Click here for the original Farmer's Wife Magazine, the letter written by Bookworm in Wisconsin can be found on page 8.
February 1934 was an interesting time in Europe. Politics between Austrian Socialists and the conservative Christian Home Guard had been pitched since the end of WWI, but had finally become violent in the early 1930's, finally culminating in a 4 day civil war between Feb. 12 and Feb. 16. The chancellor, Engelbert Dollfuss disbanned the National Council, effectively making himself dictator. He styled himself after Mussolini and the Estado Novo in Portugal.
Dollfuss also dissolved all opposition parties including the Democratic Socialists and the Nazi party (the National Democratic Socialists), who made up a combined 44% of Austria's voting population. This proved to be a disastrous mistake for Dollfuss, who was assassinated later that year by order of Adolf Hitler who was then able to annex Austria with the support of a considerable portion of the population.
Fortunately things in America were less volatile. Outside of a cab driver strike in New York City and a tragic train derailment in Pittsburgh, life in America remained relatively benign. The Great Depression was still in full swing although the unemployment rate had begun to fall and was now hovering just over 21%. Movie attendance was still high, with 60 million Americans visiting a cinema at least once a week. And Ladies in the country were saving their spare pennies to purchase new books, like Bookworm in Wisconsin.
I felt an immediate comeradery with Bookworm and her need to build a personal library. Once upon a time I was quite the book worm myself. But when I moved for college I donated about a third of my books, when I got married I donated another third, and when we moved to Denver I donated about half of what was left. My little collection now only takes up 3 book shelves and I find myself missing those books I got rid of.
I appreciate Bookworm's recognition that sometimes we just need an escape, even if it's only for an hour before bed. Whether your escape is a book or that new addictive TV show everyone is talking about, it's important to take some you-time to decompress and relax. I, for one, am a fan of hot baths behind locked bathroom doors where tiny humans can't find me!
I like the last two lines of poetry that Bookworm ended her letter with, so I looked them up. They come from the poem The Land of Story-books by Robert Louis Stevenson and I've added the poem below. I reminded me that we as a society in general don't read poetry any more, which is rather sad even if I'm guilty myself of not reading it.
I really like this block, but I can't figure out why some of my stitches are clearly visible at the seams, oh well. I guess I'll have to be more careful with my pressing next time.
Because all of the pre-cut sizes I listed below are either squares or rectangles, be sure to trim your seam allowances after you piece each seam. This will keep you seams clean and will prevent thick unseemly seams (see what I did there!) when you press your block.
A1 (4) 2 1/2 x 2" B1 (4) 3 1/4 x 3 1/4"
A2 (4) 3 x 1 3/4" B2 (4) 3 3/4 x 1 1/4"
B3 (4) 1 3/4 x 1 3/4"
B4 (8) 1 3/4 x 1 3/4"