It’s easy to get lost in the nostalgia of the “olden days” (my kids now refer to the ‘80s as the “olden days” and that just seems wrong, but I digress), but it’s easy to forget how different it was for women back then. Even now in 2021 as a solo parent there are challenges that I face because I am a woman that I would not if there was a man living here. However, there are also certain benefits I receive for the exact same reason. The narrow line I try to walk is accepting the help I truly need while not taking on the role of “helpless woman” (which can be tempting). I am lucky because I have kids who help out, and my extended family (thanks guys) who step in whenever I really need anything. Figuring out how things work in this old house is a constant challenge. Nothing says an adventure like heading into the basement of a house that was put together by old ranchers who knew how everything worked, but who didn’t build things in the same way that the professionals would have . To their credit, this place is coming up on 90 years and it’s still standing so they must have known what they were doing!!! I added the Flapper’s Prayer and the Lawyer’s Advice in grandma’s handwriting, because if I hadn’t seen that she had copied these poems in her own handwriting I never would have believed it.
I sold gold cross(?) garden seeds to the neighbours and got a beautiful violin from the company. The seeds were really good and grew well but I have my doubts about the violin. Anyway I took lessons from Mrs Easton in Cochrane and conned Ruth into playing those terrible scales on the piano so that I could follow in tune. I loved the violin and still do. Alex Beadle took violin lessons from Mrs Easton too and once we had to play a duet at a concert in Cochrane. I shudder yet when I think of the awful squawks I got out of that instrument. But the Chautauqua that used to come to Cochrane were wonderful. They really were an inspiration. Then came the radio. And Oh My! It was wonderful. We got Philip Aries to make a crystal set and we would sit there just enthralled. And dear help anyone who walked across the floor and jiggled the needle off the crystal. I still think it’s magic that a thing delicate little thread of wire touching a piece of crystal rock could connect us to the world. Cochrane had an active minstrel show every winter for many years. We always looked forward to that. They used local talent and were popular in all the neighbouring towns too.
High school was fun but hard work too. We had a young-people’s group called the Rustler’s Club. At that time the Russell hotel had no bar, a lovely dining room and very nice people named the Dickenson’s running it. They allowed our group to meet and dance to their big gramophone on Friday evenings. The dining room was closed to the public and made a grand club-room for us. The teachers joined too. It was very enjoyable, and it gave us a chance to learn to dance. We also had a high school orchestra about that time and it was great fun.
I want the lights that brightly shine, the big strong men, the taste of wine. I long for the fun without the price, I want to be naughty and yet be nice. I want the thrill of a first long kiss, I want the things that other girls miss. I want the arms and the heart of a man, yet be single if I can. So as a lawyer gave me advice on how to be naughty and yet be nice. I want to do as other girls do, tease and cuddle and trill and coo. Blacken my eyes and powder my nose, shorten my skirts and roll my hose. Drive a little and shimmy a lot and park my corsets when the weather gets hot. ride and swim, golf and skate. Take the fence instead of the gate. Break all records, all but one. Be good and true when the game is done. I don’t like pepper, but I do like spice. I want to be naughty and yet be nice.
The advice I give is long and true, for you can’t eat your pie and have it too. If you want the men and want the wine you must pay the price while you eat and dine. The next must be a long kiss if the first one yields a moments bliss. If you want the things the good girls miss you will need be wiser than most girls, sis. So watch your step is my advice if you want to be naughty and yet be nice. Go to it kid with your grease and paint that makes you look like what you ain’t. Shimmy and drink to your heart’s content. Be hugged and squeezed till your ribs are bent. Park your clothes on a hickory limb, but don’t dare go in for a swim. Bath if you will on the dewy(?) green. But you can’t use mud and come out clean. The game you play is men’s long suit. Since Eve first nibbled the forbidden fruit. What ever you get you must pay the price. But you can’t be naughty and yet be nice.