Thursday, August 03, 2006

Quotes from The Caring Woman: A Guide to Housekeeping

Some years ago, I lucked onto a lovely little book that was on a table of highly discounted items outside of a store in Memphis. It was clear that copies of this unclaimed treasure had been around for a long time, and had now been marked down to move out quickly. I think I got my copy for $2.00 or something like that.

At any rate, this treasure is called "The Caring Woman: A Guide to Housekeeping", and the author is Sophis Makirs Sousoulas. The book is decorated with lovely Victorian inspired art, and it provides wonderful tips on how to clean. But, more than the actual info, the thing I love about it is that Mrs. Sousoulas' caring heart shines from the pages of the book.

Let me mention that the jacket says Mrs. Sousoulas was born in Memphis of Greek immigrant parents. She has a BS degree in Biology and Chemisty. For several years she worked in research in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Tennessee. "Following her marriage to dentist Jim Sousoulas, she became a career wife and mother, a career where the principles of chmisty apply to cooking, cleaning, and to caring." The copy of the book also reveals that Mrs. Sousoulas also learned much from working in her parents' laundry. (Note: I believe some of the best keepers at home are those who not only have been taught how to keep a home, but also have an education in another field. It's wonderful to be able to apply knowledge of something like medicine, science, art, or literature to caring for a home and family. For more on this, read Edith Shaeffer's book, "The Hidden Heart of Homemaking.)

Let me share some quotes that reveal Mrs. Sousoulas wonderful attitude towards keeping a home:

"The privilege of having a home and family instilled in me the desire to become a capable homemaker who could perform all the duties that title implied. Someone who cared not only for the occupants, but the house and its contents. The idea grew to ecnompass more duties and greater skills, just as a juggler starts witha few object, then gradually introduces others."

"The paradox of today is that never before do so many own so much, yet lack sufficient knowledge to maintain and care for these possessions."

"The truly beautiful home is the clean one...The selections and talents of decorators ca create the charcter of a room, but the maintenance of that creation belongs to ou. Magnficient homes, resplendent with rare antiques and expensive art objects, become ugly if they lack cleanliness....A simple but lean and orderly home is the one with appeal and beauty."

I have learned the truth of this humerous section from Mrs. Sousoulas the hard way: "A home has a way of communicating with its occupants. If you give to it, it gives back to you; if you refuse to give, it also refuses. An unmade bed makes you dislike the bedroom. It also makes sleeping on that bed undesirable. You did nothing for it -- it does nothign in return. A messy kitchen reaps vengeance. Dirty dishes in the sink, an unmopped floor, and frying pan with bacon grease and remnant of eggs left on the stove, scream, "Do something with me," and the noise makes it uncomfortable to eat there. A ring around the bathtub can make a sponge bath preferable. Soap has a way of combining with minerals in the water to form a deposit of scum. The longer you wait to clean, the more layers form and the more difficult it becomes to clean. The tub gets back at you by its objectionable appearance....Ever continue to use "clean everything" until they run out and you're left with soiled and dirty everything"? The house knows exactly when to run out. You must pay penance at the worst possible time. awlays when you have the least time available, the house knows and will get even. Its continuing message is, "Take care of me, and I'll do the same for you."

"Hands are the most valuable tool in housework. Wear rubber gloves to protect them. Always keep a supply on hand. Wear loose fitting comfortable garments...The old-fashioned house dress has never been improved upon. Alas, they're all but obsolege."

"Perform all household tasks as though they are physical regimens. All that stooping, bending, kneeling, lifting, pulling, pushin, really is. Think of housework as a sport. The side benefit is you will acquire a better figure."

"The role of homemaker and housekeeper is eessential. It is the dependable, stabilizing force a family needs. It shhould offer warmth, love, security, and happiness at the end of the day."

"I s anyone home anymore? It owuld appear every other place as priority."

"The home needs someone in charge, a manager, just as any business does."

"One of the most important yet overlooked areas of home maintenance is the outside of the front door. Your front door will always be the tell-tale giveaway of your houekeeping. It housld be painted more often than the rest of the exterior. NO one examines the windows that closely, but they do see the chipped faded, unclearn door very well. If it's painted, scrub it often with a cleaner, such as Top Job or Spic and Span. If it's stained, go over it often with furniture polish."

"Yard maintenance is another giveway abaout how clean the house is unside. Uncut grass and litter shout, "I['m unloved." Before buying a hosue, give serious thought to whether you will be willing to perform or can afford to hire proper yard maintenance. The yard size shoudl be as carefully considered as the house size. Better to have a small, well-kept yard than an abandoned large one."

Well, that's enough quoting. I have to run. My house is shouting, "Take care of me."

Elizabeth, the Merry Rose





1 comment:

Wendy WaterBirde said...

Wow this was such a sweet post Elizabeth! I really loved this "(The home's) continuing message is, "Take care of me, and I'll do the same for you." And I look around and my space is shouting, "Take care of me" too! And so is my body: nourish me please, and I'll do the same for you.

I'm so glad you stopped by my blog today and that I had the opportunity to discover yours. It's quite lovely, and I know I'll be back : )

Blessings! Wendy