Dick and Jane’s Mother
By Liz Jantz
I feel reluctant to listen to my first grader read about Dick and Jane. The stories are tiresome but it is the pictures that have bothered me – especially the pictures of their mother.
There she is kneeling in the garden, in her print dress, sun hat and gardening gloves. The next page would show her standing at the kitchen sink in a ruffled apron. Her hair was in neat waves and she wore black pumps on her feet. I would see her at her sewing machine, shopping or out for a walk. What a lovely picture she made!
I envied her collected existence, her ladylike appearance. In many ways, her life was remarkably like mine. She had a husband expecting supper at six. There were Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot and Puff. She had a home to manage. Why didn’t I feel like she looked? She was always so appropriate.
As my child read, “Look! Look!” I would look and wonder. What did she want to teach me? Get up early. Think about your day and dress accordingly. Comb your hair. Put on some nice shoes. They will make you look ladylike and help you act that way, too. But my feet hurt at the thought of wearing heels all day and it was easier to dismiss it with a sigh. I’m so busy. Does anyone care much about being ladylike these days?
But I could not dismiss this woman so easily. Styles may change but values stay the same throughout the ages. She makes homemaking into a profession. I would try to be more professional. It’s only laziness that allows me to go around in a wrinkled dress and scuffed shoes. Clothes like that may have a place somewhere but not at the kitchen sink or on a trip to the grocery store. I could clean my shoes and iron my dress. Then I will be ready for whatever the day brings.
Yet, her attraction was more than nice clothes. She seems to remind me, “Take some time to keep a quiet place in your heart.” Calm hearts and proper clothes compliment each other. Though I may never be exactly like her, I am thankful for her reminders to dress neatly, have a serene outlook and stand straight in whatever shoes I’m wearing.
A special thanks to Liz Jantz for sharing this Article with The Village! If you would like to share an article/story/poem for the SignBoard, click here to find out how!