Alice’s Restaurant

November 18, 2006

Who is Suzy Homemaker?

Filed under: Suzy Homemaker — aliceaudrey @ 6:24 am

You may have noticed that some of my blogs are labeled “Suzy Homemaker”.  There is a reason for that.

Back when I was in Jr. High and High school everyone was required to attend either Home Ec classes or Shop.  The thing is the women’s movement had gotten far enough along that the schools could no longer tell you which one to take, based on gender, but everyone expected girls to do Home Ec and boys to do Shop.

One of my best friends – I had two – and I were talking about how unfair it was to be expected to take Home Ec.  I may have been wearing tie-die, but we could both cook and sew, and keep house with the best of them.  Only we didn’t do it because we expected to become good little home makers of the future.  We did it because it had to get done.

I’ve been cooking since I was 7, turning out regular meals by myself since I was 9.  To me it was not a joy.  It was a chore.  If I sew, it’s mostly because that’s the cheapest way of acquiring something to wear.  I’ve been at it since I was 7, with minimal help by the time I was 10.

When we found out we’d have to do in school the exact same things we were doing at home, neither of us was thrilled.  As my friend said, “I don’t care what they say.  I am never going to be Suzy Homemaker!” 

So we took Shop.

Though I haven’t done any of it in a gazzillion years I know how to bend metal, rivet, solder, follow blue prints, use a scroll saw and a drill press, and can hammer a nail straight.  I can also create a cake recipe by modifying an existing recipe until I get what I’m after, make a pattern off of an article of clothing, and not turn my husband’s underwear pink in the laundry.  Not that I won’t indulge that past time now and then out of spite.

Now and then I will have someone drop by the house who is amazed that I bake my own bread, or whip out a batch of cookies simply because I feel like it, and frequently hear jealous comments about making my kid’s costumes and clothes.  Despite my intentions, I became Suzy Homemaker.  It amazes people who know me for supporting garage bands, organizing charity events, or avid camping to learn that I am a Suzy Homemaker.  But there it is.  And now and then I really like it.

And that friend?  She’s an electric engineer.


  1. I always suspected you were multi-talented. 🙂 I wish I’d taken Shop!

    Comment by Lynne — November 18, 2006 @ 5:51 pm

  2. I took jewelry making too. 😉

    Who suspects Lynne is also multi-talented.

    Comment by aliceaudrey — November 18, 2006 @ 6:23 pm

  3. I was a band geek. . . I wasn’t able to take Home Ec or Shop, since they were ‘electives’ and I already had mine picked out, Band and French. Then, when I did have one more elective to pick out in high school, I picked a speed reading class. Boy, am I glad I did!

    I’m one of those jealous individuals that wish I could sew. I never even learned to read a pattern or turn on a sewing machine and often wonder why there has to be two spools of thread??

    I do cook — as my husband often says, I can open a box with the best of them! I can follow a recipe and have been known to tinker with the ingrediants (those nights usually end up being Pizza nights!)

    Comment by Pam — November 18, 2006 @ 8:49 pm

  4. We had to do both Home Ec and Shop in our school! As for being a Suzy Homemaker..well, I am not so great at that, but when I put my mind to it I can turn out a good meal!

    Comment by Marg — November 18, 2006 @ 9:11 pm

  5. I was a band geek, too. 🙂 The B I got one quarter of Home Ec was one of the only ones I got in high school. Maybe that was the quarter when we had to learn to sew.

    Jewelry-making is a relatively new thing for me. I wish they’d had something cool like that when I was taking Home Ec!

    Comment by Lynne — November 19, 2006 @ 3:57 am

  6. I was an orchestra geek. But that didn’t keep me out of the Home Ec/Shop choice. At least it was only for one year.

    “read” patterns? *grin* I just sort of cut around them myself. Yes, I know you mean the instructions. For what it’s worth Butterrick is the easiest to read. Vogue is the worst.

    I seriously never considered the stay at home question until I got pregnant. I went from Grateful Dead shows to diapers.

    The jewelry making class I took had us casting rings and settings and stuff. I was the only girl out of 20-some-odd students. I got flack from the jewelers for being a geek and flack from the geeks for being in jewelry making, and the stupid class busted my grade point average because I was messing with the specific gravity of the wax. Oh well. It was still fun.


    Comment by aliceaudrey — November 19, 2006 @ 6:51 am

  7. Jeepers! You are multi-talented. I stopped to think what I could do while I read your post and the answer is not much–or not much well. I can just about manage to turn up the hem on my son’s trousers. Sewing patterns and making clothes–forget it! I frequently turn all manner of white’s pink, or if I’m in really good form, I sort of tie die them pink and blue at once. I’m a soso cook. Mainly because I always get sidetracked by something, usually checking emails or something equally important, then I burn everything. Luckily I seem to have a Suzy Homemaker for a daughter. She loves to cook, shop, organise the home and generally tell me what to do in the kitchen. And believe me, if she cooks dinner everynight, she gets a lot of leaway.

    Comment by Helen Taylor — November 19, 2006 @ 6:26 pm

  8. Hey, Helen! You made it! You should put a link to your blog here. I assure you everyone who has come to visit me will LOVE what you’ve had to say. Especially about eating Italian.


    Comment by aliceaudrey — November 20, 2006 @ 12:26 am

  9. Grins. I never had home ec, either. I took “computer science” (which was a lot more like word processing than computer science back in those days). But I had a grandma who taught me to cook and another grandma who taught me how to sew. Grandpas were good for golf and musical instruments, too. I *love* cooking, but find sewing tedious. And I am so bad at housekeeping and organization that I will never be allowed to wear a Suzy Homemaker badge of approval, but I still love to cook, and the boys and husband know that means they’ve got to clean. It makes for some frantic closet stuffing when company comes, but we manage to put on a good front most of the time 🙂

    Comment by Chris — November 21, 2006 @ 6:28 pm

  10. Any REAL Suzy Homemaker would turn her nose up at me. I don’t try to be good. I try to get it done.


    Comment by aliceaudrey — November 22, 2006 @ 2:24 am

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