Thursday, August 13, 2009

She's Gone

She's gone. Ten years of taking care of her are over. Granddaddy is still around to take care of. I still have JR and the boys to take care of; which helps but it's just not the same without her. There's a void. I have too much time on my hands. I'm never good when I have too much time on my hands.

At the end I was spending hours upon hours helping her dress and undress, making her meals, then watching so she ate them, taking her to doctors appointments, and reading to her because she just couldn't see well enough and it was her one true passion.

I braced myself to start cleaning out her room. This is really hard. A lot of her life is neatly arranged in this room. Oh, I'd been in it many many times before but now it's empty. Now, it's just stuff. Now it's just her stuff and I'm almost afraid to go in there. Instead of taking out a nightgown out of the drawer for her to wear to bed I'll be packing up those nightgowns forever. It's really hard.

Hauling in boxes, packing tape, and a Sharpie I make my way in to her room. The boys are at school, JR is at work, and Granddaddy is at my house next door taking a nap. I've got a good 2 hours to make a dent in this chore.

First dresser drawer; socks, hose and underwear. This is doable. Nothing here I hadn't delved into before. Just pretend I'm moving her to another room.

Second dresser drawer; nighties, slips and such. I've been in this drawer also. No surprises here. Or were there? Buried deep in the drawer. Wrapped in a full slip hid this little blue book.

Why ever would she hide a book in the bottom of her drawer wrapped in a slip? Unless, of course, the book happened to be titled..........

Sane Sex Life & Sane Sex Living.

This stopped me in my tracks. This I had to read. This I had to show JR. Wait, maybe this was something he didn't want to know about his mother. Was it really hers to begin with?

The copyright on this book is 1919 with reprints in 1922 & 1937. His parents weren't married until 1940. Was this really his mother's book? Did it belong to his grandparents? Maybe, his grandmother passed it on to his mother when she got married? It could have been Granddaddy's book but I really doubted that. Mago's parents were much more well read and would have bought into this kind of thing then Granddaddy's farmer parents.

What and who were the Eugenics people? There was no internet to turn to for information so off to the library I went; dragging 2 elementary age boys and one geriatric man. Sending them off to their respective corners I start my digging.

It seems this group had a vested interest in sex or at least procreation. They believed that you could discourage negative traits and genetic abnormalities by discouraging reproduction between people who had bad traits or bad genes. Sound familiar?

Hitler was all over this shit. I'm pretty sure the Eugenics people didn't mean it to be used quite the way Hitler did but there you have it.

After finding out who the Eugenics people were I came to the conclusion that this book had to have been Mago's mother's book. the Progressive Era was just her cup of tea.

Whoever's book it was originally doesn't really matter at this stage but what does matter is that it give me an interesting look at my mother-in-law and her mother. It gives me an interesting look at how sex was viewed by this particular group at this particular time in American history.

And damn! It's one of the funniest reads I've ever had. I thought so then and I think so now. I did share this with JR years later when the pain of losing his mom wore off a little. We got a good laugh out of it.


PS: enlarge the pictures and read the table of contents and you tell me if this isn't the funniest thing you've read in awhile.


  1. No wonder she hid it! Those subjects are just not for the light of day. Ha! Boy would she have been shocked at today's world.


    By the are a great daughter-in-law!

  2. Oh, my!

    I'm going to be looking for a copy of this book, you know. Someone has got to have one somewhere.

  3. What a treasure to find amongst your MIL's stuff

  4. If you'll excuse me, I'm enjoying my two weeks of "free time" right now...

  5. Oh, I am so sorry about your loss.

    That book is a wonderful find. Who knew that people had sex way back when? And talked and wrote about it? Going back to read more. I've got a lot to learn. I believe you just performed a public service here.

  6. The first part of the post reminded me of my Gram and her passing. When we stayed at her house for the funeral, I dug through her room to find some keepsakes to remember her by (all of her kids were being assholes about touching anything in the house before "buying it" from the estate so I went into stealth mode). The second part, not so much.. I'm blushing and laughing at the same time. Was JR grossed out to know that his parents had sex? ;)

  7. Hehe, the part about keepin' yer mouth and armpits clean is priceless! Good advice, suitable for home or office use.

    Ditto what DayPhoto sez about being a great DIL!

  8. Oh my gosh, that is so funny and what a treasure to find it all hidden away like that. You were an amazing DIL.

  9. Everybody needs a few secrets.

  10. Hey sorry for your loss.

    Can you imagine what they would find when they clear out my room. GAWD!!!! The horror!! :)

  11. Michele, I think you need to take this book on to "Antiques Roadshow" and see what happens!

  12. That is fascinating. I was surprised when I learned that a lot of early 20th century tycoons were big into eugenics and "racial science". Like Kellogg, in particular. He had a big Eugenics conference in Battle Creek, MI. Made me look at Tony the Tiger in a different way!

  13. Sorry for your loss sweetie, but how wonderful to find something to make you laugh while you clean out? She was lucky to have you!