Home economics for girls and shop class for boys.
The 1960s pigeonhole view of the world.
In Milk River, where I grew up, it was a tradition long set.
And trying to buck convention didn’t work.
Trust me, I tried . . .
They had the wondrous world of power tools to explore as they overhauled engines and built furniture.
We learned the proper use of a skillet, how to clean anything and sewing our sleeves in backwards. (Okay, they really didn’t teach that last – that’s just how I did it.)
Mostly, it was all right.
I mean, I like cooking and cleaning and sewing.
But when you do it at home a lot, there’s really not much excitement to doing it at school, too. Right?
Well, there wasn’t for me.
Every day, when we reported to our Home-Ec lab, it was not without a longing glance at the line of boys heading in the opposite direction.
In Fort Macleod, where Husby grew up, it was the same. The girls went one way.
And the boys the other. But that wasn’t the end of their perks.
Not only did they get to fool around with potentially life-threatening implements, they also got to eat whatever the girls had whipped up.
Can anyone spell n.o.t. f.a.i.r.?
One such day stands out in Husby’s mind . . .
The aromas wafting from the kitchens down the hall had been teasing the young men all afternoon. Causing them to be even less attentive than usual.
I know that’s hard to fathom but stay with me.
Just as they were threatening to fall to the cold cement in a hunger-induced swoon, the door opened and manna from Heaven walked in.
Fine. It was several girls carrying slices of pie.
There was only one thing wrong.
There weren’t enough pieces of pie to go around.
Rather than start what was sure to be a battle to the death, the teacher announced that each boy could have exactly half of one of the slices.
Numbly, they agreed.
Husby and his good friend, Donny MacLean were handed one of the plates.
Husby, ever the gentleman, told his friend to eat half and then give the rest to him.
Donny nodded happily and Husby turned away, intent on whatever he had been doing when their class had been interrupted.
A few moments later, Donny nudged Husby with the plate.
It was finally his turn.
Eagerly, he reached for his share of the treat. And found himself staring at a gaping, empty shell. He turned and glared at his ‘friend’.
“I saved you half,” Donny said, shrugging.
Pie with friends. Brings a whole new meaning to ‘taking your half out of the middle’ . . .