Good Things for Mother’s Day
Submitter: Yes, 1952 & it’s still on the shelves in 2012. My friend said that a senior librarian told her this hadn’t been weeded long ago because “there’s nothing to replace it.” Thank god there isn’t! From the Betty Crocker-esque checked cover and the graphic of the mother with a crown, high collar, and scepter…OMG. (Please see scans of front and back covers.)
Inside is much, much worse. Apparently, Miss Casey loved the idea of Mother’s Day “lively plays and dialogues, recitations, monologues, and exercises.” There’s a publisher’s note on costumes: “the publishers of this book do not handle the crepe paper suggested for the costumes described in various exercises and plays. It may, however, be obtained at the stores of practically all towns of ordinary size throughout the country.” Crepe paper? LOL
The “plays and exercises” themselves carry suggestions for what the cast should look like, and it’s 1950s sterotyping at its worst. There are several female parts that call for “Clessie/Eloise/etc., a plump girl with a pleasant face” (p. 170 is attached so you can see this example, plus the obvious ’50s classism- “good” Irish mothers, WASP mothers & their maids- OMG).
However, the scene that had me and the rest of the Systems department howling in laughter is p. 188 (also attached) – from “When Bunny Forgot”- a dialogue between Bunny (“a girl of eleven or twelve, is plump and pleasant-faced”) and Eloise (“who is about the same age, is slender and pretty and wears a becoming spring suit”): Bunny and Eloise get into a 1950s verbal catfight (look for the words “incapacitated” and “decapitated” in the first two paragraphs of dialogue on this page.
We went around all day yesterday using our best WASPy voices reading from Good Things for Mother’s Day. LOL It’s thankfully been withdrawn from the collection, but after regretfully throwing away a dreadful book of Leonard Nimoy’s 1970s poetry from the last time my friend and I weeded, we’re going to keep this one around for sheer horror and laughs.
Holly: Keep it at your reference desk as an example to patrons who ask why we weed.