Women of earlier generations seeking a solution to clothes freezing on the line in cold weather or help with a child’s bedwetting would find answers to such pressing dilemmas in pamphlets printed specifically to dispense tips and advice.
Often given away by a bank as a gift for setting up an account or through a newspaper, supermarket or utilities company, the booklets offered solutions on everything from fly control and bleaching freckles to budget management. Pictured here are a selection from my collection, the earliest dating from 1917.
As I was recently looking through one booklet, I read this tip: To prevent fingernails from tearing rubber gloves, stuff a cotton ball into the finger tips before slipping on. Had I read this tidbit earlier, I’d have avoided this catastrophe – a hole in my favorite dishwashing gloves.
The same pamphlet included a chapter called Homemaking Hints/Uses for Vinegar and this from Mrs. Cleo Cohee: “When cooking raisins or prunes, a few drops of vinegar will swell them, take the wrinkles out, and the vinegar won’t taste.” While I hadn’t before considered de-wrinkled raisins as an improvement to my oatmeal, the idea is too hilarious not to try.
Not all submissions pertain to the problems of the kitchen. In a 1961 edition of Hometown News, Mrs. Lonaire Smith sent in this poem
Never by the leaves that fall.
Count your days by golden hours,
Don’t remember clouds at all.
Count your nights by stars, not shadows;
Count your life by smiles, not tears.
And with joy on every Birthday –
Count your age by Friends, not years.
Tie one on…an apron, of course!