Emily Henderson

4-H, bringing it back.

So i’ve talked about 4-h in interviews and i’ve certainly blabbed about it person, but have i really blogged about it?  Have i done it digital justice?  Don’t think so.  So here’s the story:  there are 2 kinds of 4-h, the ‘sheep scramble-my-horse-has-very-large-nuts-don’t-i-make-beautiful-vegetable-dioramas’ kind of 4-h, and then there is the ‘lampshade-making-quilt-sewing-cooking-in-front-of -judges,-clothes-sewing-and-then-modeling-them’ kind of 4-h.  

I did the latter.  

In other words, there is the ‘agriculture’ 4-h and then there is the ‘home environment’ 4-h, and as much as i wish i had also done the former, we Starkes were committed to our ‘home environment’.  

We would sew together, quilt things, decopauge, dry fruit, learn the wonders of yeast and journal about all of the above.  When i was home recently i found my 4-h scrapbook, and i was all ‘hello, documentation of adulthood formation, i’ve been looking for you’.  It all makes sense.  its almost like our childhood informs our entire lives.  huh. how very enlightening.  

  Every summer we would make all these things (clothes, decorated cakes, lampshades, quilts, meatballs) to then be judged at at the county fair (often making it from start to finish in front of judges) and if we really played our cards right and worked our little pre-pubescent behinds off we would be ‘sent to state’ (yep, the state fair) to be judged in front of them.  I did sports, sure, but these kinds of activities have always been much more up my alley.  also the fact that i just wrote ‘i did sports’ tips you off that perhaps they weren’t my thing.

So here you are, 4-h scrapbook part 1:

The first one reads:

This blue ribbon was for the presentation on how to set a table.  I had three different settings:  1 was formal, 1 was casual and 1 was desert setting.  3 dollars.

and the 2nd one:

These were cookies. They were butterscotch cookies with frosting.  I got 3 dollars. 

Did you layer on those table styles, dear young Emily?  I think yes!  And I love how i documented the dollars that my parents rewarded me (note to all parents, bribery totally works.  I was paid 1 cent per minute of piano practice throughout my entire childhood and it totally kept me motivated, and pretty good at it.   i mean there were some days where i would practice an hour, just to make 60 cents….!!!) so we won $3 per blue ribbon, which constituted in about 30 hours of my labor.  In reality, of course, i was more motivated by the idea of making something pretty, but still i don’t think the $3 hurt.  

So here is one of my masterpieces:  i think i was 9 or 10.  and yes, i made this dress and frankly just might wear it again if I still had it. 

Uh huh.  blue ribbon?  i think so, my friends.  That collar didn’t sew itself.  and i’m well aware that i looked like a monkey.  ooh ooh ahh ahh.

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