Dear Helen Hartman,
I Wuz born in a barn. You Can just imagine my embarrassment whenever I make a social faux pas and look an outright fool someone asks That inevitable question.
I’d love fer you to help me learn how to comport myself so I can fit in with polite society
Dear Loved One,
First, Helen feels compelled to tell you she has never had much use for 'polite society'. Helen believes that if you never make a big ol' jack ass out of yourself from time to time you are depriving yourself of an excellent chance of finding out something monumental – who your real friends are!
|Good friends send flowers, and apparently watch you as you lie in bed. In the 1950s there was a fine line between friendship and stalking. A VERY fine line. Also, the ads were creepy.|
That said, Helen is big on manners. Manners helps us navigate through life’s tricky passages and put others at ease. They make sharing an elevator, a work space, a bed, a country, indeed a whole planet a little more bearable. And so when I saw this on a table at a yard sale in a chi-chi neighborhood for one dollar I snapped it up! One dollar!
I'd have bought a book on manners written by Bart Simpson for a dollar! I mean, it's the price of a lotto ticket and who knows what it might teach you. I also added to my collection of Amy Vanderbilt's Success for Women Series (now women can buy furniture, decorate with color - were they NOT using color before Amy intervened? - learn how to make conversation and plan a vacation). Also found an Entertaining Diary (it's actually NOT entertaining at all but a diary to makes notes about parties and events you want to stage) for a few dollars as well. At the cost of sounding impolite in gloating - SCORE!
The seller of Amy's essential Guide to Gracious Living didn’t think anyone would have any use for the book these days. HA! Helen can imagine half a dozen uses from a doorstop to pressing a keepsake flower. Or more in its originally intended vein – if I encounter a rude rube in need of schooling, I can whomp him up side of the head with it! That’s a lesson he will not soon forget. (Btw, the very fact that you think about this and ask, Loved One, means you are NOT that rude rube).
So let’s turn to this tome of wisdom and… holy crap, did you see how massive that is? 9 parts! 75 chapters! Everything from how to set a breakfast tray (with linen under the serving pieces, please)properly:
To this tidbit that I am sure we all will embrace and make a part of our daily routine:
Amy, Amy, Amy... with advice like this no wonder women turned to Valium in the 60s.
|Oops! You startled me! Just let me slip into my matching bibless apron and I can begin my housework like a simple, every day 'lady of the house' that I am.|
Once again I find myself indebted and filled with (grudging) admiration for the dedicated and phenomenal Amy Vanderbilt. But I hope no one finds me ill-mannered when I heave a sigh of relief that her amazing book is now more useful for bug squashing or threat making than for a guide to every day life. Thank you, Amy, for all you've done and for providing me with tons (I mean this, TONS) of material to blog about for a long time to come. Oh, and much as I love my friends, please don't watch me while I sleep.