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Mary Gray

1930's Farmer's Wife: Mary Gray

The Mary Gray block can be found on page 69 of the  1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler  (page 219 for template instructions.)

The Mary Gray block can be found on page 69 of the 1930's Farmer's Wife Sampler (page 219 for template instructions.)

Click here for the original Farmer's Wife Magazine, the letter written by Emansipated in Nebraska can be found on page 14.

July 1937

The first week of July 1937 witnessed a sudden escalation of international relations in China with the Marco Polo Bridge incident, a skirmish between Chinese and Japanese soldiers that sparked the Second Sino-Japanese War. Tensions between the Chinese and Japanese had been high since the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931. After the end of the First Sino-Japanese War certain agreements were made regarding military deployment and territorial control. By 1937 the Japanese army had deployed 15,000 soldiers around the port city of Wanping, a number well above the established agreement made in 1931. On July 7, shots rang out and withing hours both armies had reinforced themselves, and scattered fighting culminated into the first charge and official start of the Second Sino-Japanese War at 4:50 July 8, 1937.

The Second Sino-Japanese War lasted from July 1937 to September 1945 and ended with the Japanese capitulation to the United States at the end of World War II. The war was a result of Japanese imperial aspirations and resulted in an estimated 6,800,000 - 15,600,000 military deaths (Japanese and Chinese combined) and 17,000,000 - 22,000,000 Chinese civilian deaths. Today the war is still a point of contention between Japan and China that is reflected in trade relations and allegiances with other neighboring nations such as North Korea and Taiwan. Both countries have been pressured to make a show of amends with nation wide actions, China to deescalate its naval strength, Japan to rewrite high school text books and curriculum that glosses over the brutal nature of it’s military history.

News of war and atrocities in the far East were not unknown in the West, but Americans were unwilling to intervene in a conflict far away that had nothing to do with American interests. Particularly since most Americans still remembered those who had died fighting for European allies in World War 1. Prior to Pearl Harbor, most Americans were content to tend to their own problems, mainly national politics.

The Senate struck down Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Court Packing Plan," an attempt by the president to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court from 9 to 15, give justices the chance to retire at 70 with full pay, or if a justice did not retire by 70 the president would assign them an "assistant" who had full voting abilities and would sit on the bench for them.  Roosevelt argued the increased number of judges would make the court more efficient, his critics maintained he was attempting to bypass justices who had prevented several key parts of Roosevelt's New Deal Legislation on the grounds they (the Social Securities Act and National Labor Relations Act) granted unconstitutional powers to the executive branch.  The Senate disagreed with Roosevelt and failed the court-packing bill 70-22.

But amidst all of the upheaval and insecurity of the world, Americans still remembered to take time to appreciate the simple things in life. Laroka’s letter to the editor reminds us of the simple joys of outdoor seating. "God made outdoors, man made indoors."  What an interesting perspective on life by Laroka, I think her perspective is more acute today than ever before.  When was the last time you spent all day outdoors?  If you have kids, how much time do they spend in front of a screen? I admit I have been very guilty of this lately, but I do try to get all four of them out side at least once a day. So many children are raised by their tablets and TV’s there’s even a new category of autism attributed to too much screen time, called Virtual Autism!

Many of the letters included in the 1930’s Farmer’s Wife at least reference children. Obviously the future generation was important to women in the 1930’s as they are important to women now. Let’s take more time to listen to Laroka and invest in our children over a meal while we watch the sun set.

The Block

The Mary Gray block is and easy block and doesn’t require anything from you other than strait stitching! Take a look at the picture below and line up your pre-cuts and paper templates to match the layout in the picture. Start with the little triangles on the top and bottom of the block (D) and build up the larger half square templates. That’s really all you need to know!



A (2) 4 1/2 x 4 1/2"

B (1) 1 1/2 x 1 1/2"

C (2) 4 x 1 1/2"

D (2) 2 1/2 x 2 1/2" cut into HST's

E (4) 3 3/4 x 1 1/2"

F (4) 3 x 1 1/4"


Happy Quilting!

  • Rita