"Homemaking" was a mandatory course for all girls when I was in high school. The walls came down a few years after my spin with sewing and cooking, and boys started to take a class called "Bachelor Living" and for some girls it was okay to take shop. I missed that wave and found myself in the full estrogen laced arena of Home Ec. I was so happy in the initial class that I went on for part two.
In that class we learned about jello molds, needlepoint, and the teacher introduced us to real cheese. I was enthralled to find that there was more than Cracker Barrell and American Singles. Brie, Camembert, and Port Salut where revelations. I also completely got into nutrition. This was back in the day when Adele Davis would turn up on The Merv Griffin Show, and her Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit found it's place on my shelf. It might have been a good idea for me to study a foriegn language in high school, but learning about all that cheese set me up for real success in French.
It was during this period that the teacher handed out applications for membership to the FHA or Future Homemakers of America. I didn't know much about it, but I signed up for it anyway. I carried my card at first with pride (not realizing the shoe box my thinking could be folding myself into) then with irony, and later I either lost it or it fell apart. Now it all just makes me curious.
The term "homemaking" is out of date now and could easily be confused with architecture. [Martha uses the word "homekeeping," which makes me think of housekeeping and house work] It makes me think about what does it take to "make" a home? What are the things that each of us in a family does to create a haven, a nest, something more than a place for our stuff? I believe that making and serving dinner is part of it, but my local diner does that too.
And here's an update: The FHA is now the much more politically correct and ambiguous FCCLA or The Family Career and Community Leaders of America, Inc. Among their purposes is "#3 to encourage democracy through cooperative action in the home and in the community." I can stand for that. Above that though is "to strengthen the function of family as the basic unit of society," which I can be down with depending on how you define family. Beyond the membership card though, I don't get it.