Saturday, November 06, 2004


We’ve lived in our condo for almost four years. When we moved from our last place, it was a rather rushed affair (but that’s fodder for another post). We ended up shoving our “papers” willy-nilly into some boxes. Those three boxes were placed in the lone storage closet in our new place with the proviso that we’d soon go through them. Fast forward almost four years…

We made such great progress last weekend sorting, filing and organizing our household and business files that boyfriend got inspired to tackle those long-buried boxes in the closet. When I arrived home from work yesterday, he had unearthed them--no small feat since they formed the foundation for the clutter mountain we’ve built in that closet over the years. He had already started going through one of the boxes. I figured I might as well join him, since organizing is something he typically avoids like the plague.

Lo and behold, about 90 minutes later we’d gone through all three boxes and had filed, tossed or shredded almost every item. Yay!! Tackling that storage closet was one of the things I was dreading most about moving. But now that we’ve scaled halfway up that mountain of clutter, I feel much better.

When we prepared to move here, we went through a similar purge process. During that purge, there were a few items I simply couldn’t part with. Among those were some booklets and pamphlets I had culled from my mother’s stuff when I helped her go through all of her belongings more than a decade ago. These were items from the 60’s and I held onto them as reminders of how completely UNenlightened that era was.

“Get on the Beam” is a pamphlet filled with grooming tips. It begins, “As an alert young American, you’re giving some thought to getting along well with your friends and classmates. Well, what makes you click with the crowd? How do you start to increase your popularity? How can you avoid being ‘outside’ and looking in on the party?” The blurb on perspiration starts with: “Everyone perspires. The average person exudes from one to several quarts of perspiration every day.” It will come as no surprise that this was “Published in the interest of better grooming by the makers of Mum deodorant.”

It’s probably telling that my mother owned “Every Single Girl’s Drinking Diet” while she was married to my father. On the front cover: “Have parties made you pudgy? Get slim and trim for your special Him. Drink and eat your way to a smaller size.” Yeah, that works. The writer exults in the success of this diet as her social life picks up steam: “Guys are kissing me goodnight and wanting to go on from there.”

Then we have “Saucepans and the Single Girl.” The back cover says, “This cookbook is guaranteed to do more for the bachelor girl’s social life than long-lash mascara or a new discotheque dress.” A money-saving tip: “When it comes to glasses, don’t waste money on expensive ones--your inebriated guests will break them twice as quickly as early Woolworth stemware.”

The front cover of “How to Really Love Your Man” says that this is best accomplished “By being sexy and nice at the same time.” And that it’s important to know “When, why and how to surrender.” The photos are pretty steamy. Here’s a snippet of anatomical information: “Breasts aren’t just mammary glands, as we all know, because apes nurse babies fine without any. They’re pleasure-globes for both.”

But my absolute favorite is a little pink booklet entitled “How to Prepare Instant Air Force Wives - A Guide for the Wives of Junior Officers.” There’s an outline of a woman on the front cover with a wand being waved over her. The inside front cover features an illustration of a man in a suit stirring a large pot (the kind we associate with cartoon cannibals) with a huge open box next to it that says “Instant Air Force Wives - Just Add Seasoning.” Here’s a bit from Chapter III - Social Functions: “Formal Tea: Invitation is made on personal cards or semi-engraved cards. The formal tea is usually held in the late afternoon. There will probably be a receiving line. Wear a dressy afternoon dress with hat and gloves. Calling cards are not left at formal teas.” At the bottom of the page, there are some additional tips: “Calling cards! Do I need them? You’ve never mentioned them before. TURN to page 27.” -and- “I understand the clothing matters, but will this Air Force business turn me into an alcoholic?” Yes, my dear, it will.


Blogger Katherine said...

tis excellent feng shui to clutte clean on the way toward a move :) . . . and those freaking pamphlets are hysterical. What came to mind are the magazines of today - such bullshit "how-to" stuff - and yet so much of it currently seems so helpful - diet tips, organization tips, etc. :) K

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooo, you should definitely pick up a copy of the book "Pink Think". It doesn't do much delving or analyzing, but it's a great selection of the author's 'femorabilia', mostly health and etiquette manuals. Creepy, but in a funny way. Although I don't think there's anything to compare to your air force wives pamphlet.


1:41 PM  

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