Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Edna Kingsley Wallace

My high school class graduated in the days when a yearbook entry could say of a bright girl, "will sit on the boss's lap as a top notch secretary." Of some 55 girls in my class most declared their goal to be teaching, nursing, airline stewardess, secretary, or an "Mrs. degree." Only eight declared another goal, and two of those planned to be models, one an actress. Life's current ran swift and strong in the social channel for young women. Most went with the flow. In this context I offer the words of Edna Kingsley Wallace writing when even our parents were infants.

"A Woman, my good friend, is not only feminine, with the qualities proper to wifehood and motherhood and housekeeping, but since she has learned how to think she is also just as broadly human as men are after they have slammed the front door behind them." (15)

"I like the people I love to have some redeeming weaknesses. I couldn't possibly love in the grand manner at breakfast. Frankly, could you endure a woman who looked at you with heaven in her eyes over the muffins?"

"I think when man first added beauty to the things of use, he made the first prayer—he related himself to God." (26)

"Why is it, you man of the mist, who ought to know all about foggy things, that some women, so much more than others, have an inborn gift for externalizing their individualities in Things—of getting into their surroundings the especial flavour of their personalities. They emanate into Things. They shape and devise the material world to the needs of their won particular selves instead of putting up with ready-to-wear, -eat, and –use things." (95)

From Edna Kingsley Wallace, The Quest of the Dream, GP Putnams, NY 1913.

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