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

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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!

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Posts Tagged ‘winter’

Be Sure The Ice Is Strong

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

if you should meet with an accidentI can’t get skating out of my mind, thanks to recent news of drama and corruption on the ice. Here’s a little reminder to those who don’t have the comfort of a Zamboni-treated ice rink. It’s from an important text titled Everyday Safety, which was written by William A. Evans. Watch yourselves while skating on the pond out back!

1952: Be Sure The Ice Is Strong

Ice skating is a fine sport and is safe provided the ice is strong enough. If you live in the northern part of the United States, you will be able to skate most of the winter, but in the middle section or southern part of the country the winters are frequently so mild that ice skating is seldom safe.

Even if the ice is thick and strong, beware of holes that may be cut through it for fishing or for cutting ice. In streams where the water moves rapidly, the ice may be split in some places and yet there may be stretches of frozen water elsewhere.

If you should meet with an accident and fall into a hole in the ice, try to tread water and life as much of your body out of the hole as possible, spreading your arms wide over the ice so that your weight will be distributed. Taking hold of the edge of the ice may cause additional pieces of the ice to break off.

Source: Evans, William A. Everyday Safety. Chicago: Lyons and Carnahan, 1952.
~ pp. 165-66 ~

Popular Games for Children

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

I've lost my squirrelQ Dear Miss Abigail:

What did children do for fun in the late 1800s and early 1900s? Were there some games that were popular? My daughter’s class is studying the lives of immigrant children in the years 1880 to 1920. I suspect we can’t find much because there isn’t too much on the subject. Life was pretty hard for children then? Any help is appreciated.

Signed,
Cathy

A Dear Cathy:

Coincidentally, I’ve just recently purchased Ethel Acker’s Four Hundred Games for School, Home and Playground. It was published in 1923, which is a bit outside your required dates, but many of the games are based on old ones, so says the preface. The four hundred games cover a variety of styles: counting out and choosing sides, circle games, dramatic games, singing games, mimetic games, tag games, hide and chase games, schoolroom games, special purpose games, bean bag games, ball games, athletic games, quiet games, and forfeits and stunts. I’ve picked just a few amusing ones to whet your appetite.

1923: Four Hundred Games

Have You Seen My Sheep?

The players stand in a single circle. A player in the center goes to a player in the circle and asks, ‘Have you seen my sheep?’ The one questioned asks in reply ‘How is it dressed?’ The center player then describes the clothing of some one in the ring; for example, ‘He wears a blue suit, a dotted tie, and has light hair.’ The one described runs as soon as he recognizes his description. The one questioned chases him, and if he catches the runner before he again reaches his place in the circle, the runner becomes the next questioner. If, however, the runner is safe the chaser becomes the questioner.

I’ve Lost My Squirrel

The children stand in a single circle, playing that they are squirrels. One child is outside looking for his squirrel which he has lost. He walks around, repeating as he goes, ‘I’ve lost my squirrel, I’ve lost my squirrel.’ Then he stops just behind some child and touches him on the shoulder, saying, ‘I’ve found my squirrel.’ At this the two run in opposite directions around the circle. The one who gets back to the open space first is safe. The other one is ‘it’ for the next game.

Pinch-O

The children stand beside each other in one line. They join hands in back. Directly in front and facing them stands the one who is ‘it.’ The line advances while ‘it’ at the same time walks backward. The child at one end of the line calls ‘Pinch!’ and pinches the hand of the child next him. The pinch is passed along the line to the last child who calls ‘O!’ when pinched. As soon as the others hear the ‘O’ they turn and run back to a predetermined goal, and ‘it’ gives chase. Those who are caught by the one who is ‘it’ help to catch the others in the next game, or the first one caught may exchange places with the one who is ‘it.’ The children must be careful not to show by their faces where the ‘pinch’ is. For variation of the game any child may call ‘O!’ when he is pinched.

Snow Man

This game affords an opportunity for legitimate snowball throwing. Any number of children may play. Two goals some distance apart are chosen. The two opposite boundaries of the playground may furnish these goals. One child is chosen to be the snow man. With a good supply of snowballs, he stations himself at a point halfway between the goals. All the other children are stationed at one of the goals. Then the snow man calls out, ‘Who’s afraid of a snow man?’ If the children hesitate at all about running, he calls out again, ‘Oh, you’re afraid of the snow man! You’re afraid!’ At that all must run to the opposite goal and the snow man proceeds to hit as many as he can before they reach goal. Any who are hit must take a place beside the snow man and make balls. Those reaching goal safely without being hit, wait there until again addressed by the snow man; then they run again to the opposite goal, and again the snow man snowballs them. The last child to be hit between goals becomes the snow man for the next game. No one hit on goal is counted out, but no one may stay on goal after the snow man calls the last sentence. As will readily be seen, this game requires a wide as well as a rather long running space.

Source: Acker, Ethel F. 400 Games for School, Home and Playground. Dansville, N.Y.: F. A. Owen Publishing Company, 1923.
~ pp. 24 -26, 100, 118 ~

May I Still Wear Velvet?

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

this is the time for bright colorsQ Dear Miss Abigail:

When is the last possible date that wearing velvet is acceptable?

Signed,
Desperate for an answer

A Dear Desperate:

This question just came in, and since it was marked “desperate,” as well as being a timely subject matter (thank goodness Spring is here!) I decided to answer it right away.

Though I don’t have a specific velvet cut-off date for you, here are some basic guidelines about seasonal clothing from one of my newly acquired books.

1969: Seasonal Items

You may be wondering how it is possible to wear some of the basic wardrobe items in the middle of the summer when the weather is so hot it would seem foolish to put on a velvet hat, for instance. The answer to this dilemma is to have a few strictly summer clothes. Just keep in mind that the less money you spend on these, the more you will have to spend on the other three seasons of the year.

Following is a list of seasonal items. Read them through. It may be that the ideas given do not apply in your area but, the advice is offered with a broad intent to make you appropriately dressed almost anywhere in the world.

Fabrics for Summertime Only

Linen and cotton are considered summertime fabrics. They might be designed to be worn for either daytime or evening in bright, festive, vacation colors. They will look dress-down with basic dress-down or summer dress-down accessories. They will look dress-up with fabric accessories dyed to match. Exception: Some cottons are dyed dark to be worn during the early fall season. Others are so colorful that they may be used to advantage around the Christmas Holiday season to add a gay note.

Summertime Accessories

Dress-Down:
Into this category will fall patent leather shoes and all other patent leather accessories. There are to be worn any time between Easter and Labor Day. This is one leather that cannot be mixed with any other. If one accessory is patent leather all other leather accessories should be patent.

Patent leather is dress-down and because it is shiny, it is to be worn with dull cottons. Straw hats and other straw accessories are to be worn only during the summer months. They are for daytime wear.

Dress-Up:
In some vacation resort areas it is proper to go without hosiery ~ a suntan taking their place. Bare foot sandals in metallic leathers are used for evening wear.

Shell or seed jewelry is used for both daytime and evening in colors to match or contrast.

A beautiful chiffon scarf may be all the wrap necessary to cover bare shoulders.

This is the time for bright colors, light-weight flowing fabrics ~ and romance.

Chiffon hats that are light as a breeze are more dress-up. However, they may be worn in the daytime as well as in the evening for party time occasions.

Fabrics for Wintertime Only

Some fabrics are so heavy that they would be worn only during the coldest months. Such a fabric is wool felt. Again, unless you have an unlimited clothing budget, it is wiser to collect clothes that can be worn throughout the various seasons.

Exception:A fine fur stole may be worn all year round. Never in man’s history has fashion been sacrificed for comfort. If you want to wear a lovely fur even thought the weather is too warm, go ahead.

Wintertime accessories

Dress-down:
Woolly-knit headgear
Woolly mittens
Woolly scarves

Dress-up:
Usually those accessories that are dress-up may be worn all year round.

Source: Tolman, Ruth. Charm and Poise for Getting Ahead. Bronx, NY: Milady Publishing Corporation, 1969.
~ pp. 157-58 ~

1923: Snow Man

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

I live near Washington, D.C., where we are preparing for Snowpocalypse II: The Revenge!!, so I thought I would dig up some snow activities for those of us who may be spending a lot of time at home, bored, this weekend. I have a number of game and recreation books for kids, and found this fun one in a book called Four Hundred Games for School, Home, and Playground, which was written in 1923 by Ethel F. Acker.

Oh, and just because this is written for children, doesn’t mean you grownups can’t play too!

~~
Snow Man

This game affords an opportunity for legitimate snowball throwing. Any number of children may play. Two goals some distance apart are chosen. The two opposite boundaries of the playground may furnish these goals. One child is chosen to be the snow man. With a good supply of snowballs, he stations himself at a point halfway between the goals. All the other children are stationed at one of the goals. Then the snow man calls out, “Who’s afraid of a snow man?” If the children hesitate at all about running, he calls out again, “Oh, you’re afraid of the snow man! You’re afraid!” At that all must run to the opposite goal and the snow man proceeds to hit as many as he can before they reach the goal. Any who are hit must take a place beside the snow man and make balls. Those reaching goal safely without being hit, wait there until again addressed by the snow man; then they run again to the opposite goal, and again the snow man snowballs them. The last child to be hit between goals becomes the snow man for the next game. No one hit on goal is counted out, but no one may stay on goal after the snow man calls the last sentence. As will readily be seen, this game requires a wide as well as a rather long running space.
~~