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Friday, August 23, 2013

This is a picture of a small boy, sitting in an old-fashioned chair with an antimacassar on the back of the chair behind his head.  I've known for years that these doily-type-things are called antimacassars, but do you know WHY?  Apparently, back in those days when men put oil on their hair to impress the ladies, said ladies did not totally appreciate the residue their oily hairdos left on their furniture, so they crocheted or knitted special doilies to protect the chair.  The oil the men used?  Macassar Oil.......  


Syllabification: (Ma·cas·sar)
Pronunciation: /məˈkasər/


  • 1 (also Macassar oil) a kind of oil formerly used, especially by men, to make one’s hair shine and lie flat.


mid 17th century: earlier form of Makassar. The oil was originally represented as consisting of ingredients from Makassar

So, then, of course the doily would be an anti-macassar............

'Nuf of that.  Today I canned sauerkraut and am finishing up canning green beans.  I took pictures, but will post that tomorrow.  For today I want to read my favorite James Whitcomb Riley poem....

How It Happened

I got to thinkin' of her--both her parents dead and gone--
And all her sisters married off, and none but her and John
A-livin' all alone there in that lonesome sort o' way,
And him a blame old bachelor, confirmder ev'ry day!
I'd knowed 'em all from childern, and their daddy from the time
He settled in the neighborhood, and had n't ary a dime
Er dollar, when he married, far to start housekeepin' on!--
So I got to thinkin' of her--both her parents dead and gone!

I got to thinkin' of her; and a-wundern what she done
That all her sisters kep' a gittin' married, one by one,
And her without no chances--and the best girl of the pack--
An old maid, with her hands, you might say, tied behind her back!
And Mother, too, afore she died, she ust to jes' take on,
When none of 'em was left, you know, but Evaline and John,
And jes' declare to goodness 'at the young men must be bline
To not see what a wife they 'd git if they got Evaline!

I got to thinkin' of her; in my great affliction she
Was sich a comfert to us, and so kind and neighberly,--
She 'd come, and leave her housework, far to be'p out little Jane,
And talk of _her own_ mother 'at she 'd never see again--
Maybe sometimes cry together--though, far the most part she
Would have the child so riconciled and happy-like 'at we
Felt lonesomer 'n ever when she 'd put her bonnet on
And say she 'd railly haf to be a-gittin' back to John!

I got to thinkin' of her, as I say,--and more and more
I'd think of her dependence, and the burdens 'at she bore,--
Her parents both a-bein' dead, and all her sisters gone
And married off, and her a-livin' there alone with John--
You might say jes' a-toilin' and a-slavin' out her life
Far a man 'at hadn't pride enough to git hisse'f a wife--
'Less some one married _Evaline_, and packed her off some day!--
So I got to thinkin' of her--and it happened thataway.
James Whitcomb Riley 

I LOVE James Whitcomb Riley.  Many of his poems were written 'in the vernacular'.


adjective \və(r)-ˈna-kyə-lər\

Definition of VERNACULAR

a : using a language or dialect native to a region or country rather than a literary, cultured, or foreign language 
Now I'm canning green beans.  My kitchen counters are full of jars, Wecks, canners & bowls.  The sauerkraut crocks are cleaned and put aside to go back in storage until next kraut-making season.  If I were sensible, I'd go directly to my recliner and put my feet up, but I think I'll work on some primitives for Ebay instead!  Hey, at least I can sew sitting down!!!  (Don't worry, a daughter is watching the pressure canners of green beans, so there will be no loud explosions.......)   Off I go!


  1. I knew about antimacassars, but then I'm a lot older than you. The one in your picture looks just like one we have in our cedar chest along with lots of others made by Mrs. RWP's mother.

    I like James Whitcomb Riley too, especially "The Gobbelins'll Getcha Ef You Don't Watch Out!" and "Little Orphant Annie"....

    1. While we worked at the Fair, we saw many beautiful crocheted items, knitted things and even a handful of tatted pieces. The Fair calls our building the Living Arts. We sadly refer to it as the Lost Arts. Not many people today care about the old ways. Just try to picture a huge group of today's teens at a quilting bee or all learning to tat....
      I read Little Orphant Annie again - I LOVE that one!

  2. How interesting about the name given to the lovies for the mens heads. I knew it was for their greasy heads but not how the name came about. I DO learn something every day.
    Oh, I look forward to the sauerkraut canning pictures!

    1. I'll post sauerkraut pics either tonight or tomorrow. Today Mr D & I are off to play! Cowlitz Prairie Threshing Bee? or maybe Garlic Fest & the Gun Show!