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BEUSCHEL: 'Lived-in' decor should be added to home economics curriculum

• Feb 15, 2018 at 2:00 PM

My first job fresh out of college was as a vocational home economics teacher. This was a job I truly loved.

Being a vocational-focused class, my curriculum included a variety of different units: child development, marriage and family life, cooking, sewing, personal development, and home furnishings. Being the ADHD type that I am, I could be teaching six different units in one day and rotating through them every 6-8 weeks. That was heaven for me.

I had the pleasure of being on staff at Allendale Public Schools back in the day when it was a class D school. Home economics was offered by grade level and my students were seventh- to 12th-graders. Many of them I had for several years in a row. This was a dream job!

I enjoyed this job because I created my own curriculums, and one of my favorites was home furnishings. The unit included looking at different styles of furniture, doing floor plans of their bedrooms and decorating them, and senior year the students would design their own homes. Also based on the home’s square footage, they would figure out building costs, mortgages and utility expenses. This I had hoped would give them a taste of reality.

Fifty years later, I am reflecting back on all this and realize that there was one piece missing that can only come from living it, and that is the daily maintenance of a home. All those picture-perfect home interiors shown in magazines are from photo shoots. So now, in the wisdom of my years, I would add in a new style of home décor called “Lived In.”

The “Lived-in” décor would be recognized by the following characteristics:

Trinkets — things that clutter up counters and tables that haven’t found a place to be like twisties from bread loaves, burned-out candles, out-of-season decorations, brushes, unsorted mail, empty pill containers, and winter accessories like gloves, hats and scarves.

Papers — newspapers jumbled on a table not in sequential order, requiring rereading until the reader realizes that he/she has already read it.

Magazines — at least 6-12 months old stacked high in piles ready to slide off unto the floor until a benevolent person bags them for recycling.

Blankets — all sizes, colors and fabrics each being claimed by someone who lives in the home that are jumbled on chairs, sofas and floors ready to be put into service.

Dust — accumulating on, under and in all things in the home, and becoming most noticeable when an object is moved from its spot, to the chagrin of the mover.

Cobwebs — found high and low and in-between, usually spotted by a visiting relative or friend, and most challenging when out of reach of the long-handled Swiffer.

Dog Hair — unevenly distributed around the house and most noticeable while vacuuming when the carpet becomes shades lighter where vacuumed.

Smudged windows — finger prints, dog slobber and unknown source smears that become more evident on sunny days or before visits from friends or relatives.

Shoes jumbles — flip-flops, high-tops, deck shoes, boots; an equal-opportunity pile usually occurs just inside a doorway and allowing just enough room for the door to be opened.

Window screens — gathering debris throughout the seasons; however, not quite blocking the view; only to be noticed when realizing neighbors are washing their screens.

Well, I think you get the idea. There is a big gap between reality and staged reality. So it goes with life, also. But I’ll save that for another month.

I hope this put a smile on your face and brightened your day. We are on a downhill slide out of winter in Michigan, and that is also a happy thought. I try to bear that in mind as I reach for the shovel.

— By Janice R. Beuschel, Tribune community columnist

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