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Quiz about Family Roles in the Fifties
Quiz about Family Roles in the Fifties

Family Roles in the Fifties Trivia Quiz

When I was a child, my parents were quite comfortable dividing up domestic chores along gender-based lines that seem outmoded now. Can you identify which of them performed each of these household tasks?

A classification quiz by looney_tunes. Estimated time: 3 mins.
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3 mins
Classify Quiz
Quiz #
Feb 26 23
# Qns
Very Easy
Avg Score
10 / 10
Top 20% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 72 (10/10), Guest 124 (10/10), Jane57 (10/10).

Washing, drying, ironing and putting away the laundry Mowing and weeding Taking the rubbish out Dusting, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming Clearing the gutters Buying clothes for the children Picking up items left lying around the house Planning and cooking meals Repairing a leaky roof Shoveling snow from the driveway

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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Buying clothes for the children

Answer: Mother

With three children within a year in age, the regular excursions to keep us supplied with clothes that fit involved quite a bit of planning. They occurred in late August, to get us set up with school clothes; another Saturday in October or November made sure the winter wardrobe was ready; March saw the new spring clothes arrive; June didn't involve as much clothing, but the swim suits were an essential preparation for summer.

While Mom also organised the purchase of some of Dad's clothes, he always selected his ties and socks - mostly because he loved to make them a small outrageous statement while he wore the compulsory suit to his job as a teacher.
2. Planning and cooking meals

Answer: Mother

The fact that she was at home all day with the kids, while he was off teaching, made this a logical arrangement, especially on school days. To be fair, Dad loved to prepare pre-dinner snacks, which we children shared with him, keeping us occupied while Mom finished the dinner preparation. He also enthusiastically organised the charcoal grill to cook steaks and/or chops when they were on the menu. But while he did that, Mom prepared the rest of the meal.

The children contributed to meals by setting the table, and clearing the dishes, with the third one emptying the dishwasher in the morning. Those chores rotated weekly. And by the 60s, we were old enough to prepare our own lunches on weekends. But mostly, it was Mom who made sure the food was there for us to use.
3. Picking up items left lying around the house

Answer: Mother

Well, she took responsibility for making sure it was done, but as soon as we were old enough to carry stuff up the stairs to our rooms her role was more reminding us about the book left in the wrong place, the game that hadn't been put away in the cupboard, the sweater draped over the sofa back, etc.

When we were old enough to go to school, we often came home to find the forgotten items in a pile on the table at the foot of the stairs, where she placed them so she could do the housework. Dinner wasn't served until the table was clear.
4. Washing, drying, ironing and putting away the laundry

Answer: Mother

Washing and drying responsibility was pretty much constantly my mother's domain during the time I lived at home, but as the children grew up the putting away became a matter of sorting out who owned what, and placing the basket of our clothes on our bed. Woe betide the child who had failed to make their bed that morning - they were in for a conversation on the importance of everyone taking care of their personal space and belongings.

Ironing was a monumental task when we were very young, and it often took her several evenings of ironing, while the whole family watched television, to get the week's ironing done. The arrival of permanent-pressed clothing items was a memorable moment. I can still recall her announcing that she was reserving the iron to be used for pressing seams while she was sewing, and we would have to iron our own clothes if we insisted on buying something that needed to be ironed.
5. Dusting, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming

Answer: Mother

General interior household cleaning was definitely Mom's job, although when she started giving after-school ballet lessons and earning some money of her own, the first thing she did was organise a cleaner to come in once a week to take over this part of the work. Sweeping the floor in the kitchen and dining room each evening was another part of the chore roster shared by the children as we got old enough. And when we were teenagers we were allowed to take over responsibility for dusting and vacuuming in our bedrooms, as long as spot checks showed the job was being done thoroughly.
6. Mowing and weeding

Answer: Father

The yard, traditional domain of the male of the species, was definitely Dad's responsibility. Not only was the grass mowed, and dandelions removed, he planted and maintained the trees and shrubs that adorned the yard. Did I mention raking the leaves in the fall?

Of course, as was the case inside with Mom, responsibility did not always mean completing the physical labour. The children could earn money by gathering dandelions (a penny each, only paid if the roots were included) and, when we were older, mowing the lawn. Since the house we lived in had a yard of over an acre, Dad invested in a ride-on mower, and the kids eagerly battled for the opportunity to ride it and earn money at the same time! I temporarily lost my eligibility when I accidentally mowed down a small evergreen, ruining the symmetry of the planned adult trees. I had to complete the training course all over again before I could have another turn.
7. Repairing a leaky roof

Answer: Father

The asbestos shingles that formed the roof to our house sometimes slipped or cracked, making it necessary for someone to climb up there and repair or replace them. (It was much later that I realised asbestos was perhaps not the best thing to have on your roof; then it was what everyone's house in the neighbourhood looked like.) The efficacy of the repair was then tested by spraying water from the hose onto the roof, and checking that none came through. Needless to say, young volunteers for that part of the job were readily available.
8. Taking the rubbish out

Answer: Father

Well before the advent of wheely bins, that full 20-gallon garbage can was heavy, and Dad was the only one who could lift it and place it out for collection. The kids couldn't even move it out from the spot where it sat collecting rubbish all week in order to put the lid in place. We did, however, get to collect the empty bin.

When the steel cans were replaced by plastic ones, the handles cut into your fingers less, but a full can was still pretty heavy.
9. Clearing the gutters

Answer: Father

If the gutters are going allow rain to flow smoothly from the roof to the ground, they cannot be full of rubbish, obviously. We lived in a part of the world where fall means lots of falling leaves, many of which managed to end up in the gutters, either by landing there directly or by being washed off the roof during a storm.

This meant that gutter clearing had to be performed regularly - at least once a month - during that season. In the winter, small branches broken off trees by the weight of ice and snow tended to accumulate, meaning that at least one mid-winter clearing was needed. During the spring and summer, the job was not a routine, but if we noticed the rain not clearing properly during a storm, the ladder came out the next day.
10. Shoveling snow from the driveway

Answer: Father

Not just the driveway - the path to the front door and the steps to the entryway had to be cleared, too. The drive, however, was the big job, because of its length. It was also made more tedious by the fact that the snowplows clearing the road would scoop a big pile of snow across the drive, presenting a solid wall instead of just a shallow layer of snow that had to be broken through.

This is one job the children did not try to take on as we grew - too much like hard work! Anyway, we were busy making snowmen.
Source: Author looney_tunes

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