Who is Miss Abigail?

Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

Find me on…

Get the feed

About

Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!

Archives

Posts Tagged ‘leisure’

Building a Fire

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

collect the woodI admit it. I’m a camping snob. Thanks to trips as a youngster to a favorite spot by a pond near the Finger Lakes in New York State, I prefer real camping: the Grotke family tent, the roaring fire, wading in the creek, peeing against the trees. Alas, many urbanites are a bit fearful of the idea of so much closeness with nature. So while those friends who stay home contemplate what restaurant to visit this weekend, the brave ones among us will forage for wood in order to cook a feast over the campfire. Here are some tips I picked up from Beatrice Pierce’s book The Young Hostess for just such an activity. Pass the s’mores! I’m hungry!

1938: Building a Fire

Cooking out of doors is an art, but everyone enjoys the experience. It is important, of course, to know how to build a fire. There are different methods, but the principles are much the same. The thing to learn first is that you cannot cook over a roaring blaze. You must wait until the fire burns down and you have a nice bed of hot coals. It is best to use stones to confine your fire; and you should select a place that is sheltered from the wind. Preparations for an outdoor meal take a rather long time, so start early. The first job is to collect the wood, unless you have brought it from home. Where wood is scarce, charcoal bought from your grocer is an excellent substitute, clean, compact, and safe. Next, start your water boiling, if you need hot water for anything. A kettle set on a grid is one way. Another, in case you have no grid, is to cut a stick about two feet long, a fairly heavy one with a crotch at one end. Leave about two inches on each fork of the crotch. Sharpen the other end. Push it into the ground. Cut a four- to five-foot green pole; it must be green or it will catch fire. Cut a notch in one end. Rest this pole over the forked stick, the notched end over the fire, the other end resting on the ground. Hang a bucket or kettle on the notch, keep the fire going, and soon your water will be boiling merrily.

Source: Pierce, Beatrice. The Young Hostess. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1938.
~ pp. 180-81 ~

The Wise Use of Leisure

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

do the things you enjoyI am heading out on vacation tomorrow ~ taking a roadtrip with my crazy dog Frieda to New England. Since there is much traveling going on during these fine summer months, I decided to find some words on one of my favorite activities ~ leisure. This one is from a home ecomonics textbook entitled Everyday Living for Girls.

1936: The Wise Use of Leisure

What is meant by leisure? Is idleness leisure? Is leisure time for rest? Is leisure recreation? Is it time for mental growth? Is all of your time outside of school hours leisure? Is riding in the street car or walking to and from school part of your leisure? Is all of a business woman’s time, outside of her eight hours at the office, leisure time? Are there some activities which are part of a high school girl’s job or her day’s work, while they would be leisure time activities for a young business girl? . . . Does your mother have leisure time? What is your definition of leisure? . . .

Leisure means your right to choose. Leisure time is generally considered free time, when you do the things you enjoy, when you choose what you want to do. Nobody or no outside force causes you to do or act. It is the time when you are not doing dishes, making beds, doing homework, dressing, or washing out silk stockings. Practicing a musical instrument might or might not be a leisure time activity, according to whether you chose to do it for recreation, or were studying it vocationally. Leisure time might be spent in arranging flowers, or even in getting the living-room ready for a party. When you really enjoy doing something and choose to do it yourself, it is a leisure time activity. Eating may be a leisure time activity when one entertains, is entertained, or eats in an unusual place. “Eating one’s way through” New York, or Paris, or old New Orleans would be a holiday activity.

Do what you really enjoy. No one should tell another person how to spend his leisure time. Unless you may do what you like to do, it is not real leisure. Certainly, this book will not presume to tell you what to do. Rather, you write this discussion!

Source: Van Duzer, Adelaide Laura, et. al. Everyday Living for Girls. Chicago: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1936.
~ pp. 447-48 ~

1936: Wise Use of Leisure

Monday, October 9th, 2006

Some of you may not be aware that I play the french horn. I have since fourth grade, and since graduating from college a bazillion years ago it’s been off and on whenever I can find a group to play with. (I don’t do so well solo.) I’m currently playing with my local Takoma Park Community Band, and I just put together a Web site for our group. (Disclaimer: I’m hoping that posting here will get Google to find the link and index the page for us.)

Not to completely make this about Google’s index, I thought I would share an excerpt from a chapter titled “Wise Use of Leisure.” It is from the 1936 book titled Everyday Living for Girls, by Adelaide Laura Van Duzer (“Formerly supervisor of home economics, Cleveland Public Schools”) and a handful of other Cleveland authors.

~~
Leisure means your right to choose.Leisure time is generally considered free time, when you do the things you enjoy, when you choose what you want to do. Nobody or no outside force causes you to do or act. It is the time when you are not doing dishes, making beds, doing homework, dressing, or washing out silk stockings. Practicing a musical instrument might or might not be a leisure activity, according to whether you chose to do it for recreation, or were studying it vocationally. Leisure time might be spent in arranging flowers, or even in getting the living-room ready for a party. When you really enjoy doing something and choose to do it yourself, it is a leisure activity. . . .
~~

Later in the chapter, the authors discuss the importance of community facilities when seeking out leisure activities:

~~
Some girls do not take advantage of community facilities because they do not know about them. Find out what yours are. For instance, if you are musical and wish to join an amateur orchestra or string quartet, or would like to do ensemble singing, look around; find out if there is a group you may join or help form. In own town the young people established their own little theater. Opportunity for different types of self-expression was given. One group became responsible for the costumes, and splendid artistic effects were achieved at little cost.
~~

All this talk about leisure seems fitting after the nice, long holiday weekend, that’s for sure.