Welcome to Class
I sit on the porch of our 1929 Colonial, surveying the neighborhood around me. I narrow my eyes and frown sideways; little remains of the genteel society that once inhabited our small town. What's survived is mostly architectural, all but gone are the refined behaviors and courtesy based relationships of years past. Were we better off fifty to seventy-five years ago? Decidedly not! Who could say yes, with a straight face? But if ever there was an instance of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, surely society's current behavior code is it.
I am well aware that beyond our brick paved street, other communities large and small are suffering from this same loss. Common etiquette has all but eroded away, and I cannot help but mourn the passing and ponder the aspects which ought to be saved.
My home, a rescue we purchased six years ago for a song, was built for a different time. With servant quarters in the back, and subsequently a kitchen built for service as opposed to family, many of her features are outmoded and needed a gentle push into the current century. But oh! the character, warmth, and timeless grace she possessed. Certainly she was worth the tedious hours we put into salvaging her. Might it also be so with classic femininity? Can we not usher out the affected and ostentatious mannerisms of the past, the submission for submission's sake, while reviving the characteristics worth salvaging? Of course we can, and I submit that we should.
My daughter's pink cheeks bring my attention back to the present. She has been kicking a large, purple ball around our yard and needs a drink. The screen door swings shut behind her. What measure of femininity and grace will I be able to pass onto her? I vow to make a study of it, internalize the lessons for myself, and pass on what I may. The Decorum Diaries are born.
Welcome to Charm School, ladies, class is in session.