Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Jessie Swain's Class Makes "Pink Luncheon" for Carrie Hardy

In April of 1910, Ypsi High School cooking class teacher Jessie Swain* helped her cooking class girls prepare a lunch for fellow teacher and Ypsilanti diarist Carrie Hardy, according to the April 14, 1910 Ypsilanti Daily-Press.

"Miss Jessie Swaine has divided her High school cooking class of eighteen into three groups, each of which will entertain at a luncheon two of the high school teachers."

"Wednesday at 3:45 the initial luncheon was given at the Woodruff school for Miss Hardy and Miss Benham by the Misses Addie Lanin, Teneriffe Thompkins, Clara Wenrick, Lena Ziegler, Goldie Thompson and Clara Sweitzer.

"The menu for this attractive and well-served "pink" luncheon was, first course, cream tomato soup; second, salmon cutlets escalloped potatoes, peas, biscuits, and coffee; third course, banana salad; fourth, baked pudding."

This pleasant occasion may have represented a counterpoint to what might have been, for Jessie, a somewhat lonely life. Neither she nor her sister Florence married. As they grew older, they lived with their mother in the Swain house. Florence is not listed in the 1930 census. Only Jessie, age 51 and no longer employed, is listed as living with 82-year-old Eliza.

In the 1900 census, 52-year-old English-born Eliza is listed as "Lizzie" and as widowed. 23-year-old Florence and 19-year-old Jessie are listed as having no occupations.

In the 1910 census, Eliza is 63. Florence is listed as 35, Jessie as 31, and both are teachers.

In the 1920 census, Eliza is 72 and Florence is 44 and a teacher, and Jessie is 41 and a teacher. All 3 women live in the Swain house at River and Forest.

In the 1930 census, Eliza is 82 and Jessie is 51 and listed as having no occupation; both women continue to live in the Swain house.

Eliza, her husband Frederick, and their two sons Frederic and John are listed in the Highland grave index; Florence and Jessie are not (I haven't been there yet to check their graves; often graves are not listed in the index).

*"Swain" is the way Jessie's name is spelled in the 1880, 1900, 1920 censuses, in the yearbook, and in the newspaper sub-headline. It is spelled "Swaine" in the 1910 and 1930 census, in the Highland grave index, and the body of the newspaper article.


Robert said...

I loved the article. Florence and Jessie are indeed buried in the family plot.

Dusty D said...

Thank you, Robert. And thank you for confirming that Florence and Jessie are there too. I will have to visit them; I see they are in block 100.

Fritz said...

The "banana salad" surprised me. I've seen oranges on the old grocery lists. But I never imagined bananas in 1910 Michigan.

Dusty D said...

Fritz: Good point, I wish I could just walk into a grocery of that time and just examine everything.

I had no idea what banana salad was, but I found a contemporaneous recipe for at least one iteration, in the Christopher House Guild cook book put out in 1912 by the Evanston Ill. Pres. Church:

"Cut bananas in 2 pieces lengthwise, put on lettuce leaf, cover with salad dressing and sprinkle thickly with chopped nuts. Serve with toasted cheese crackers."

No offense to our esteemed forefathers and -mothers, but I think I'll pass.

(whispers): blecch!