Household Rhythm

Mark Blackwell
Submitted by Mark Blackwell December 11th, 2009
Certifikitsch Winner

This lovely little 60-page book by Jane Hoyt provides a wealth of handy household and personal tips via simple (yet often somewhat strange) rhyming verses. It’s about the size of a CD, leather bound with a wooden cover, and is copyright 1941 by the Yucca Products Company of Claremont California. These “Helpful Suggestions Easily Remembered” include advice on making sandwiches, pies, cakes, jellies, and meatloaf, peeling avocados, slicing onions, flouring chicken, keeping mold off of jarred pickles, darning socks, getting difficult stains out of various things, washing delicate items of clothing, stopping your doorbell from ringing too loudly, properly maintaining your front porch, protecting your fingernails, and removing wrinkles from your forehead. Who knew that you could “Sprinkle French chalk upon stale bread / To clean wall-paper stain, / Just rub the spots – renew the bread – / And walls are clean again.”…?

While most of the wisdom in the book is clearly directed at the lady of the house, the book inexplicably ends with a verse aimed at the husband, complete with a graphic of a man in a doghouse labeled “Fido”:

Your wife has sent you to the dog house,
It has a roof that leaks,
No use to sit in dampness with
Your hand propped to your cheek.

Take heavy sheets of paper brown,
And cover well the top,
Of good roof paint, two coatings add,
The leaking now will stop.

You then can sit there in comfort, or
At least for sev’ral years,
Until wifey has relented,
And begged you home in tears.

2 Responses to “Household Rhythm”

  1. Allee Willis

    Allee Willis

    This book is so tight it’s crazy. I thought for sure it was a new book because it looks like what current books look like that are trying to look retro. So I’m delighted that the copyright is 1941 and that it’s in such beautiful condition.

    The illustrations are fantastic, especially the talcum powder running after the salad dressing.

    Although books that are all rhymes (including poetry) drive me a little cuckoo, who can find fault with a book that offers advice on such timeless problems as keeping mold off of jarred pickles, stopping your doorbell from ringing too loudly and removing wrinkles from your forehead? I also love a book that designates pages for readers’ notes.

  2. Mark Blackwell

    Mark Blackwell

    i like that the place labeled “my home” on the little directions map seems to be on western, uncannily close to where “pink elephant liquor” is located…