- Pansy, in Christian
My friend Muriel is the youngest daughter in a large family of busy people.
They are in moderate circumstances, and the original breadwinner has been
long gone; so in order to enjoy many of the comforts and a few of the
luxuries of life the young people have to be wage-earners. I am not sure
that they would enjoy life any better than they do now if such were not the
case, though there are doubtless times when they would like to be less
busy. Still, even this condition has its compensations.
"Other people do not know how lovely vacations are," was the way Esther
expressed it as she sat one day on the side porch, hands folded lightly in
her lap, and an air of delicious idleness about her entire person. It was
her week of absolute leisure, which she had earned by a season of hard
work. She is a public-school teacher, belonging to a section and grade
where they work their teachers fourteen hours of the twenty-four.
Alice is a music-teacher, and goes all day from house to house in town, and
from school to school, with her music-roll in hand. Ben, a young brother,
is studying medicine in a doctor's office, also in town, and serving the
doctor between times to pay for his opportunities. There are two others, an
older brother just started in business for himself, and a sister in a
training-school for nurses.
So it was that this large family scattered each morning to their duties in
the city ten miles away, and gathered at night, like chickens, to the home
nest, which was mothered by the dearest little woman, who gave much of her
time and strength to the preparation of favorite dishes with which to greet
the wage-earners as they gathered at night around the home table. It is a
very happy family, but it was not about any of them that I set out to tell
you. In truth, it was Muriel's apron that I wanted to talk about; but it
seemed necessary to describe the family in order to secure full
appreciation of the apron.
Muriel, I should tell you, is still a high-school girl, hoping to be
graduated next year, though at times a little anxious lest she may not
pass, and with ambitions to enter college as soon as possible.
The entire family have ambitions for Muriel, and I believe that she will
get to college in another year. But about her apron. I saw it first one
morning when I crossed the street to my neighbor's side door that opens
directly into the large living-room, and met Muriel in the doorway, as
pretty a picture as a fair-haired, bright-eyed girl of seventeen can make.
She was in what she called her uniform, a short dress made of dark print,
cut lower in the neck than a street dress. It had elbow sleeves, and a bit
of white braid stitched on their bands and around the square neck set off
the little costume charmingly.
Her apron was of strong dark-green denim, wide enough to cover her dress
completely; it had a bib waist held in place by shoulder straps; and the
garment fastened behind with a single button, making it adjustable in a
second. But its distinctive feature was a row of pockets?or rather several
rows of them?extending across the front breadth; they were of varying
sizes, and all bulged out as if well filled.
"What in the world?" I began, and stared at the pockets. Muriel's merry
laugh rang out.
"Haven't you seen my pockets before?" she asked. "They astonish you, of
course; everybody laughs at them; but I am proud of them; they are my own
invention. You see, we are such a busy family all day long, and so tired
when we get home at night, that we have a bad habit of dropping things just
where they happen to land, and leaving them. By the last of the week this
big living-room is a sight to behold. It used to take half my morning to
pick up the thousand and one things that did not belong here, and carry
them to their places. You do not know how many journeys I had to make,
because I was always overlooking something. So I invented this apron with a
pocket in it for every member of the family, and it works like a charm.
"Look at this big one with a B on it; that is for Ben, of course, and it is
always full. Ben is a great boy to leave his pencils, and his
handkerchiefs, and everything else about. Last night he even discarded his
necktie because it felt choky.
"This pocket is Esther's. She leaves her letters and her discarded
handkerchiefs, as well as her gloves. And Kate sheds hair ribbons and
hatpins wherever she goes. Just think how lovely it is to have a pocket for
each, and drop things in as fast as I find them. When I am all through
dusting, I have simply to travel once around the house and unpack my load.
I cannot tell you how much time and trouble and temper my invention has
"It is a bright idea," I said, "and I mean to pass it on. There are other
living-rooms and busy girls. Whose is that largest pocket, marked M?"
"Why, I made it for mother; but, do you know, I have found out just in this
very way that mothers do not leave things lying around. It is queer, isn't
it, when they have so many cares? It seems to be natural for mothers to
think about other people. So I made the M stand for 'miscellaneous,' and I
put into that pocket articles which will not classify, and that belong to
all of us. There are hosts of things for which no particular one seems to
be responsible. Is it not a pity that I did not think of pockets last
winter, when we all had special cares and were so dreadfully busy? It is
such a simple idea you would have supposed that any person would have
thought of it, but it took me two years. I just had to do it this spring,
because there simply was not time to run up- and down-stairs so much."
"You have proved once more the truth of the old proverb, 'Necessity is the
mother of invention,'" I said. "And, besides, you have given me a new idea.
I am going home to work it out. When it is finished, I will show it to
you." Then I went home, and made rows and rows of strong pockets to sew on
a folding screen I was making for my work-room.
Pansy, in Christian
Endeavor World. By permission of Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co.