Only one generation away from ‘The Good Life’


By Bill Derby

Judd Shaw, our graphics director, brought me a copy of an article from an edition of the Good Housekeeping magazine a few years ago. It was published May 13, 1955. Remember, I didn’t write it. I just read it.

For the ladies…if you want to read this go ahead but don’t get mad. Just imagine someone slipped this column under your door and then ran. For the men…enjoy a lighthearted look at the past that today is only a memory.

During my parent’s generation in the 1950’s the family unit was different than today. Traditionally, the dad worked. Mom stayed home, raised kids, cooked and cleaned. When dad came home from work, dinner was always on the table.

What transpired during the 1960’s changed it all.  It was a rebellious time. Young women joined in.  It was their generation to make a statement for freedom from playing the traditional wife’s role in the home. I think they called it the women’s movement. In fact some gals got so turbulent they even burned their support thingy.

If by chance a guy slips this “Good Wife Guide” into a Valentine card in a couple of weeks, please be careful. You could find your britches full of boiling water or worse. You might have to cook dinner. But, just maybe, she might like to follow this guide for one day, as a Valentine’s Day present. Below is the actual article, as it appeared 13 May 1955.

The Good Wife’s guide

•  Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return.

•  Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

•  Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

•  Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.

•  Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. and then run a dust cloth over the tables.

•  Over the cooler months you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

•  Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces, comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

•  Be happy to see him.

•  Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

•  Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

•  Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out for dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

•  Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

•  Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.

•  Don’t complain if he’s home late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.

•  Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

•  Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing pleasant voice.

•  Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

•  A good wife always knows her place.


Oh, for the good ole days. Judy suggests I better leave town when this comes out. But remember, I’m just the messenger. Happy Valentine’s Day you all. And there it is.


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