In a lovely case of serendipity, I stumbled across Danielle Wood’s biography of Tasmanian Domestic Goddess Marjorie Bligh and found myself rather tickled by the coincidence of naming my darling posse of vintage housekeepers after a woman who surely set the standard for all of us!
If you aren’t familiar with Marjorie, she is a small town housewife who became a Tasmanian Superstar by being something of a creative powerhouse and excelling at all things domestic: a woman frequently rumored to have inspired Dame Edna Everage with her penchant for straight talking and extravagant taste in eye-wear…
Wood’s biography of Bligh presents her to us as something of a conundrum without I think ever really getting to the heart of the woman herself – perhaps because as Wood’s admits herself most of her story is cobbled together from Bligh’s extensive diaries and private journals are notoriously self-absorbed and do not always present us in the best light. The woman we get to some extent to know, is a cold fish: ambitious and fiercely passionate about her three marriages, while paying little heed to the children each of her relationships compromised. Her focus is always on the nurture of the marriage itself, and though her efforts are not rewarded in her first marriage which ends in spectacularly ugly, distressing fashion, thereafter Marjorie seeks out two kind men who both seem happy to exist in her shadow and allow her to forge a career built on dedication to house and home.
All of this is something of a shame: though we learn that Marjorie wrote long-standing columns, various books and eventually created an in house museum of her own domestic achievement, we never learn quite what the process was that got her there, to what degree her obsession with all things domestic shaped the atmosphere of each of her homes, or how engaged she was in the process of writing about all those things she clearly taught herself to be capable of because the focus remains firmly on the ups and downs of her relationships.
This bothered me hugely throughout the
All in all, despite what may seem like rather extensive criticism I thoroughly enjoyed Housewife Superstar, simply because it is my kind of
ABC of Happy Marriage by Marjorie Bligh…
Always. No refunds if not satisfied, so choose carefully.
Boredom. The arch enemy of marriage. Root it out at first signs of growth.
Children. Marriage was instituted for protection and procreation.
Domestic Duties. The most important work in the whole
Exercise. Physical—to keep you trim. Mental—to keep you interesting.
Food. Be imaginative, original and appreciative.
Gossip. Don’t gossip about your partner’s failings.
Honesty. Be honest with each other, but not brutal.
Intelligence. Allied with commonsense, it solves many problems.
Job. A helping hand or listening ear when necessary.
Kindness. Be kind to each other.
Love. To marry for less is to invite disaster.
Modesty. Something you can’t afford to lose.
Nagging. Never accomplishes anything. Try encouragement instead.
Others. To live in a cocoon of self-centredness is not wise.
Pride. Something you can’t afford to lose.
Quarrels. Always apologise first, even if you are right.
Religion. The tie that binds, the anchor that holds.
Sex. Sexual compatibility is essential to a happy union.
Trouble. Meet it together with courage and loyalty.
Understanding. When grounded in love it is never abused.
Vindictive. Check it by a check-up on your physical relationship.
Wedding Day. A beautiful memory, but only the beginning.
Xtravagance. Stimulating occasionally, but must not become a habit.
You. Retain your personality. Refuse to become just Mum or Dad.
Zzzzzzzz. Unfortunately, there’s no known cure for snoring.