Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



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Friday, June 23, 2017

Home Wreckers, Inc.

I really wanted to take Shop class.
Working with power tools. Smelling the aroma of freshly-sawn wood as you constructed your first-ever end table.
Making pottery and jewelry.
A handi-girl's dream.
But in 1970 (yes that's really when I started high school) at Erle Rivers High in Milk River, Alberta girls weren't allowed to take Shop class.
I know. Because I asked.
Moving on . . .
I, and the rest of the girls, took Home Economics. Home Ec., for short.
Or Home Wreck, as it was not-so-affectionately titled.
So we were 'Home-Wreckers'.
The place where we 'learned' to sew.
Cook.
Clean.
And generally find our way around running a home.
Once I got past not being able to take Shop, I really had fun.
I sewed a potholder. An apron.
And a little purple linen dress with the sleeves in backwards.
Sigh.
I baked cookies. Made Chicken-a-la-King served in little toast cups.
And Gourmet Hot Dogs.
I learned the proper way to scour pots (and the sink).
Scrub a floor.
And generally make my house squeaky clean.
Sew straight. Cook carefully. And scrub hard.
I did pass. With unremarkable marks.
And, surprisingly, I actually used some of the things I learned.
And still do today.
There is a codicil:
Now my brother . . .
Yes, they allowed boys to take Home Ec. 
For one glorious week sometime during the year.
And yes, I know it wasn't fair . . .
My brother remembers Home Wreck differently.
He remembers cooking.
Something he excels at today.
And hunting for mice with frying pans and spatulas.
Boys make everything more fun.

10 comments:

  1. You brought back so many memories. Too bad they didn't teach these skills in school today!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh gosh---I remember those days! I took Home Ec just because I wanted to be able to eat the food during class!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm kind of surprised that they didn't keep the program going. We sure enjoyed ourselves although I don't think Ms. Dorothy enjoyed it nearly as much. Neither did Charlie. I'm not trying to steal your show Diane, but I posted the link just in case someone wants to know the boys' side of the story when it was a real program... http://gearheadsncoffeestains.blogspot.ca/2012/12/boys-with-aprons.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. I didn't have the option of taking home ec or shop....I was in the secretarial course. I guess they figured we wouldn't need it. Wrong!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Diane, did this ever bring back memories. I graduated high school in 1970. It was an interesting time. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I can't remember if my high schools even offered Home Ec!

    I do remember thinking shop class was interesting, but by the 80's I think that shop had been re-categorized from being a class that boys took to a class that kids who weren't expected to go to college took. I have a good friend who is a professional builder and a very good one, and this drives her up the wall.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Our Hone Ec cooking room looked just like the one in the picture. I remember the class mostly for the "weird" salad we made...which I learned much later is called Waldorf Salad. Who ever thought to put celery, apple, raisins and mayo together didn't count on a teenager's sensitive taste buds! I actually like it now :) (I just checked Google for ingredients and I see the recipe we used is not the usual one!!)

    I love the term Home Wreck and wish I'd known it back then :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Cooking and sewing were the only options open to the girls. The boys could (and some did) take the cooking option but their metal/woodwork classes were off limits to us.
    I can't remember being taught cleaning at school. A mistake.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I remember home ec, I just barely passed. Tried to sew a hem on something and sewed it so tight you couldn't put it on.

    ReplyDelete
  10. There's a proper way to scour pots and sinks? Huh. how 'bout that. I did Home Ec through the sixties, didn't learn a thing I didn't already know. Which doesn't mean I actually do those things. Right now I'm thinking of painting my floors dirt colour so I won't have to wash them.

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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