Click here for the original Farmer's Wife Magazine, the letter written by Right-at-Home in North Dakota can be found on page 12.
1933 in general was a tumultuous year for Germany. This was the year that the Wiemar Republic came to an end and the establishment of the German Third Reich occurred. Rapid inflation and an unsteady economy was the hallmark of the Wiemar government, along with political violence between black-clad Communists and brown-shirted Nazi Socialists. High unemployment rates of WWI veterans only helped to sew the seeds of discord in a country trying desperately to recover from the First World War.
But not all changes were limited to the realm of politics. While many changes were political in form, they were more cultural in nature. The Third Reich began to issue laws that restricted the employment of married women. The fields of both study and employ as well as the hours worked were severely limited compared to what had been available to women the previous year. Hitler’s government placed great emphasis on the importance of women begetting and raising the next generation as part of the government’s Blood and Soil policy.
Women were also starting to experience the beginnings of the Reich’s eugenics program, inspired by the works of Margaret Sanger. Individuals with hereditary and non-hereditary birth defects were sterilized. In many cases a woman was deemed to have no physical defects, but rather moral defects that were prohibited by the government. Things such as prostitution, addiction or alcoholism, alleged promiscuity, and “repeated rebelliousness” were considered moral defects that resulted in mandatory sterilization. Women were first invited to present themselves voluntarily for the procedure, but eventually many were arrested by gestapo and forced to undergo sterilization.
While ominous and oppressive clouds formed over Germany, life continued on as normal in the United States. President Franklin D. Roosevelt enraged international players in the wold market by refusing to return the dollar to the gold standard, which would have depleted the US of her gold reserves and inflated prices in exchanges for maybe stabilizing foreign currencies. Roosevelt noted a duty and responsibility to protect American interests, as well as other countries deficit spending as his main reasons for remaining on the silver standard.
While the president was protecting the American economy on an international front, the Congress was making it’s own economic decisions as well. The first minimum wage law was passed, setting a national minimum wage of ¢33. Historians account this well intended piece of legislation as a significant factor in increasing the duration of the Great Depression. Mandatory minimum wages laws resulted in many more men being laid off because their employers could or would not pay the increased overhead.
Something about Right-at-Home’s letter to the editor speaks to where I am in life at the moment. I grew up in a small town and longed for that big city life, adventure in the great wide some where. But now that the kids are growing up, all I can dream about is country living complete with splashing in creeks and dirty bare feet at the end of the day. I have found city living to be crowded, stressful and expensive. Waiting on moving is a test of patience, but I’m looking forward to finding what Right-at-Home found: that life doubled back and was waiting for her at the very place she had run from.
There are lots and lots and lots of tiny pieces in this block so prepare accordingly! Color that template ahead of time and always double check the placement of your fabric pieces before you stitch any seams. And, as always, be mindful of how you press your seams. This block has lots of seams and can easily become gnarly and thick.
A (1) 1 3/4 x 1 3/4"
B (4) 3 x 1 1/2"
C (4) 1 3/4 x 1 3/4", cut into HST's
D (2) 2 x 2", cut into HST's
E (8) 2 1/4 c 2 1/4", cut into HST's
F (16) 1 x 1"
G (4) 1 1/4 x 1 1/4"