Today, I’ve been Productive. Like, not messing around. I have gotten shit DONE.
I’ve written a bunch for some clients. I’ve vacuumed and changed beds. For the love of all that is holy, I even did some laundry. I am uh-MAY-zing!
I sometimes feel like taking care of the house is a full-time job. Miraculously enough, I found proof.
The 1940 census is online. You can look up any address and find its occupants … along with personal info like age, race, occupation, income, and place of birth. It’s pretty personal stuff, which is why the info is released 72 years after it’s collected. It’s a lifetime.
So, my house was built in 1938. And in 1940, Howard and Gladys lived here, along with their 8-year-old daughter, Shirley … and their live-in housekeeper, Effie.
That little bedroom upstairs was Effie’s room. She was a 50-year-old widow lady.
Now, God love Gladys. She worked for an insurance company and made almost as much as her husband! Lady made bank. I picture her like Rosalind Russell in “His Girl Friday,” all sharp suits and witty comebacks, holding her own in a man’s world.
But I hope she was nice to Effie.
Was 50 really old in 1940? I’m guessing that as a widow, Effie didn’t have a lot of options. She was born in a rural Missouri county, but she completed 2 years of college, which would have been crazy amazing in 1910.
I wonder if Effie stuck to the housekeeping schedule I learned from my grandma. Wash on Monday, grocery on Friday, clean in between.
I can’t find any record of Effie’s marriage or her death. Mostly, I hope that she was happy in this little stone house, that she and little Shirley took a shine to each other.
I’m thankful, too, to have a sanity check, and the kind-of imaginary friends. I’m sure Effie got sick of washing these floors, too.