Thursday, December 20, 2012

Boys In Home Ec Class?


When I went to school in the Fifties, I wanted in the worst way to take Home Ec class.  "Home Ec" was short for "Home Economics."  Because the time era was the Fifties, I couldn't take a "Home Ec" class because I was a boy.  However, I could take a Shop course, 
Actual picture from my high school shop class 1959


which I wasn't really all that excited about.  I WANTED TO LEARN HOW TO COOK!


Not my high school, couldn't find a picture - notice boys in this class!  YA!
So how did I learn how to cook?  I watched my Mother. Now Mom, as much as I loved her, wasn't what you would call a great cook.  In fact, she only had a few basic dishes which she prepared for my father who had simple tastes.  Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, string beans (cooked to death by the way), and homemade biscuits (which were delicious by the way).  She used to make something called "Chili" with stewed tomatoes and string beans.  It wasn't until I got away from home and in the Army that I discovered real Chili.  I could go on with all the new dishes I discovered once I broke loose from her apron stings.

But be that as it may, I wanted so bad to learn how to cook when I was going to school but boys just did not take GIRL'S CLASSES in the Fifties which was a shame.  At my 35th class reunion I talked about this with my first date Bonnie (Soph Hop), who was a lesbian (a fact which I didn't know for sure when we were in high school but she was big on girl's hockey).  She said she wanted to take Shop!

Now fast forward to the "enlightened" 21st century and one would think that today's school now recognize their diverse (and talented) student body and give boys and girls the options to choose what class they would like to attend.  I think the school now give that option.  At least I hope so, I don't know for sure.  But one would think that manufacturers would provide gender neutral toys for kids.  Sad to say, our market place is still lagging in recognizing the diversity of our culture.  I know that when I try to buy a pastel colored sweater, the only ones that are available in the soft pastel colors (purple, pink, robins egg blue) that I like ARE NOT AVAILABLE TO MEN.  Get with it L.L. Bean!

However, this morning I heard good news.  The toy maker Hasbro makes an Easy-Bake-Oven.  They make it in purple and pink.  Oh lovely.  Just what any young boy wants, a PINK OVEN!  A 13 year old New Jersey girl named McKenna Pope's 4-year old brother, Gavyn Boscio, wanted one of these ovens.  But, understandably, he didn't want a PINK oven.  She started an online petition at Change.org to make a gender-neutral oven and to include boys in their ads.  She got over 40,000 signatures!

VIOLA!  Hasbro got the message and will now produce their newest Easy-Bake Oven; one that is black, silver and blue.  OMG!  They got the message and will now produce Easy-Bake Ovens that appeal to BOTH girls and boys.

Hey folks, it's a start.

By the way, I did defy the odds in high school and took typing class.  Back in the Fifties boys DID NOT TAKE typing.  My Mother had to force me to take typing.  I wanted to learn how to type but was reluctant to be known as a boy in a GIRL'S CLASS.  She told me I didn't have a choice.  So I took typing.  Two years of typing.  Know what happened?  I got an award from the Underwood Typewriter Company in 1959 as THE BEST TYPIST IN THE CLASS OF 1959!

And folks, you have just seen a result of my typing ability with this blog that I typed myself. Thanks Mom!

19 comments:

  1. I LOVE YOU, RON!

    there are great male as well as female chefs. the 21st century should be all inclusive and not sexist. and why shouldn't women take shop classes? :)

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    1. Anne Marie,

      I loved the Fifties but they were very sexiest weren't they? By the way, I got a report that you called the hotel to make sure you had two double beds. Don't trust me eh?

      Ron

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    2. I DO trust you! however, on my e-mail confirmation from monica, it had 1 queen bed. so I wrote to monica and it was fixed. BTW, monica used to live in my current 'hood, like, 1/2 block up the street! small world, isn't it?

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    3. Anne Marie,

      Oh, I understand now. Last night I made a reservation for a father and son coming over the Christmas holidays. He called back to make sure the room he reserved had two double beds because the generic confirmation we send out doesn't say that. We would have to go in and manually put in "double beds" which is what I probably should do in the future when I send out a confirmation for a reserved room with the two beds. Sorry for the confusion!

      Ron

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  2. This post brought back a lot of memories. I definitely remember the days when boys wouldn't dare go near a "Home Ec" class. We were forced to take "manly" classes like auto shop.

    I was much younger than the other kids in my class. I was eleven years old in seventh grade, and was forced to take metal shop and wood shop. I'm fortunate to still have ten fingers left (I needed them for the piano!).

    I learned a lot about cooking from my Mom. Believe it or not, my Dad was also a good cook - - despite the fact that he was totally crazy.
    He had been a cook in the Navy.

    I took a typing class in the ninth grade. Me and a black guy named Kenny were the best typists in the class.I think my typing abililtes were good because I also played the piano. If nothing else, I had limber fingers.

    Sorry for the long comment!

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    1. Jon,

      Don't apologize for long comments, I love them all especially from you.

      Ron

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  3. A good typist and a good story teller. And you are a good cook too.

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    1. Nadege,

      Yep, I am a good cook. Always wanted to cook. Bill is always complaining that I make too much good food.

      Ron

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  4. P. S. : that little boy who opens his easy oven present is just adorable and it is so heart warming to listen to the father and the other kids laughing around him. Pure joy!

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    1. Nadege,

      I loved all that joy and happiness in that video. I had to watch it several times. Made me smile every time.

      Ron

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  5. Way back in 1976, back when boys couldn't take home ec (it's called Family and Consumer Science now, get a load of that crap!), my high school offered a one semester class called "Bachelor Cooking". I signed up, as I was trying to fill up the school day. The class was about half jocks and half nerds (I was one of the latter). It was taught by a grandmotherly old lady who'd been teaching girls how to cook and sew since woodstoves and bone needles with sinew. The first day, the jocks were whispering about "walking all over her". I guess for the first time in most of the latters' lives, we got all het up, and let them know in no uncertain terms that that wasn't going to happen. Apparently they believed us, because they were perfect gentlemen for the entire term! I got a B+, and a cookbook full of fairly simple recipes that I still use to this day.
    Peace <3
    Jay

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    Replies
    1. Jay,

      Very interesting. I wish I had the option to take a "Family and Consumer Service" class (give me a break). I also want to learn how to see. I taught myself. Still don't know how to use a sewing machine though. Live doing crewel work and counted cross stitch but don't have time for those activities today what with all my blogging. This is why my typing skills have come in so handy. Thank s for sharing your story.

      Ron

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  6. One of the public places I gardened was JFK High School here. About 15 years ago they organized their Culinary Arts Academy, emphasizing culinary business management, food preparation and presentation. By sheer coincidence, I'd show up around lunch time. Fully half the students were male. Times have indeed changed.

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    1. Geo,

      I think my whole life might have turned out differently had I took a cooking course in high school. I've always loved to cook. Ironically, I'm in a "girl's job" now, hotel front desk clerk, for which I have also received an award. I'm definitely not the telephone line repairman type.

      Ron

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  7. In eighth grade about 1956, the boys were required to take shop and the girls home ec, BUT for one month of the year the boys and girls switched classes. I learned to darn socks, which I have never done since because they would be too uncomfortable where the darn is. Also we made peanut brittle by melting sugar and adding peanuts -- that part I liked. We also learned to cook steak to various levels of doneness. I did like shop though and enjoyed working with wood (made a beautiful lamp), forging steel (long fork for cooking hot dogs over an open fire), and working in plexiglas.

    I also took typing (now called keyboarding) because I had a typewriter and I knew that I would be typing papers in college, and wanted to make it easier on myself. No other boys in my typing class, but my two best male friends (one is bi and the other is gay) also took typing, but in other classes.

    My mother was a fair cook and my grandmother was a great cook. But most of my cooking skills I have learned on my own. Some friends and relatives like to come to my house for my gourmet cooking.

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    1. David,

      I'm surprised that back in 1956 someone in authority actually had the courage to have the boys and girls switch classes for one month. I wish they had done that when I went to school.

      I know what you mean about typing. If a boy took typing at our school they were subject to ridicule and teasing for taking a "girl's class". But I always knew I could use my typing skills (like now). I would hate to be like my friend Lar who never took typing and now does all his typing with his two forefingers, pecking away like a madman, not using his other four fingers.

      I learned my cooking skills by standing near my Mother, watching and asking questions and then trying things out. I also like to iron. She pushed me into that too because I complained the way she ironed my shirts (I was 10 years old at the time). She said "If you don't like the way I iron them, you can do it yourself" and indeed I have been doing my own ironing for the past sixty years. I've often received compliments on my ironing, believe it or not. That's me, gay to the core. I still don't care for Broadway show tunes though.

      Ron

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    2. Ironing is something I have never liked or done. The only reason there is an iron in my garage is because I inherited it from my mother. If it is all cotton, I wear it wrinkled. All other garments are put on hangers when the dryer buzzer goes off while they are still warm!

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    3. David,

      It's funny but I do like to iron. I find it very relaxing. When I worked at the bank I used to iron my five dress shirts every Sunday night before the work week. I still like to iron. However, I hate to paint. HATE IT! I don't know why because both activities sound boring but for some reason I feel better about ironing than I do with getting the paint lines straight. All that bending and stooping, I just don't like painting walls or anything.

      Ron

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  8. Ron,

    Things have changed since we were in school. My daughters were required to take shop when they were in high school and my son was required to take Home Ec. My son also had a course for one year called Culinary Arts, I believe. It was co-ed and not only taught cooking, but how to run a restaurant. The kids even ran their own cafe in the school and everyone took a turn doing every kind of job associated with such a business from cooking to busing tables to purchasing the supplies.

    I know how to cook and have had to do it several times in my life out of necessity. I don't particularly enjoy cooking though.

    In tenth grade I did sign up for typing glass at NORCO High. It was a co-ed course; however, they were four typewriters short and I and three others were sent off to Art Class with the promise we would get into Typing Class the next semester. That never happened. We stayed in Art the full year.

    Lar

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