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Aunt Josie’s Chat Provides Household Hints

A short-lived turn-of-the-century column in the Rogue River Courier, titled “Aunt Josie’s Chat,” provided readers with household hints, advice for raising children, remedies for common annoyances, and detailed recipes for making yeast.

Children, she admonished, should never wear clothes that bind or shoes that impede movement of the ankle. She advised using chloroform to remove paint stains, Vaseline to keep shoes shiny, and powdered brick dust mixed with lemon juice to clean brass.  She said it never failed to stop a nosebleed by simply keeping the jaws moving as if eating.  Sore eyes called for a concoction of boiled egg white and borax, strained into liquid and applied several times a day.  Rheumatism, sprains and bruises benefited from a rub of Arnica, Belladonna and Cayenne pepper.  Belladonna, and Arnica, both toxic herbs, could also be used as a poison. 

Aunt Josie’s Chat discussed recipes as well.  A whole column was devoted to making yeast from potatoes or hops, which stay sweet longer.  Both involved stirring thick gobbets of smelly slime best kept in the cellar. 

Aunt Josie wrote just three columns for the Courier, beginning in November 1900 and ending in March 1901.


Sources: "Aunt Josie's Chat." Rogue River Courier, 29 Nov. 1900 [Grants Pass OR] , p. 1. Historical Oregon Newspapers, http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088281/1900-11-29/ed-1/seq-1.  Accessed 22 Feb.2017; "Aunt Josie's Chat." Rogue River Courier, 24 Jan. 1901 [Grants Pass OR], p. 1. Historical Oregon Newspapers, oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088281/1901-01-24/ed-1/seq-2/. Accessed 22 Feb. 2017; "Aunt Josie's Chat." Rogue River Courier, 7 Mar. 1901 [Grants Pass OR] , p. 1. Historical Oregon Newspapers, oregonnews.uoregon.edu/search/pages/results/?lccn=sn96088281&dateFilterType=yearRange&date1=1846&date2=2016&ortext=&andtext=&phrasetext=Aunt+Josie%27s+Chat&proxtext=&proxdistance=5&rows=20&sear. Accessed 22 Feb. 2017.

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.