Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Odd Things That Turn Up in My House

My youngest son handed me this scrap of paper, asking what it was.


Around your waist a measuring line please place,
But not too tightly, 
 t is not well to wear tight bands and we 
  nt this to be done rightly.
   r each inch a cent please place 
  thin the apron pocket, 
 t will bring a smile upon your face 
To wrench it from its socket.
But, if your pocket book is flat  
Put in less than  that. 

Creepy and a little unsettling isn't it? At least out of context and with no idea where your child got it from. It starts out oddly but more or less innocent sounding -- then there's that whole "wrench it from its socket" thing.

I wanted to know what this weird bit of verse was. Teenage Daughter and I both thought it was some kind of sewing instructions, except for the wrenching part.  I did a Google search, halfway expecting to find that this came from one of those books that my boys love with all of the weird little pockets and removable clues that are made to look old.

There's a slightly different version of the poem in an online history of St. Luke's Episcopal Church of Wamego, Kansas. It was distributed along with little cloth aprons as part of a guild fundraiser in the 1930s.

I don't know if this little bit of paper worked its way out of one of the broken drawers of my treadle sewing machine or fell out from between the pages of an old cookbook. Maybe it came from the same place as that antique needle case that materialized last year.  I could go through that sewing machine cabinet to see what else might be hiding in there....or I could wait to see whatever other bit of neat ephemera pops up when I'm least expecting it.

That sounds more fun.

2 comments:

Granny Anne Brown said...

Around your waist a measuring line please place,
But not too tightly,
I t is not well to wear tight bands and we
Want this to be done rightly.
For each inch a cent please place
Within the apron pocket,
It will bring a smile upon your face
To wrench it from its socket.
But, if your pocket book is flat
Put in less than that.
It looks like a cute poem for making an apron if I have filled it out right.
krbassoc57 at gmail.com

cq4fun said...

It sounds like one is supposed to measure one's waist and put in a penny for each inch - the apron pocket was probably some kind of tithing envelope made by ladies of the church to resemble an apron. I expect 'wrench it from its socket' referred to taking the pennies out of wherever one kept them, and smiling to be able to contribute to the church. If this was indeed from the 1930s, then it was depression times and to be able to contribute pennies to church would make you smile - especially after reading that the church went through a time of not even having services because they couldn't keep a preacher there. But if you don't have much, give less - the widow's mite. That's my interpretation. It's fascinating that this turned up, and I suspect you could be right about it falling out of your treasured antique acquisition. Fun to wait and see what else turns up!

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