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1930's Farmer's Wife: Doris

The  Doris block can be found on page 90 of the  1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler  (page 188 for template instructions.)

The  Doris block can be found on page 90 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 188 for template instructions.)

Click here for the original Farmer's Wife Magazine, the letter written by Mother of Doris' Chum in Michigan can be found on page 10.

February 1933

February 1933 was a paramount moment in history for Germany and the world.  Adolf Hitler made concrete steps to assuring his political hold over Germany.  He passed bans on public communications (news papers and radio stations) that presented a threat to public order.  He secretly gave orders to high command in the German army and navy to begin conscription and rearmament, a direct violation of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles.  He ordered that police were to shoot enemies of the state on site, rather than make an arrest; and he authorized the organization and construction of the first concentration camps to house political enemies and dissenters.  

Finally on February 27, the Reichstag Fire allowed Hitler to rule via emergency orders.  Hitler then dismissed the German parliament and President Hindenburg, effectively leaving himself as dictator of Germany who ruled with the use of executive orders.  The cause of the fire was officially contributed Marinus Van dur Lubbe, a 25 year old Communist, who was executed in 1934.  But during several hearings at the Nuremburg Trials, Herman Goering admitted to starting the fires and framing Van dur Lubbe as a false flag operation designed to allow the Nazi party to take control of the German government.  The truth about the origin of the Reichstag Fire cannot truly be known, but I wouldn't be surprised either way.  German Communists had violently opposed the Democratic Socialists since the 1920's, so I wouldn't put it past them to commit arson.  But I also don't doubt that Hitler and his compatriots planned a coup, considering they had already attempted one in 1923.

In the United States, record cold temperatures caused people to shut down and stay at home, temperatures ranging through the -60's and -50's  froze the northern parts of the US.  I'm  from Wisconsin, and I know what -40 temperatures feel like, it's painful to go outside, I can't imagine what an additional -20 feels like.

Elsewhere in the US, the House of Representatives passed the 21st Amendment, by a margin of 289-121, which would repeal the 18th Amendment and the prohibition of the sale or creation of alcohol.  President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt survived an assassination attempt in Miami, Florida.  Giuseppe Zangara , an Italian immigrant attempted to shoot FDR, but instead shot 5 bystanders and killed Anton Cermak, mayor of Chicago.

Like Doris, FDR was also affected by infantile paralysis, although his case was rare because he did not contract it until the age of 39.  Infantile paralysis is a side effect of polio.  Sometimes children were able to grow out of this paralysis with physical therapy,  perhaps as many as a quarter of children infected with polio where able to recover.  I think that this is why I found Doris's poem so acute.  She had been permanently affected by a disease, by a simple fluke of infection that might have been prevented somehow; and she wasn't one of those lucky few who recovered.

Instead of being bitter or jealous or full of self pity, Doris was thankful.  She was thankful she had not been more severely paralyzed.  She was thankful that so many other people, complete strangers, had not been affected at all.  She continued with life, lived independently, and even went to college. (That's a big deal considering less than 600,000 women attended college in the US as the time, that's less than half of one percent of the American population!.)

I admire Doris, just like Mother of Doris' Chum did.  When life altering events happen around us and happen to us, remember that we can't live a life full of anger or self pity.  We can't demand that everyone change their lives in order to cater to us.  I'm not saying that it's wrong to feel those emotions or to rely on others at times, but I am saying that's no way to live your life indefinitely.  

The Block


The Doris block was simple and easy to piece.  Some of the pre-cut sizes I listed below are over sized to give you some wiggle room, just remember to trim your seam allowances as you go along to keep seams clean and uncluttered.

Also, the C1 piece is meant to be pieced on-point.




A1 (4) 2 1/2 x 2 1/2"         B1(4) 2 1/2 x 2 1/2"        C1 (1) 1 3/4 x 1 3/4"

A2 (4) 2 1/2 x 2 1/2"        B2 (8) 3 x 2                  C2 (2) 1 1/2 x 1 1/2"


Happy Quilting!

- Rita