Friday, August 22, 2014


I recently attended the celebration of the eighty-seventh birthday of a friend who is a retired math teacher. We were talking about the changes we have experienced as women in general and teachers in particular. I told her that my grandmother was not allowed to teach after her marriage. (see LIST OF RULES FOR TEACHERS IN 1914) She commented that although she herself was allowed to teach after marriage, when she became pregnant, she was told that she couldn't teach any longer.

She said that she had the last laugh because the Principal found out he couldn't find another math teacher to come to a small, rural, Ohio school and she even received a raise. She taught--uninterrupted--for 50 years, although she had two more pregnancies.

I said, "Being a math teacher was FIRE-PROOF!"

Another friend who is my age is also a retired teacher, and he sometimes works as a substitute teacher. He told me that because of absenteeism, sick leaves, and meetings of teachers, he could work every day if he so desired.

I was shocked. I said, "Teachers didn't miss work when we were kids; I can count on one hand the number of substitute teachers we had in 12 years."

One of our substitute teachers was the wife of a local prominent businessman; she had discontinued regular teaching after her marriage. She was referred to as "Old Hatchet Face" by many students; she wore ridiculous amounts of Pan-Cake make-up, rouge, and lipstick, but her clothes were beautiful with matching purses and shoes.

My brother said that her make-up tool was a trowel! (Kids were mean back then too) I know it was "Pan-Cake" brand because I once saw the compact in her purse because she would always re-apply her lipstick after lunch. Whenever I see an overly made-up woman, I always think of her, and I dislike seeing women applying make-up in public.

My mother had beautiful complexion; I often wondered what kind of skin "Old Hatchet Face" had under that matte mask.

"Pan-Cake" was a fiercely guarded registered trademark of Max Factor. See an advertisement from the 1940s featuring the beautiful Merle Oberon. Numerous stars such as Lana Turner, Rosalind Russell, Maureen O'Hara, Esther Williams, Ginger Rogers, and Judy Garland were used to advertise Pan-Cake make-up.

For no other reason than I love the song, listen here to Teach Your Children by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was so funny about the trowel! ML