Anyone have a maid when growing up?

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by Matt Crunk, Oct 5, 2014.

  1. Matt Crunk

    Matt Crunk One Too Many

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    We often see '40s and '50s households depicted as having maids in movies and TV shows. So how many working class families really had maids?

    Growing up in the late '60s and '70s, we had a maid that came in usually twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) to help my mother clean house, do laundry and almost all the ironing. We were a comfortable middle class family, but far from what I'd call "well off". My father had a good blue collar union job, and my mother was mostly a stay-at-home mom. Even though our maid was only there two days per week, I still feel like she helped raise me and was almost like part of the family. A fond memory for sure.

    I'm just not sure how many middle class households today have maids. Who could afford such a luxury these days?
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2014
  2. LuvMyMan

    LuvMyMan Vendor

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    We had no maid...:(

    My Husband when he was growing up, they had a maid up until the early 1970's and had a butler until 1960's. They were both "live in" From all the stories told to me by his family members and him as well, having a live in servant was about like having a extra family members around, but that you could "boss around" and they would simple to as asked. However, all children in the family had to be well mannered towards them as the maid and butler were "adults" and it was not permitted to treat them with any disrespect, or a spanking would take place real quick.

    I would have to guess having a live in maid or butler today would cost a lot of money.
     
  3. Dixie_Amazon

    Dixie_Amazon Practically Family

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    My family did not, but my husband's did from before he was born in 1953 until the late 1990s. Lena raised my husband and she did it well. His parents worked and involved in high society pursuits, with little time left for him. I wish I had met her.
     
  4. CaramelSmoothie

    CaramelSmoothie Practically Family

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    Nope, didn't have a maid, my grandmother WAS the maid. At a hotel that is.
     
  5. My mom used to say "we don't need a maid, that's why I had you."

    I had a very wealthy great aunt and uncle who had a maid. "Lucille" kept a small garage apartment there, but she didn't stay there often. My uncle would go pick her up and take her home every day. My aunt would complain that she was the worst maid in the world, but we considered her part of the family. She was a large woman with a personality to match...always full of fun, with a huge laugh. When we'd visit, she'd spend more time laughing with us, playing the piano and singing, than she ever did doing housework. She actually reminded me a lot of my grandmother (on the other side), and my sisters and I loved her dearly.
     
  6. F. J.

    F. J. One of the Regulars

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    Maid?! Waddaya think yungins is fer?

    :rolleyes:
     
  7. Shangas

    Shangas I'll Lock Up

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    We used to have a day-maid who looked after the house and cooked for us back when I was a kid because both parents were working and stuff. And it was just grandma at home and she was in her 80s.

    A lot of my relatives back in the Old Country still have housemaids. Partially because they're working. Partially because domestic service over there is cheap as old chips.
     
  8. Stanley Doble

    Stanley Doble Call Me a Cab

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    Working class people didn't have maids, they were maids.

    For a little perspective on the movie angle, there is a story about a well known movie mogul in the thirties discussing a new picture with the writer, director and producer. He said "This is supposed to be the story of the typical American family. Average, see? Father makes about $20,000 a year".

    To get the joke, you would have to know that the average American family income at that time was less than $2000 and a $20,000 salary was like $500,000 today.

    But from the standpoint of a Hollywood studio owner, that was "average".

    So, if you were making movies in Hollywood, the "average" family did have a maid. Not to mention a 2 story brick house on a tree lined street and a new Buick.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2014
  9. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    The women in my family (at least on my mother's side) *were* the maids that people hired.

    My grandmother, all my great-aunts, and my great-grandmother's on my mother's side of the family all worked as maids at one time or another. If not for being a live-in maid from the age of 12 to 14, my grandmother would not have attended school (she dropped out at age 10, but picked back up at age 12 when she moved in with the family she worked for and continued to eighth grade). My grandmother was the most educated of her female siblings, and more educated than most of her male siblings, because of her work as a maid. She left her live-in job of her own choosing and was married shortly after that.
     
  10. Both my sets of grandparents both worked but no maid. They did it themselves. Maids were unheard of unless you were super rich.
     
  11. Shangas

    Shangas I'll Lock Up

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    My grandparents on my father's side had a housemaid. They had not a cent to pay her, but she worked for her bed and board. It's a long and complicated story which involves WWII.

    My grandparents on my mother's side had housemaids, and a chauffeur (grandaddy was a businessman of fairly high status).
     
  12. Stearmen

    Stearmen I'll Lock Up

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    My mother did all that for us, plus, she was a teacher. A couple of years ago, some guy commented to me, after I told him my mother worked back then, he said, "my wife stayed at home and raised the kids." He must have caught me on a bad day, because, I let him have it, I said, who the h&*% do think raised us kids? My mother worked during the day, graded papers, did the laundry, packed our lunches all after we went to bed! She worked like a dog looking back, all, so us kids could have a better life. Incidentally, after that, the guy just said, "I didn't think of that."
     
  13. Matt Crunk

    Matt Crunk One Too Many

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    Well, we were definitely a working class family and, like I said, we had a maid that came in two days per week. Now this was in the 1960s and '70s, and my parents didn't pay her a great deal. About $30 per week, cash, as I recall. Adjusted for inflation that's about like $150 today. I believe she worked for other families the rest of the week too, so assuming they paid her about the same, she probably earned the equivalent of around $375 per week in today's money.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2014
  14. vintage.vendeuse

    vintage.vendeuse A-List Customer

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    We didn't have a maid but I do remember an "old lady" (looking back, she was probably in her 60s) from down the street coming every Tuesday morning just to do the ironing. Dad was a white collar worker with one of the car companies (we're in the Detroit area) but we lived very frugally.

    Mom was working class English with some servants and even a few petty criminals in her family background. Dad came from a very well off family in Poland. His father was a local politician (who was hauled off, imprisoned, and murdered by the Nazis early in WW2). Anyway, pre-war, Dad's family had a maid, a cook, and even a seamstress, all living-in. Since there were two adults and six kids in the family, and all clothing was home-sewn, I guess a seamstress was pretty handy!
     
  15. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

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    I wish!

    Oh, did I misunderstand the question?
     
  16. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    My mother did the same. My folks made quite a few financial sacrifices for her to stay at home with me and my brother until we were both settled at school, then she went back into teaching and worked full time as well as keeping the house, with help all round fom my dad and what we could do. I remember especially when I was fourteen and for that year the hated games "lessons" were one afternoon, and the hated PE "lessons" were the next morning. It was thed only time that the games teachers accepted non-standard kit, owing to the schedule. A lot of kids with stay at home mothers came in those mornings with non-standard kit. My mother had mine laundered, dry and ironed every single week, without fail. I've no idea how she did it, given her employment had superhuman demands (anyone who tells you being a schoolteacher is an easy life, at least in the UK, is a know-nothing idiot). She must have lived on five hours' sleep a night. Probably why she took sick as soon as holidays kicked in so often.
     
  17. 31 Model A

    31 Model A A-List Customer

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    yes, my mom had a maid....I was the oldest so it was ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  18. Atticus Finch

    Atticus Finch Call Me a Cab

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    Yes...and no. I guess its no secret that I grew up in a small Southern town during the middle 'fifties and 'sixties. So, yes, like a lot of working women in that era, my mother had a person who came in once or twice a week to help with the cleaning.

    But, no, it wasn't like the stereotypes depicted in movies such as "The Help" or whatever.

    AF
     
  19. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Same here.

    Apropos this discussion, I was talking recently with a friend who had an upbringing the opposite of mine in just about every possible way -- she was raised the upper-middle-class daughter of a well-off professional-oriented family, had maids and nannies and such, went to private schools, etc, etc, etc. I was watching her type and commented on how, here she was with a PhD, and she was two-finger-pecking her way across the keyboard. "You don't understand," she said. "We were taught that learning how to type, learning how to cook or sew or clean or any of that stuff was unnecessary. There would always be people to do those things for us."

    I cannot begin to fathom what it must've been like to grow up like that. And I can't help but feel sorry for anyone who did.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2014
  20. Shangas

    Shangas I'll Lock Up

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    Well she's right.

    The question is, how much are you willing to pay for it? Or can you even afford it?
     

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