What to do when you are waiting to die

Your Rewarding Years coverYour Rewarding Years
Mrs. Clarence H. Hamilton

Holly and I have celebrated birthdays recently and I am sure this book will be such a comfort as we age into uselessness. (Full disclosure: Holly is 14 years younger than me and I am sure she would insist that I note this for the record.)

Mrs. Hamilton (Make sure you add the “Mrs”) has penned a wonderful book so all those retired housewives can look forward to doing things for other people now that the children are grown and as they wait for death. Mrs. Hamilton suggests volunteer babysitting and other “mother” type activities. She has also penned a special chapter for not being a burden when you live with your children.

Frankly, I want to be a burden to my children. They owe me.

Not aging gracefully,


Your Rewarding Years title page

Your Rewarding Years excerpt

Your Rewarding Years excerpt



  1. Scratching my head over the passage on p. 109 that says, “Let us hope that as grandmothers and grandfathers become more numerous….” ??? I can’t really figure how that would happen.

    1. Simpley Increase the number of childless young people who have children before their parents die. However, since this was written during the Baby Boom, it is a somewhat superfluous ambition.

  2. I don’t need this book. The way the world is going I probably won’t be living past my 50’s, anyway. 🙁

  3. “The grandmother’s headaches were interfering more and more with the life of the family….[The girls] were afraid to bring their friends home after school for fear of making too much noise. The telephone and doorbells were muffled, and the whole family was on edge…”
    I’ll bet the family gin supply was disappearing unusually rapidly, too.

  4. Well shoot, even the author’s name is depressing. Mrs. Clarence Hamilton? She doesn’t at least get her first name, even when she’s the author of her own book?

    I’m gonna go read one of Lurlene McDaniel’s books to cheer myself up. Or maybe something by Sylvia Plath.

    1. For formal purposes, a married woman was always referred to as Mrs + her husband’s name. Once widowed, she would revert to using Mrs + her own first name and married name.

      1. I know, but it doesn’t seem like it’s usually that way on the covers of books, even those from hundreds of years ago. Women, whether married or not, were credited on the book cover by their own first name and whatever their last name was at the time, and some women went with just initials before their surname to make them sound more masculine in a hopeful bid to increase their book sales. Yet this book is only 60 years old, and the author goes by Mrs. Hubbysfirstname Hubbyslastname even on there? I guess it just made me feel kind of sad. I know some women actually want to be called by that, but I feel like her husband probably made her go by that name; considering her discomforting teachings on not being a burden as an elderly parent, I wouldn’t be surprised if the poor girl was raised by her parents and also taught by her husband to not be “burdensome” as a wife too. It’s possible that I’m reading too much into it but it kind of irked my feminist sensibilities I guess. If I ever get married, I only want my husband’s last name–I don’t want his first name too!

        On the bright side, I, as a Christian but also as someone who tries to be tolerant of all beliefs, really appreciate Mrs. Hamilton’s advice to grandmas to not force their religion down their children and grandchildren’s throats. We need more reminders like that.

        1. Why would you want to take his last name? If you do that, it’s really not a much bigger step to accept the formal designation of Mrs. Hisfirstname Hislastname. That is what was socially correct and expected, back in the day. I think even after being widowed, you would continue to use that name. However, if you got divorced it was more complicated — way back in the day, you would not use his first name anymore but your own original last name. So you would be Mrs. Birthname Hislastname. Say, you were born Mary Smith and you married John Doe. While married, you would be Mrs. John Doe — divorced, Mrs. Smith Doe. People stopped doing that, however, and it became the custom to use your first name when divorced = Mrs. Mary Doe. So much simpler to just use your own name. I have never understood why a woman’s marital status needed to be part of her name — men don’t have to do that, so why should women?

  5. Actually, I’d really like this book! I collect old letter-writing manuals, etiquette books and the like, as well as early American religious fiction, and this would fit right in. And at least it’s not yet another, “So you’re old — why aren’t you still getting it on?” book.

    1. Really? Oh my gosh, me too! I have a deep fascination with old-fashioned books and etiquette guides from years and years ago–books like The New England Primer, How to Be A Lady by Harvey Newcomb, A Guide to Elegance by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux, etc. Then of course there’s legendary titles like Fascinating Womanhood I have yet to read, but hope to one day. I may have to get this book after all, at least as a historical curiosity.

  6. “The ideal grandmother helps little girls make doll dresses”.Drat! I should had learnt to sew when I was younger.

  7. So, what happened to June’s mother, the grandmother with headaches? Did she go back home or into a rest home or get a rewarding activity in her life?

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