests you have room for self improvement, Missy! Helen says it means you probably have a brain and a backbone. Always room for improvement in that department. Buy a hammer, bash yourself in the head a few times every morning, that would be a good start.  Speaking of starting, do not get Helen started on the suggestions in the piece about deferring not just to hubby but to the people he works with and the wives of his superiors. Don’t mind those footprints on your back, dear, all good doormats have them.

A wife who reads and keeps up on current events (while looking fab first thing in the morning I might add) is 'a depressing affair'. Poor hubby, he seems able to dress himself and hold a job but he can't make a lousy pot of coffee.
My advice to you, dear bride-to-be is to look elsewhere in The American Magazine of July 1952 to this handy suggestion:

Want to smarten your home up this summer, get your hubby out of it – the IQ around the place will go up instantly
Of course, Helen is having fun here. She loves her hubby and helps him a lot, as he helps her. He makes coffee. I read. I make dinner. He eats it. We're a good team like that and we leave our phones in the kitchen at night.
Don’t forget, you make your own reality. Make it a worthwhile one!(or at least an interesting one)


  1. Dear Helen, I just read your comment on my blog about how my vintage office finds made your heart go pitter pat (tap tap tap). I love vintage office supplies as well. A kindred spirit! Love your blog and I just became a Follower. Thanks for visiting

  2. Hello:
    We LOVE all of this post - so witty and superbly presented. As for these old magazines, can it be that they were in their day taken seriously? We suspect 'yes' is the answer!! And the policeman and the apple - so far removed from the riot squads of today!!

  3. What a great post but i am really lost for words i was actually laughing the whole way through. dee x

  4. Welcome Lynda - you have such a wonderful blog and thanks for visiting mine.

  5. Jane and Lance, yes, it was QUITE serious as it went to pains to show the author was a PhD and took a scolding tone. I also think a policeman who stood that close to a pretty lady and stole her apple would have other problems today!

    Dee - so glad it gave your a laugh as I get a giggle and think - well, it's good for MY heart even if no one else gets it!

  6. It is always 'fun' to read olden mags and the advice from the 50's...Yep we've come a long way baby!

  7. I picked up a bunch of old magazines at the flea market last summer, and am just now getting around to reading them. It's just appalling how women were treated back then! If that kind of thing went on nowadays, I'm pretty sure my husband would be conked on the head with a frying pan on a regular basis!

  8. LOL Carol- It really is surprising how women were addressed like they were children. Cannot imagine for one second my mom or any of my aunts falling into being talked to like that.

  9. Only you, Dear Helen, could find such an hilarious article!!! Too funny!!!

  10. OH my goodness...this is precious - LOVE it! Maybe we need to frame "How do you Rate" we are rolling over that one! We just love looking at articles like this - this one takes the cake...or cup of coffee - lol!!
    Karla & Karrie

  11. Wow, Ummmmmm, geeeeeeee wizzzzzzz...I'm speechless!

    This is the second time I've run across your blog....LOVE IT!

    I will be following you...awesome job, very witty!


  12. Help or hinderance? Oh boy! We need to smack some of those archaic cavemen! I love vintage magazines, they are SO facinating to me. Enjoy your cupcakes!! Aren't they fantabulous?!!

  13. I was all of 7 years old at that time and my mom was a single mom of 3. This was all a fairytale to the real realities in 1952. Cute post and answer Ms Hartman.

  14. Thanks Donnie! Jori - I've already got Twinkies on my shopping list!

  15. Dear Helen Hartman Sweetie...
    I just read your comment on my blog about opening a book, and opening your mind. Boy does that ring true here does it not? Help or hindrance did he day, and what was that about rating your wife? Please. Were these men for REAL?

    Oh my gosh, I have never seen a policeman eat an apple? Nope, notta, but Krispy Kreme's, McDonalds, Jack in the Box and even Burger King. Always on the run, but not healthy stuff.

    I was born in 1957, so I guess it was a little before my time, but I am sure glad it was. I don't think I could have taken vows my vows to seriously. OUCH...

    Have a beautiful Pink Saturday Sweet One. So much fun and a cute, cute post. Many hugs and much love, Sherry

  16. Dear DearHelenHartman - finally I have found an excellent advice column. I read some of your other blog and it's a whole lot more fun over here at DearHelenHartman. You are so right - there are oodles of us bloggers who love anything Vintage...or Pink...or even birds with people heads or people with bird heads. I'm not in the bird/people group but I do love vintage because I myself am vintage, actually "mid century modern"! Enough about me - haha - I love your "advice column" here and will be back often because heaven knows I need advice! :) Nancy

  17. What a fun blog to read - my have times changed!! Thank goodness!! I always thought it was donuts they liked too!
    Happy Pink Saturday!

  18. Sherry - this was before my time too but my mom was a wife and mom already and she actually had to take classes in how to be a good wife to an Air Force pilot. She used to quote what she learned often then do as she darn well pleased. Thanks for stopping by - loved your fairy dust the other day, I needed some!

  19. Nancy - thanks for checking out both blogs - the other one, ugh, I try to be, um, non offensive let's say because certain people connected to my career are NO FUN. I just post there from time to time because I'm supposed to. Glad you came by here. Vintage lovers of all stripe are amazing. Finding you all has been a lifeline!

  20. Holly - we even have a doughnut shop in Louisville called Police Donuts! But I do recall watching Top Cat as a kid and I think that cop stole apples. Thanks for coming by.

  21. This was a hoot to read with my 2nd cup of coffee this Saturday morning!! But wait... do I identify?? I'll be back. Too funny or "true". LOL
    Have a great weekend.
    Ladybug Creek

  22. Very pretty..Thank you for sharing...HPS!

  23. Dear Helen,
    Am I to assume that not all of the wives out there dress in a long flowing dress, hair perfect, nails polished, face makeuped, freshly ironed linens on the table while having a fabulous breakfast all prepared? My husband told me that this was normal. Could he? would he have lied to me? I can't imagine why he would have said such a thing if it weren't true. The next thing you are going to tell me is that not all woman greet their husbands at the door dressed to the nines with a cocktail all prepared for him in one hand and his slippers ready for him in the other! :)
    Thanks for joining TTF! And I hope you are having a great weekend!

  24. Karen - loved visiting your blog. Your family photos are a charm.

    Diann, your hubby hasn't lied, he is himself misinformed. Many men suffer from this and as good wives it is our duty to educate them. I meet my hubby with a cocktail every evening, btw. Some nights I've even had a couple by the time he gets home!

  25. I love this post!! Those old magazines are funny. No wonder my mom is so mixed up (tongue in cheek) LOL
    Happy Pink Saturday!!
    P.S. My hubby makes the coffee too...His is so much better than mine. ;o0

  26. What a great vintage magazine. Your blog is so fun to read!

  27. Thanks y'all - the craft/vintage/funkyjunky/recipe/lifestyle blogs world is filled with such fun, insightful and talented people. Am so glad to have found it.

  28. Usually I say something is 'too funny' but I'm finding this a little scary funny. Have things really changed that much? Are there any self help magazines out there targeted toward men? I'll have to check that out and get my Mr. Wonderful a subscription, cause I'm helpful like that.

  29. I just love this...this is great! Just too funny...I am your newest follower...Pinkim from TrulySimplyPink

  30. Thanks Pinkim - I am off to visit your blog.


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