Friday, October 26, 2018

Does Mrs. Smith Get the Job?

September 7, 1950
8:45 a.m.

How do you like my new suit? I've been busy sewing a small business wardrobe all summer, but for my first job interview I spent all my birthday money on this oxford-gray flannel suit and the chamois vest and gloves.

Do I look professional to you? A good suit is a must for business and I didn't trust my tailoring skills enough to tackle a suit, but I've made three blouses I can wear with it and two jersey dresses. I think that will do until the paychecks start coming in.

Our twins are in third grade this year and my husband will be home working on his dissertation so it seems like the perfect time for me to find a job.

Here goes, I don't want to be late for my interview. 

Keep your fingers crossed for me, please.


9:45 a.m.

The balding man frowned and stood up, holding out his hand, her cue to stand up too.

"Mrs. Smith, I'm sure you were top of your college class when you graduated in 1940, but you have no real job experience. I need a girl with leadership skills, someone who commands respect from the girls who will work under her, someone who knows how to train other girls thoroughly. I'm afraid you..." 

He paused, turned both hands palm up and shrugged.

"Then I am just the woman you are looking for, Mr. Williams." She stood up but looked him straight in the eye as she gathered her handbag and gloves. 

"I have been busy raising two children all while managing a house, even when alone while my husband was overseas in the Army. But I've also volunteered at the Red Cross two days a week, taught Sunday School to three-year-olds, and mowed the grass so my husband could study for his degree on weekends after he was honorably discharged.

"I got up at 4 a.m. to cook breakfast and pack his lunch so he would be on time for the early shift at work before he attended classes in the afternoon. I have led a Girl Scout troop every year since high school when I won the highest award given by the Girl Scouts.

"I do know how to train women under me. There's not a lazy bone in my body and now that my husband is through with classes and is writing his dissertation and my children are well into school, I am ready to pursue my own career." 

Her shoulders thrown back, she steeled herself not to blush or cry.

"That is admirable, Mrs. Smith, it certainly is." 

He glanced at his watch and said, "But you have young children. They may be in school but who is going to take care of them when they get sick?"

"My husband will this year, Mr. Williams, and after that when he is teaching at the university we'll make other arrangements."

"But I can't be sure of that, can I? How do I know you won't decide that Johnny needs you if he breaks his leg on the playground or if Susie goes to the hospital with appendicitis?"

"Maybe not, Mr. Williams, but then you can't be sure that every woman in your office won't come down with influenza at the same time or that the men employed here won't end up hospitalized with a serious illness. All I know is that I have two children who will need to go to college someday and I plan on seeing to it that they'll be able to."

She decided to go on quickly since Mr. Williams looked at a loss for words. "That unmarried woman you're looking for, with no responsibilities at home? What happens when she falls in love and gets married and her husband is transferred? How can you be sure that I'm not a better risk than she is?"

Mr. Williams shook his head, "You certainly are persistent, Mrs. Smith. I'll give you that and you've given me a new perspective on this, but...."


Okay, dear friends, now YOU get to finish my story. Does Mrs. Smith get the job or not?

How would you end this story?

Mrs. Smith's suit courtesy of Ladies' Home Journal, August 1950.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Heavens to Betsy!

Just when I'd gotten fairly regular again in posting here at the Window and in being a faithful blog visitor, the flu struck, followed by bronchitis. So far RH hasn't caught it from me but let me tell you that after skipping the flu shot for two years I will be a faithful flu vaccine believer from now on, despite some negative news about it.

I just can't go through this every year, folks. I've been sick since September 25th and am just now crawling out of it. 

I missed celebrating our wedding anniversary and I missed an experience that I look forward to all year round, a trip to the Nashville Farmers Market to stock up on pumpkins and gourds to decorate our house for Autumn.

That was really a bummer but at this late date I'm just going to skip it and start decorating for Christmas in early November, God willing and the creek don't rise--I've learned to add that phrase to every plan because who knows what the next day will bring, right? Just ask anyone who lost everything they had in the monster storm Michael. My heart goes out to all of those without a home to return to or returning to months before things are normal. 

That makes blogging seem a little trivial, comparatively.

But please let me throw up a post here now that should have been written three years ago as a followup to a post on November 19, 2015 when I promised a dessert recipe from the meal I wrote about here in Pine Cones and French China.

In searching back through old Autumn posts this last week when I finally came out of the worst brain fog, I discovered this post that never got written. I would have given the directions back then but now I'll just show pictures and tell you a little background of the woman whose dessert recipe it is.

Michèle Morgan's Pineapple Caramel Ring dessert is from Mildred O. Knoph's Memoirs of A Cook. The cookbook author herself is worth a post someday.

She was married to movie producer Edwin H. Knopf. Even if you're not familiar with him, I bet you recognize his brother's name, Alfred A. Knopf, the publisher of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. 

When Mildred and her husband dined with Michèle Morgan in her Paris apartment on the Île de la Cité overlooking the River Seine, she served them this dessert after an elegant lunch.

Not familiar with Michèle Morgan? We might have known her as well as we do Ingrid Bergman if Warner Brothers had been willing to pay RKO Studio enough to release her to play opposite Humphrey Bogart in a little film called Casablanca.

Morgan was stunning, wasn't she?

  Her dessert was delicious but the instructions are long so I won't type it here. If you really want to make it just email me and I'll scan the page and send it to you.

I hope to follow this post in a few days with a few of the many October posts I had originally planned--the Autumn decorating that never happened won't be there--and in the meantime I'll be visiting my blog friends and admiring your own Autumn decor or various thoughts.

As I look out my windows now I see absolutely no pretty Autumn colors yet. Have the leaves turned yet where you live?

Happy rest of October, dear friends!