At work we got a couple of Boys Own Paper to work on.
If you click on the images, it'll take you to the Flickr page and if you click on "All sizes" you should be able to read the contents. I'm pretty envious of all the stuff readers of Boys Own Paper get to learn. Useful Fowls for Eggs or Meat? Who doesn't need to know that? And look at these ads:
Why pay a high price when you can just build your own steam engine, indeed?
I was pretty lucky, I guess, in that my parents were fairly hands-on and taught me to do lots of crafty things as a kid, but even so I feel sort of underprepared for many situations. I'm really struck by how these magazines, as silly and gender-specific and occasionally offensive as they may be, are so useful. Kids reading this were learning about animals and survival skills and the toys they could order were real tools!
I don't have kids so I can't really say how this compares to kids' toys and publications now, but I'm going to go ahead and guess you can't just buy a kid a mitre cutting machine. My point is not really to rail about KIDS THESE DAYS; more to say that, I feel like no one knows how to do anything, that so few people know real life skills, and if the grocery and the car dealership disappeared tomorrow, I know a lot of people that would be screwed. Including myself, probably. We could probably stand to learn a little bit about useful fowls and building steam engines. Once upon a time it was vital for people to have this kind of knowledge, but not now.
I guess now we teach kids about computers, which is of course good -- I am not one of those that advocates a return to a Simpler Time, but the basics of life don't change. It's important to know how to grow a tomato and sew a button. I think a lot about the fact that by neglecting all of this important "simpler" information, we're really doing ourselves a disservice.
Of course, I'm preaching to the converted here. I know that all 8 of you reading my blog are fantastically talented and self-sufficient people. I take deep comfort in the fact that we can call on each other when society inevitably collapses!
On a lighter note, I started backing my own cloth for bookcloth and I'm selling some on Etsy, if you like garish patterns. Make some books before you can't order online and have to spin and wax your own thread!
Obviously, now I'm kidding. Mostly.