When my husband and I were still dating, we spent one summer day travelling around Northern Michigan enjoying the beautiful scenery and the abundance of yard sales along the lakeshore. We made lots of memories but made only one purchase. An old hardback, first published in 1926, titled ETIQUETTE, Jr. (by: Mary Elizabeth Clark & Margery Closey Quigley), was the solitary acquisition. We read parts of it aloud as we drove along… and laughed heartily at different portions of this manuscript for the prepubescent.
I pulled that treasure off the shelf the other day and thought I’d share some of the wisdom housed within the musty pages. (Okay, quick question. How does one’s view of a book go from ‘hilarious’ to ‘wise’ in a matter of a 14 years? Oh… having kids of my own to teach this to??? Okay. I get it.) Here it is:
** Unpardonable performances that stamp one as unclean are: Blowing one’s nose without a handkerchief or tissue. Wearing soiled underclothing and stockings. Picking one’s nose. Odors of perspiration. Dirty teeth.
**Actions that seem slight and harmless to the persons who perpetrate them, but which offend the beholder, are: Spitting. Coughing without covering the mouth. Walking in front of people. Walking on the streets in a bathing suit without a covering.
As the book details in its close, “…the most diligent follower of the rules is not a pleasant companion if he meets his obligations with resentment and contempt. Good manners presume good will, and as you’ve guessed, the underlying principle of all the do’s and don’ts in this chapter and throughout the book is sincere consideration for others.”
So that about sums it up. The lesson to teach this summer break: beware of yard sale purchases. Kidding! Rather, the theme of the season is sincere consideration for others. Sounds like the Golden Rule, doesn’t it? You just saved yourself about 25 cents! (Thanks, Yard Sale lady.)