Sunday, February 19, 2017

Visitation: Video

At the Cottage Door by Henry Margetson (1861-1940)

Hello Ladies,

As I do not write or memorize or even edit my videos, please do not expect them to be professional. I figure if you were here at a class, I would not be precise or perfect in my presentation anyway. 

I have started Housewife Radio today but have not made a program yet. I will put a notification on a post if you want to tune in, and will indicate the date and time. At that time I will arrange to have ladies I know call in to discuss a chosen topic.

My subject today is "Visitation," because I have talked to several ladies who say that is one part of home-life that is really missing. I suppose the rushing about to do errands and business and essential shopping has cut in to the time that might have been used for leisurely, non-stressed visiting.

My parents visited people, not because my parents were all stressed out, lonely, or had problems, but because they knew it was good for the other person to be visited. Now that may sound awfully strange to young women today, and I can understand, because they may have never observed a visit. Gone are the days when people stopped by for pie or to just see you. 

It was not a case of feeling such a sense of importance that they thought other people would be overjoyed to see them, but it was a way of giving the other people a sense of well-being and a certain kind of grounding or feeling of being human. It showed them they were not slone nor would they be left alone or forgotten.

 I know the experience of long, dark winters, and as a child, longing to go visit someone. It was our way of getting away from our own concerns, too, and investing in the lives of others who may need us.

 We never tried to be imposing and we always were alert to the fact that the people we visited may have other plans, may already have visitors, were unable to see us, or were busy with something that needed attention.  Also, watching our parents interact in conversation help us figure out how to visit.

I was just thrilled the other day when someone phoned and asked if she could come and visit! But it began the day I sent her a note that said, "Please feel free to come visit any time."  In those days long ago, our parents could not give anyone a warning they would be visiting, but it did not matter because having people drop in was expected; it was part of life. 

 These days, you have to phone before a visit, because people are on the go all the time and you might not find them home if you make a cold call. Instead of letting people suffer by waiting for an invitation, I say, "Come by any time."  After that, it is their turn, and their decision. Now they can make the choice of a time to take me up on the offer. That way, in a sense, the Lord decides for me when to show hospitality.  I have not had much success with making invitations for a certain date, to have visitors. 

How does visiting differ from other forms of contact? Well I think if you would study all the things that go on during a visit, you will find that your eyesight, your mind, your hearing, and your feelings have an entirely different response. The day does not seem so overcast. You bring sunshine into someones life and gather all types of information from each other.

Jane Austen, whom so many ladies love to read, formed her novels by listening to conversations of visitors.  It is said she did not like to leave her home, but that she received visits and kept note of the words that were spoken, as well as the countenance of the visitors. There is so much more going on in visits that it is hard to analyze it all. A child sitting in the living room listening to the adults picks up on the "feeling" of the whole thing.

Of course I expect ladies will make visits worthwhile, discussing things that are good, pure, lovely, inspiring, sympathetic and encouraging.  They will hopefully refrain from criticism or vulgar talk, envy and other unpleasant things. The purpose of visiting is to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep and avoid making it an unpleasant experience for others.  In the old days you would not be welcomed if you had been impolite or made anyone uneasy. Politics, religion and matters of the heart can be discussed if the people you are visiting are like-minded and if it does not frighten little children.

I do not know if anyone here is familiar with The English Home magazine. Although I do not have a subscription to it, I sometimes linger at the magazine section in a bookstore just to check out the back page where a Mrs. Minerva has a column on polite behavior.  This month she wrote about the art of choosing fabric. She mentioned how her husband disliked the task so much that she found it difficult to concentrate on choosing the fabric, so she allowed Mr. M.  to not accompany her inside  the fabric store again.  I think she may have simply left him home to do something he was more interested in. 

Since I mentioned on the video that a visitor came yesterday, I cannot resist telling you how that turned out. 

 My husband came in to see a table set for two, for tea, with gleaming tea pots, real china cups and little gold teaspoons surrounding a pile of delicate sandwiches, some salads and all kinds of fruit delicacies. The tea was steaming out of the spout and I was eager to pour the first fragrant cup!  As we sipped we would be enjoying some very good comversation about everything in the world.

 Mr. S. greeted my friend and lingered awhile as he asked about her husband and how everyone was doing in her neck-of-the-woods.  He was especially concerned about Mrs. W.'s spiritual growth and they discussed things like worship and Christian values. 

At length, I decided to serve the tea before it lost any degree of heat. As I poured, he and my visitor began talking about the Sasquatch.  I am not going to explain what that is. You can look it up on the web. 

 They talked and talked about the things each of them had heard, and what friends of theirs had seen, and so forth.  I am not exaggerating when I say the more they drank tea, the more they kept up a lively conversation about the Sasquatch and the myth surrounding it. 

I was beginning to feel a little apprehensive about the time. Would I be able to talk about fabric with my friend? Would there be time for her to show me her patterns she brought along, or talk about her family? Well, as it turned out, after the tea and sandwiches were good and gone, Mr. S. excused himself and went to his office. We did have a little time to ourselves, but we would have had a lot more fabric-talk time if the major part of her visit had not been used up on Sasquatch, whoever he or she is. 

 So, like Mrs. Minerva, I invited Mr. S. to make an appearance each time someone comes to tea, give the normal greetings and find out how their husbands are doing,  but then excuse himself to go back into his office and write a good sermon!  

 Of course ladies, please note I have said all this because it was so amusing, and this is tongue-in-cheek. I do not want to read all over the web that Mrs. Sherman was upset and kicked Mr. S. out of the tea party! You know how those false reporters are, and what a spin they put on everything.

  My family saw such humor in it all they suggested I buy the pastry called "bears claws" and invite people for a special Sasquatch Tea. I was telling a friend a church about this delightful visit but of course had to interject the Sasquatch conversation, and she said the same thing: at the next tea, serve cake with paw prints or tracks on it. 

find the recipe for bears claws

Mrs. W. I enjoyed your visit immensely, and this post was all in good fun! You can actually talk about anything you want, just so long as you sip tea with me again!


Jane said...

Wonderful video! And it was so timely for me. I just had a visit from a friend today that had lost her mother and had no other family. We had a good heart-to-heart but I'm ashamed of myself for not checking in on her more often. We used to visit quite a bit when I was a child, but when everyone started to get TV sets it ended. You'd stop in and people would be glued to their TV sets. My father said if he was going to spend the evening watching TV he'd rather do it in his own home where he could at least watch what he wanted. And that was the demise of visiting for our family.


Lydia said...

We noticed a change in visiting when tv came.

Gail said...

I watched your video and will read the entire post tomorrow. How important this topic of visiting is. I was just talking about this subject with my daughter. I told her that we often would visit my parent's friends or family on Sundays, and people would often drop in on us. It was a wonderful time and I always loved sitting and listening to the grown ups talk. We need to make an effort to restore this human, lovely custom again.

Anonymous said...

I would say that my generation, now, has been affected largely not by t.v. but by the internet. You can do what you want at night, watch movies, view articles, learn, shop, read and even do social visits online - therefore, eliminating the need to see each other in person. It is sad.
Thank you for this teaching video and post. I struggle with drops ins (being a mother to 7 and living in the country with lots of mud and dirt always around) - especially during homeschool hours as it is completely challenging to get things back on track once someone visits. I will attempt to be more courteous with drop ins and will try to encourage others to visit "whenever they can."

Mary said...

Dear Lydia, I chuckled at the description of Mr S and your friend's conversation. The same thing happened to me the other day. My friend (who is half my age) came over to "catch-up" and to tell me about the young man in her life whom she is serious about. My husband did the same thing, there was chat about all kinds of topics.....and I was dying to hear about my young friend's new beau! The visit turned out well. I need to start inviting once again. I use to invite someone for lunch or coffee each week as my husband was working. Now he is semi-retired and am trying to determine how to work this back in. Thank you for your post!

Nancy said...

I found it to be quite thought-provoking. I've come across the practice of visiting in 19th century homemaking books. Evidently, ladies arranged their housekeeping duties in the mornings to allow them to either go visiting or receive visitors in the afternoon hours. Ladies had their set day of the week to pay visits while the rest were made available to welcome them. This must have done so much to foster a strong sense of community among women, which would in turn promote healthier marriages since ladies were not expecting to find all of their social needs met in their husbands.

Lydia said...

Hi Lydia,
Just wanted to thank you for such a sweet day that you provided for me on Saturday. You always make me feel so welcomed. I was able to unwind after the trip and all my loneliness was relieved when I saw your pretty smile.
You are such a delight and such a generous and gracious hostess. You made me feel so special with the special touches you added- the tea table, the beautifully prepared foods, the decor of your home, even the way you dressed. Your love was lavished on me all afternoon and I so appreciate you. You are a blessing to me.
I thank Stanley for his concern for my spiritual well being. He is a true brother and I so appreciate him. I have looked over some of the materials he gave me.
Also thank him for the "lively" Sasquatch conversation. Hahaha, I'm still laughing about your recount of it in your blog post on Visitation.
Thank you again .

Lydia said...

Nancy, What you wrote comes very close to the visiting of old. It was not done because we were bored or idle or wanted to meddle. It was an affirmation of the other person's importance and a validation of their existance and its impact on life. There probably will not be any way to describe how it affected our lives unless we reenact it today. There are plenty of reenactment parties of pioneer days, Victorian tea, Regency costume, and other historical things, but I think visiting is more expedient.

One thing is important is not how well you are received but that you donit and leave the results to God. I live in the country, so visiting a neighbor means also taking a walk, and so I will be doing that today.

Home products like jams and bread or cake were common to take to people. The last time Janet visit d she brought her homemade Anzac cookies and rhey were perfect, loke the ones you get in Australia. a new dish towel is also noce to give.

Lydia said...

Mary, it is good to see I am not the only one this happens to. We assume our husbands are not interested in our tea parties and visits with ladies, but I attemded one at Janet's house (the lady who visited us) where all the husbands came, sat around the table, cheerfully used tea cups with saucers and had a wonderful time talkimg about old cars and road trips, highways--yes, that is quite a topic of conversation for men, amd the ladies enjoy it too.

Huskerbabe said...

I loved this! As a young wife having ladies from church stop by and visit with me is definitely one of my favorite memories from those years. I find it hard to find people to visit because everyone is working all day, older and younger women. But I think I'm going to rethink this and see what I can do. Thank you for the video.

Lollyg said...

You look just lovely in this video! Currently, I am recovering from foot and ankle surgery, and would dearly love to be visited. But, I am not sure how to host visitors in this state, since I can't even get up to offer a cup of tea. What are the expectations in this situation?
I am enjoying your videos tremendously! Thank you.

Jaclyn Juliette said...

The Sasquatch story really gave me a laugh! It reminds me of my dad.....don't even get him started during family gatherings about the latest TV program he watched about Sasquatch, treasure-hunting or UFOs! :-)

Lydia said...

Jaclyn...ditto to all that! All the men I know ltalk about those things, pro or con!

Lydia said...

Lollyg- maybe ypu could ask someone to help you and offer somthing in return

Lollyg said...

Thank you - I will ask one of my close friends. It is not easy to ask for help, so the last thing I think of doing.

living from glory to glory said...

Dearest Lydia, I am smiling...
I have missed the days of a proper old fashion, visit with a friend or the family. We are all really very lonely and we miss the slower days of just popping in and having a chat and a cup of tea or something cold to drink. You have such lovely teas and I just wish more ladies would continue these times of grace and a way to lift one's heart of burdens and just enjoy company and good conversation!
I just wish we lived closer I for one would come often!!
Always, Roxy

Lynn said...

I love a memory of a visit from relatives when we ourselves were on a visit to my Virginia aunt for several days, staying at her home. Another small group of relatives came to call on us as we would only be there, from the North, for another day to two. Would you believe they stayed only 1/2 an hour and then said their goodbyes. I never forgot me it was such a shock and so formal a thing to do...after we had not seen each other in years! But even so, it was a nice call/visit they made to see us and catch up on our lives...This occurred back in the 1950's...

Susan said...

As a little girl I learned the art of visiting. Our door was always open to neighbors and relatives and there was always extra snacks, drinks, or homemade baked goods. Everyone sat in the living room or kitchen and chatted about anything and everything. Sometimes we played board games or sat on the porch with lemonade if it was hot. Even the Avon lady and the paper delivery boy got treats.
My mother never had to scramble to prepare for this. It was just a part of everyday life.

She took me visiting with her when I was really small. I remember having a hard time sitting still and so I learned the art of good behavior in someone else's home. I also learned to be courteous and gracious. Usually we walked with a basket of fresh bread or cookies and if the person was not well it was always containers of chicken soup. We never expected treats when we visited someone but were delighted when it happened. We were almost always offered something to drink.
My mother was a seamstress and sometimes was returning the items she had mended, but usually the visit was just to chat and relax.

When I got older my church had a program for young people to visit those that could not get out to church. Every week we went in groups of two after church to visit the sick or lonely. It was up to me to bake the cookies or bread and make up a little basket of gifts. I still remember the delight of these people to be visited by young people. They loved getting caught up on the local news and finding out what was going on in church. We took them all the latest news bulletins and some books from our church library. Sometimes we were invited to stay for lunch and we did so gladly. We would also do little chores if the person needed help. I remember this as being one of the most rewarding things I did as a youth. It made me aware of the needs and loneliness of the elderly and sick.

Lydia I think this is a wonderful idea. It is hard to implement today but worth a try I think. The rewards are great and it is a great way to teach children communication, respect and courtesy. Thank you for this lovely video.

JES said...

I loved this and am glad you linked up with us! :) I grew up visiting and my family still does it today. I also notice you feel less imposing if you bring something to the house. Often we call and say "Can we come by tonight for a little visit? We will be bringing a freshly baked pie." or something like that. It seems to put people in the mood and when you arrive, there is usually a cheery cup of tea or coffee and some smiling faces awaiting. There is nothing like a flesh to flesh visit of fellowship. This brings a bond toward fellow man that is lacking in the world today. Though the topic is quite simple, it is very powerful for building a community. Thank you for sharing!

JES said...

Good morning! I just wanted to let you know that we have * FEATURED * this post today on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! Thank you for taking the time to share with us! :)

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post. I am blessed to have friends that when we visit each other it is a proper visit and we talk and talk and there is no cellphones or computers in the room to interrupt us. My dh and I had only 1 couple visit us ( apart from our daughter) in 8 months until we moved, after the death of our son, and they were non-Christians. I praise the Lord for the faithful friends we do have but still, we do most of the visiting to their homes and not vice versa. It is the way things are these days. I have a friend who lives a reasonable drive from us but we "visit" by writing each other letters every week or two and they are most appreciated.

Songsparrowgarden said...

How funny Lydia!!! This is hysterical. I sew with a few women once each month and one of the women is married to a minister. He comes with her, carries in her items and partakes of the delicacies the women bring to share, all the while saying 'God Bless You, God Bless you!! . . . ' After a while his wife says, okay, goodbye now. . go home, see you later. . and when he later comes to collect her he stops at the plate first.. for whatever is left, usually a lot. and a few more 'God Bless You'(s) are forthcoming. Its very funny. . and they're a nice couple.

I remember visiting growing up, and receiving visitors. . I miss that. . . even just having a cup of tea with friends . . and chatting. . I miss that too as I can't find anyone here who wants to do that. After working all week I'm tired on weekends and am running errands. . but I miss visits - - soothing quiet time with others in gentle conversation. . .Such a lovely topic you brought up and one that cannot be duplicated on devices or with 700 so-called friends on FB.

Bless your sweet heart Lydia. . . and Mr. S. also!! God Bless You :) I vote for having bear claws next time also. . .that is seriously too cute.

Amy B said...

I have always found it intriguing in the period films, that there were days and times set aside to make and receive “calls” from others. And ladies had calling cards to leave as a record of their visit. That would be nice today. I like things scheduled.

Mrs. S said...

Lydia, I recently started watching your videos and you are the cutest thing! I’m completely hooked. What an encouragement you are to me. This subject of visiting—wow, something you really have me pondering. I must implement this in my life. Tremendous thanks to you.