March 28, 2013

Janice Lynch Schuster’s March 24 Local Opinions essay, “Mrs. Patmore and me,” caught my attention when she opened with “I am old enough to have attended something called junior high school, a place that no longer exists.” Ms. Lynch Schuster went on to lament that “back in the day, girls were expected to take a course called home economics, while boys studied industrial arts.” Her mother had kept her out of home ec.

I attended junior high school in the Bronx, and in my school both boys and girls were required to take a course in home economics. The school contained a facsimile apartment with a small bathroom, which we learned to scrub, a small bedroom, where we learned how to tuck in the bedsheets with hospital corners, and a large kitchen, like a laboratory with multiple sinks and ranges, where we learned to prepare such staples as sunny-side-up eggs and cinnamon toast. And this was in pre-feminist 1948.

Now I hate scrubbing bathrooms and I grudgingly make my own bed, but I still enjoy cooking meals (cleaning up afterward, not so much). I congratulate Ms. Lynch Schuster on her leap into the culinary ranks.

Lawrence D. Powers, Falls Church