“The Village Pump” was (or may still be, since the mag is — surprisingly — still in print!) True Story’s monthly feature which allowed readers to write in feedback on the magazine, or just write in short little stories they’d like to share from their own lives. Here are (in my opinion) the best stories from “The Village Pump” in the January 1954 issue!

Pretty houses make for obsessive mothers:

Cover of True Story, The cover of True Story, January 1954 (via the Really Big Vintage Junk Drawer)
The cover of True Story, January 1954 (via the Really Big Vintage Junk Drawer)

Mrs. V.D. of New York writes: “As a child I was always taught the importance of cleanliness, but was told my home was where I should entertain my friends. Now I find that cleanliness can go too far. My sister is immaculate and has a nice home. But if you visit her with children she is like a jailer. She has three children of her own, but they are never allowed to sit or play in the living room because her furniture has just been refinished, and they might cause the ‘down’ cushions to sink in. If you smoke a cigarette, she whips away the ash tray so she can empty the ashes and tissue the tray clean.* All these excessive acts of ‘good-housekeeping’ have turned her home into a museum instead of a happy, carefree, loving home where children can play and visitors can relax.”

*Frequent ashtray-dumping was also a habit of Bette Davis, according to Whitney Stine’s book “I’d Love to Kiss You…” Conversations with Bette Davis, in which recounts his visits to her home.

Sneaky lessons from wives and neighbors:

Mrs. D.F. of Virginia writes: “I didn’t mind my husband accidentally dropping cigarette ashes on the floor, but each time I looked at my stove he had either dropped ashes on it or stumped out his cigarette on a burner. So, the other day, I said, ‘Honey, I have some other work to do — would you like to polish the stove for me?’ He readily did so, and after he finished, he admired his work so much that I haven’t seen any more ashes or cigarette stumps on it.”

Mrs. A.D. of Michigan writes: “I have two neighbor women who live across the road from each other. One has a dog that keeps raiding the other’s chicken coop and eating the eggs. Mrs. M. neglected to keep her dog at home. So one day when she sent her little boy across the road to buy a dozen eggs from Mrs. C., Mrs. C. sent back nine eggs with the following note: ‘Here are nine eggs, your dog ate the other three.’ Now Mrs. M. keeps her egg-eating dog at home.”

Damn those pesky fare-avoiders!

Mrs. D.K. of Montana writes: “I just wish to gripe bout something. I have often wondered how people expect to raise their children to be honest citizens while they stoop to petty dishonesty themselves. For example — telling the bus driver your child is younger than he is. My son looks younger than he is, and I could avoid paying his fare. But I am raising him to be honest by being honest myself, and setting him a good example.”

*Squawk* Who’s a pretty bird?

Mrs. Zea of Mexico City sends in a photo of she and her husband’s pet parrot, who speaks both Spanish and English, loves to take baths and eats potato chips! His name is PeeWee, and he flies freely around the apartment rather than living in a cage.

Peewee the free bird, sitting atop his owner's head! (Scanned by Lindsey for TMP)
Peewee the free bird, sitting atop his owner’s head! (Scanned by Lindsey for TMP)