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.