A history lesson for those of you younger than I am:
Before there were blogs and lists, there were women's magazines.
Before there was e-mail, there were round-robin pen-pal groups, often started in women's magazines.
Before there were genealogical online searches, there were pages of people "looking for other people named McCheese or O'Christmastree," in women's magazines.
Before there were online auctions, there were pages--in women's magazines--where you could beg, plead and whine for that 1972 pattern that had gotten misplaced. And without fail, generous housewives would reach into their stashes of patterns and send you one. I once begged, pleaded and whined (nicely) for any old Betsy McCall paper dolls (from McCalls magazine) that people might have gathering dust--and I received several. I also got grocery coupons, postcards from Georgia, and a recipe we still make called "Doreen Perry's cookies."
Do I wish we could go back to the way we did things fifteen years ago? No, not really. The stamps were costing a fortune and the round-robin letter was always getting sidetracked...or at best, it was so slow that by the time it came back around to you with news about the upcoming summer vacation, it was already Christmas. I once mentioned in a robin letter that our baby had diaper rash, and I got lots of advice--of course by that time we were onto teething...
But I still remember the very, very nice ladies that I connected with through the pen-pal pages. I remember the first time one of them "defected" and said she was going to do her pen-palling online. I remember writing to young moms who were much like me, and to a few older ladies who just sounded interesting. One of them turned out to be the mother of the best man at our wedding. Another struggled with health issues and depression; we lost touch but I often thought about her and wondered...ironically, it was through a Google search later that I found out she had passed away.
The connecting these days is more immediate. The baby is born, the acceptance letter comes, the prayers are needed NOW. We're not used to having to wait days or weeks to find out what happened! We can find a great-grandfather's brother's name or the last line of a poem within a few minutes.
But women haven't changed. We still look for ways to connect with each other, encourage each other, pray for each other. And send advice on diaper rash. And cookie recipes.
Doreen Perry's Cookies
2/3 cup shortening (or butter or margarine)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts or sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup raisins (all optional)
1 cup cornflakes, slightly crushed and added at the last (or bran flakes or Rice Krispies--we like Rice Krispies)
1 cup chocolate chips (not in the original recipe but we add them instead of the nuts and raisins)
Combine shortening/margarine and sugar, add egg and vanilla and then dry ingredients, adding oats and extras last. Push from a spoon onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove while still warm.
My parents get a magazine called "Good Old Days" which has those free pages with people looking for an item or an old friend or someone who remembers the words to a song from their youth.
And I sometimes feel a little nostalgic for the ribbon-bound stack of letters I was able to save from pen-pal days. Seeing a friend's familiar handwriting in the mailbox made any day a better day!
But I just realized yet another sign of the times - "Good Old Days" magazine is online! www.goodolddaysonline.com Pretty funny!
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