March #SOL16 Day 13
I was at my mom’s this morning and this book on her shelf caught my eye. Tattered and yellowed, this flimsy paperback was calling out to me, “The New Practical Home Repair For Women.”
“I’ve got to take this – I’ll return it later”, I said.
I picked it up and the middle section fell to the floor. This book is old. Original publish date; 1966 and the second edition came along in 1972. Mr. Bruce Cassiday, author of the book, was asked in the Preface “If women have enough mechanical aptitude, whey aren’t there more women famous in the field of construction and building?” He replied, “Perhaps because they never tried.”
Mr. Bruce Cassiday – I salute you.
I flipped the book over to find many great reviews. The people at Modern Bride said, “It really explains things!” Ha! The word really was italicized in this review. They really meant it!
My mind immediately went to the year this book hit the stores. Mini skirts were all the rage, color T.V.’s were just becoming popular and we were deep into the Vietnam War. Women were embarking on a freer, more liberal lifestyle. They were wearing thigh bearing skirts. Did they really care about fixing leaky pipes or repairing a sagging floor? Were they buying this book?
In the 1960’s women could potentially be fired from their job for being pregnant, couldn’t apply for a credit card and were not allowed to run in the Boston Marathon! Mr. Bruce Cassiday, a progressive man for his time, seemed to believe that women had a brain. He dedicated this entire “how-to” book to his wife, calling her his “Heroine”. Mrs. Bruce Cassiday also wrote the Foreward, which seemed to be a strong message from the author; women can read and they can fix things (if they read this book)!
As I sit here with this book in my lap, I am picturing my mom, at the time a 35 year old woman with two children and a husband who was rarely home. Purchasing this book was probably a necessity. It seems like things were breaking in our house all the time.
When the second edition came out 6 years later my mom would be divorced and working a full time job trying to provide for her 17 and 10 year old daughters. She went to college, but never graduated. She married instead. So, her skills in the workplace were limited.
Hamburger Helper was our “go-to” meal, because Lord knows we needed a little help. The unpaid bills were piling up, while the child support checks were not. The gas (heat) was shut off. The electricity was shut off. My flute was repossessed. It was a scary thing to go go through as a kid. But, when I reflect back on my childhood all I have are happy memories. My mom made sure of that.
We had a beloved pet dog who eventually had puppies. I was in the band. I was a swimmer. I read books. We went to the library every Sunday. I idolized Nancy Drew. I had a detective journal (writers notebook!) just like hers in which I recorded neighborhood happenings. I had close friends whose parents looked after me. I was loved and I always knew everything was going to be alright. Thanks to my Heroine. My mom.