D is for Domesticity. I'm enjoying one of Mr GP's birthday pressies, Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes. If we're talking about feeling old, I feel even older when what was almost the background to my own childhood, (I was born at the tail-end of the 1950s) is related as social history. I guess to children nowadays and even my own offpring, now in their mid and late twenties, the lot of women post-war must seem as much in another age as the events of the late 19th century would have seemed to us. My mother, who would have now been in her nineties had she lived, was similar to that cohort of women, marrying and setting up home in the mid to late fifties. Reading their memoirs, I realise more and more that she, in attempting to juggle career and children, was quite ahead of her time and I can maybe now better appreciate her struggles. At the time, at least when I was younger I rather resented her absences whilst also realising that she needed that space; domesticity wasn't her greatest strength and life would have been even more frustrating than it already was had she not had that outlet for her true skills. As it was, I suspected that she played down her abilities in front of my father and some other family members. But then, from what I'm reading, women were often forced by social pressure to do just that. Here's the publisher's 'blurb:'
In Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes, Virginia Nicholson tells the story of women in the 1950s: a time before the Pill, when divorce spelled scandal and two-piece swimsuits caused mass alarm.Turn the page back to the mid-twentieth century, and discover a world peopled by women with radiant smiles, clean pinafores and gleaming coiffures; a promised land of batch-baking, maraschino cherries and brightly hued plastic. A world where the darker side of the decade encompasses rampant prostitution, a notorious murder, and the threat of nuclear disaster.Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes reconstructs the real 1950s, through the eyes of the women who lived it. Step back in time to where our grandmothers scrubbed their doorsteps, cared for their families, lived, laughed, loved and struggled.This is their story.
I'm wondering about what piece of music would best represent that era and I've plumped on the theme tune for the popular request programme Housewives' Choice.