In high school I was awarded the Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow award although I was the only girl in the school who refused to take Home Ec classes. Nevertheless, I still have the proof: it’s a tidy bronze pin shaped like a heart that is basically a sweet little fireplace. I truly hope the public reaction to the award in my case didn’t permanently dilute the honor for later recipients, because when my name was announced, a good portion of the small student body, classmates and friends all, burst out laughing. They knew about my “homemaking skills” and liked me anyway.
Every girl in the student body was required to take the test. The award was given primarily on the basis of test results and I had the ability to analyze questions and figure out what answer they wanted.
Later in life, after I understood that my failure to organize my life around homemaking magazines and kitchen tips really wasn’t completely fatal to my quality of life, I wrote down my personal gardening and decorating tips.
- If it’s loose, nail it down.
- If it’s dirty, clean it up.
- If it’s dead, throw it away.
- If it’s still alive, water it.
- If it’s ripe, pick it.
- If it’s a weed, kill it.
- If it’s ugly, don’t do it again.
- If you like it, do it again even if it is ugly.
- If you can’t afford to buy it, learn to make it.
Always keep a hammer, scotch tape, stapler, paper clips, duct tape and a shovel on hand.
Some combination of these items (to be determined as situations present themselves) can actually fix, cover or obliterate every decorating or gardening problem you’ll ever face. Personal courage is required as well.
So I’m not Martha Stewart. But we already knew that.
My heart always wanted a home just like my mother made for us. It took time. My husband loves my homemade apple pie, rhubarb jam, Swedish Farmer’s Omelettes, the Norwegian fruit soup and very thin white sugar cookies. He enjoys the afghans I’ve crochetted, the curtains and drapes I’ve sewed. While I was in the process of acquiring the skills required to produce such results consistently, I would remind him that the award I had received was the Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow Award. He could only acknowledge the truth of that, and did so with patience and good humor.