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Happy Mother’s Day — now back to the kitchen! 17 weird, creepy, and sometimes cute vintage cards

Happy Mothers Day! Let us celebrate with a bunch of weird, creepy, retrograde, sexist, and sometimes cute vintage Mother’s Day cards.

Let’s do cute first.

If you take a look at vintage Mother’s Day cards online, you’ll notice that an awful lot of them — half, maybe? — feature utterly adorable kittens and puppies, and sometimes little bunnies and chipmunks and birds. Presumably these are symbolic stand-in’s for mother’s own brood of children. In any case, they’re a lot cuter (and presumably less of a hassle to care for) than the actual human children found on these sorts of cards.

Kittens and puppies, represent!

OK, OK! I call “uncle!” That is TOO MANY KITTENS. I’m starting to have a panic attack at the thought of having to take care of all of them.

Sometimes the animals featured on these cards aren’t quite so cute. This big old pooch is less of a gift than a threat.

Now we come to the other notable genre of cards: the ones that remind dear mother that her place is in the home, and that she better appreciate the joys of cooking and laundry and all the rest of her motherly duties.

That’s right, Mom-mom. if you want a fucking Mother’s Day pie you’ve got to bake it yourself!

There are other cards that are merely perplexing.

Why are there TWO Mother’s Day cards featuring a young boy fishing? MAMA DON’T WANT NO FISH.

Heather has two mommies:

This next one just creeps me out. Because that’s not her daughter. It’s some sort of miniaturized adult human. Did “mother” here just take a friend of hers and shrink her with some diabolical shrinking ray? And what is this “little token” bit — is this tiny lady the little token?! What is going on here?

And how about this mysterious lady with her “secret pal?”

She is totally fucking that dude on the side.

Which is sort of an odd way to celebrate Mother’s Day, but seeing the rest of these cards I can’t say I blame her. It’s certainly better than baking your own pie or cleaning your hubby’s skidmarks.

In any case, Happy Mother’s Day!

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Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
7 days ago

I nearly had a heart attack seeing this; but then I remembered our mothers day was back in March. Phew, I am not a terrible son.

Having said that, I once rang my mum, said “Hello mum” when my mum answered, to be greeted with “Hiya. Who’s that?”.

“Your only child!”

Dreamer
Dreamer
7 days ago

Shit, I wish my mom were alive.

Chris Oakley
Chris Oakley
7 days ago

@Dreamer

I can relate.

Last edited 7 days ago by Chris Oakley
Full Metal Ox
6 days ago

@Dreamer; @Chris Oakley:

That makes three of us; in her absence, I make a point of wishing a happy Mother’s Day to the mothers in my social circle in her honor.

Banananananana dakry: still fat and deranged
Banananananana dakry: still fat and deranged
6 days ago

@Dreamer @Chris Oakley, @Full Metal Ox

Four here. :/

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 days ago

Commiserations to all missing their mums. I like your idea FMO; that’s so lovely. And it got me thinking, where should the apostrophe go in mothers? I like the idea it’s a collective thing for all mums; whether with us or not.

moregeekthan
moregeekthan
6 days ago

@Alan My girlfriend delivered a sermon that mentioned that yesterday. The various USians trying to make that a thing in the early 20th century used the term Mothers Day (no apostrophe). When the greeting card companies, florists, etc. started pushing it, they refered to it as Mother’s Day, i.e. not a day for all mothers, but for your particular mother, so you’d better get her something nice.

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
6 days ago

Happy “Twice-Yearly Reminder That There’s No Non-Binary Parent’s Day” Day!

Masse_Mysteria
Masse_Mysteria
6 days ago

At least the bunny mother doesn’t seem to have to wear high heels.

I never thought about where the apostrophe should go in mothers day. I guess I assumed it should me “mothers’ day” since the Finnish äitienpäivä has a genitive plural form of äiti.

@Alan
I may be mixing up my vowels again, but isn’t “mum” sometimes used a bit like “ma’am”? Or have I been learning obsolete language from old books (again)?

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 days ago

@ masse mysteria

Over here, mum is used rather like the American ‘mom’.

Ma’am is more formal. For example it’s how we address District Judges. It’s meant to be pronounced to rhyme with ham, not harm.

Having said that, it’s was a cliche in certain old portrayals of the working class to have them say stuff like ‘Bless you ma’rm!’ or even just ‘Mmm’. It can all get a bit Nancy Mitford.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
6 days ago

@ morethangeek

I blame Hallmark for a lot of society’s ills. But seriously, there’s probably a dissertation to be had on the corporate appropriation and manipulation of holidays.

Robert Haynie
Robert Haynie
6 days ago

@moregeekthan:

Curiously, Wikipedia, and other online sources, say rather the opposite. Anna Jarvis, who conceived the modern holiday, insisted on the singlual possessive, saying it was a day for each family to celebrate their own mothers, rather than a generic celebration of mothers worldwide. She proposed the holiday in 1907, and in 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation declaring it national holiday. (Earlier, Congress had declined to do so, quipping that if the made an official Mother’s Day, they’d have to make an official Mother-In-Law’s day too.)

Jarvis, notable, was very upset with the greeting card companies and others leaping on a commercial bandwagon about the day, to the point that she started to organize boycotts of the date and even attempted to file lawsuits against the companies involved, feeling that what the children should be doing is writing a personal letter.

The main article is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother's_Day .

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
6 days ago

Is “Secret Pal” code for “Peeping Tom” or “Stalker”?

The “little token” doggerel doesn’t even scan. Try “wishes unto thee”, card writer.

Mom looks really scared of that big dog. If it’s still a puppy, even more so. Send it to a farm upstate ASAP, mom, that boy’s never going to walk it.

I never get anything on Mother’s Day, because I have cats and they aren’t givers. This year I got a scratch on my arm from holding the beast while the Mr. cleaned poop off the cat butt.

I miss my mom on Mother’s Day too. Yesterday I was remembering the time it snuck up on me and I ended up telling Godiva “YES I will pay the obscene rate for overnight delivery! Just get it there before I call in the evening!” She was quite pleased, so it was worth it. And she did indeed not want fish.

@epitome: Any word on the retest? It’s a crapshoot nowadays, but your symptoms sound like the ones I had between Xmas and NYE. Rest as much as possible; even a mild case can give you long-term annoyance. Even if it’s just a cold, stay home and keep hydrated. Hugs.

Prith
Prith
6 days ago

The “little token” is the card. 🙂

For some reason the tiny person seems like the woman’s son rather than her daughter. Yes, they’re wearing a dress, but that wasn’t uncommon for boys back then (see Teddy’s and FDR’s child pics).

moregeekthan
moregeekthan
5 days ago

@ Robert Haynie Jarvis and Julia Ward Howe were the two progenitors of Mother’s Day she covered. I think I misattributed something she said about Ward Howe’s earlier efforts to establish a Mothers’ Day to Ann Jarvis’ later efforts. She did mention it only took Halmark six years start making cards, and Jarvis’ frustration with the holiday’s commercialization. As if to prove Jarvis’ point, I had to leave the service early to get my daughter a Mother’s Day brunch for her mother and grandmother.

Masse_Mysteria
Masse_Mysteria
5 days ago

@Alan
Ok. Now that I think about it, I only have a vague memory of some historical-ish novel(?) where younger folks called seemingly random older women “mum” (making me at first confused and wonder how many children there were in the family), and I can’t even remember if it was supposed to be in the UK or not.

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
5 days ago

I’m afraid …

“Disabled Ontario woman pursues medically assisted death after being denied access to suitable housing”https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2022/05/10/uaat-m10.html

(CN: site is class-reductionist and leans pro-Russia)

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
5 days ago

Oh, bloody hell.

https://truthout.org/articles/elon-musk-says-hell-let-trump-back-on-twitter-calling-ban-foolish/

Way to go Musk. Resurrecting a dead, evil user account of a would-be emperor …

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNYFJFDZmxY&t=423

(Dammit, it doesn’t seem to want to embed.)

Last edited 5 days ago by Surplus to Requirements
epitome of incomprehensibility

Sometimes the animals featured on these cards aren’t quite so cute. This big old pooch is less of a gift than a threat.

Hey, the dog looks friendly and cute, but the mother’s reaction seems to indicate worry: in my wild imagination, what’s happened is that the kid picked up a random dog and brought it to her and she’s thinking “how the hell am I supposed to take care of a pet with no warning??”

@GSS ex-noob – Oh, thanks! Yes, I definitely have COVID. Yesterday the 2nd line on the testing thing was darker. But I’m lucky it’s not so bad, and my parents recently had booster shots. I am drinking lots of herbal tea 🙂

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
4 days ago

@epitome: It’s your opportunity to slack off without guilt! Drink your tea, nap a lot, and ponder if Mom’s also thinking:

“does that dog have rabies?”
“is it pregnant?”
“is it housetrained?”
“does it belong to someone else?”
“will it die horribly like the turtle did?”

rugbyyogi
3 days ago

My mom… isn’t the best…but this year I made a donation in her honor to a pro-choice fund. She loved it. Honestly loved it. And then said she would do the same for me and I was like ohhh that’s so cool. But she hasn’t actually. That’s her.

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