Vintage Advice: Suggestions for Better Living

Today’s Vintage Advice comes from a pamphlet.

I can't wait to live better, can you?!

Suggestions for Better Living
a publication of WTVB-FM, Coldwater Michigan, ~1952

When I spied this pamphlet on an antique store shelf, I felt a little tingle run down my thrifty spine. It has charming fonts and clip art that make the cover great for framing. A quick glance inside showed it offers interesting reading, too.

It’s an oddly organized collection and it’s not exactly clear what all these tips have to do with the radio station. There’s an insert with info about WTVB-FM, so I think the brochure was probably given to potential advertisers to demonstrate the station’s target audience. It’s funny to think about how important the radio was to families at that point in time.

Here’s the table of contents:

A Few Thoughts on Thrift

And here are my guesses about what the more intriguingly titled sections contain…

Helpful Hints for You and Hubby

I predict it will say things such as:

  • Don’t go to bed angry.
  • Privacy keeps the love fires burning.
  • The  person who kills the milk/jelly/lunch meat/etc. should be the one to fill it.

What the pamphlet actually said:

1….Before you use a screw, twist it in a piece of soap. The slippering filing in the threads assures an easier entry into the wood. (Hope says: Hmmm! Will try this one. Have scraped my knuckles with wayward screws more than a few times.)

2. Your gun sprayer can be used for a variety of purposes. Fill it with floor wax and use it on floors. Fill it with insect powder for use on plants. Just air alone will blow the dust from inaccessible corners. (Hope says: sounds like an episode of I Love Lucy)

3. Drop gloves, belt, scarf and ribbons into a pan of dye of your favorite shade. You will spruce up your ensemble with an entire matched set of accessories and do away with that tiresome shopping problem. (Hope says: As if! I’m lucky to wear socks that match each other.)

6. If the broom handle is loose just twist a piece of steel wool around the tip, screw it back and it will be secure forever and ever. (Hope says: there’s something charmingly romantic about that forever and ever, isn’t there?!)

7. Kiddies love this recipe. Buy some round cookies as large as you can get and a box of animal crackers. Ice the large cookies and while still moist, press the animals around the cake into the frosting. Be sure that they are standing upright. A peppermint stick as a center pole will complete the individual merry-go-rounds which will delight each child. Saves hot oven baking, too. (Hope says: hot oven baking is the worst [sarcasm]. Also: this sounds like a delicious, teeth-rotting after-school snack.)

Hope’s predictive abilities score for this round: 0

Garden Gossip

I predict:

  • Don’t believe Neighbor X when she says coffee grounds are the secret to her large tomatoes. Go straight for the Miracle Grow — everyone does.
  • Place saucers of beer around the garden to attract and drown slugs. Don’t worry if your cat or dog seems a little tipsy — at least they can’t drive.
  • If you find yourself with too many zucchini, slip them onto your neighbor’s porches under cover of night.
  • The carrots were spotted canoodling with the fennel last weekend. (Re-read the section heading…I couldn’t resist!)

Pamphlet says:

1. Try watering plants with water in which empty egg shells have been thoroughly soaked. This treatment will revive all greenery. (Hope: what will it do to tired teens who accidentally drink this concoction in the middle of the night?)

3. You can provide your living room with an unusual and decorative touch by planting a sweet potato in one pot and a carrot in another. (Hope: why stop there? How about a pineapple? Corpse flower?)

5. Plants are like people. A good washing perks up anyone. Wash gently the green leaves of your potted plant with cool water at least once a week and you will notice the difference. (Hope: do you recommend the washer wears a nurse’s uniform and/or sing to the plants, too?)

Hope’s predictive abilities score, garden round: 0

kid gloves? really?

Patter on Spots and Stains
(Note: don’t you love the word, “patter”? Don’t you wish it were used more often?)

Hope predicts:

  • Serve party guests clear drinks to avoid dark stains on carpet.
  • Tonic water removes red stains from carpet and fabric.
  • Use peanut butter to remove chewing gum from hair.
  • Cut lemons will remove nail polish stains from fingernails. Nothing will remove nail polish from any other surface. Surrender now.

Pamphlet says:

1. Try cleaning your brown kid gloves at home by dissolving yellow soap in milk and applying with a flannel cloth. After they have been permitted to dry in the open air you will be quite happy with the results. (Hope: won’t the gloves start to stink once they warm up on your hands?)

9. Soap tends to set a stain rather than remove it. Try to remove stains before washing with soap. (Hope: I will try this advice if I can figure out what to use instead of soap!)

10. If a thoughtless lady guest fails to remove lipstick before eating or washing, all you can do is to sponge the napkin or towel with a cleansing fluid and then wash in hot suds. If this doesn’t do the trick, try bleach. (Hope: Oh, those thoughtless lady guests! Oh, their poor hostesses!)

11. Oily dust cloths should be washed in plenty of hot, sudsy water and kept in an air-tight container. Carelessness may result in a disastrous fire. (Hope: sounds like I Love Lucy, part II)

13. Your husband’s pipe cleaners can be used to good advantage for cleaning between he tines of forks. (Hope: oh, good! Dirty fork tines plague me and I was looking for a way to productively fill my free time each afternoon.)

Hope’s predictive abilities score, round 3: 0

Well, it looks like my household hints ESP is very poor indeed. Heloise I am not. However, from this day forward, my fork tines will be spotless. And I’m sorry in advance if my kid gloves smell like sour milk.

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