The original 1938 caption on this image described this as Texas’s gigantic Mothers-In-Law Day parade, which featured marching Navajo Indian women from New Mexico. (9 March 1938; AP Photo)
WE ALL KNOW about Mother’s Day (it’s tomorrow by the way, if you want to leave now and avoid the rush to the nearest petrol station for those carnations).
But Mothers’-In-Law Day? What madness is this?
In the US, the greetings card industry has designated the fourth Sunday in October to the 11-year-old modern tradition. Well, that was kind of a useless Sunday anyway, we suppose.
But the day actually has a predecessor in earlier times.
During the summer of 1933, Amarillo Globe Publisher Gene Howe made some ill-judged comments about his mother-in-law (who lived in his house) in public. She, obviously, was not impressed.
To make it up to her, he apologised profusely in his newspaper column. But that wasn’t nearly enough.
He soon announced plans to honour his mother-in-law with a special celebration. First came the establishment of the Mothers’-In-Law Club, followed by a Mothers-In-Law Day parade in Texas on 5 March 1934.
For the inaugural event, more than 6,000 people crowded the streets and sweet-pea corsages were pinned on each mother-in-law who attended. Prizes were also given to the oldest mother-in-law, the youngest mother-in-law, the thinnest mother-in-law and the, eh, “stoutest” mother-in-law.
The first “stateliest and most beautiful” mother-in-law prize was bestowed upon Howe’s own Nellie Donald.
The 1938 parade, pictured above, was one of the largest in history as it was sponsored by Eleanor Roosevelt. She was presented with a bouquet of 6,000 roses.
Today, there isn’t as much pageant about the day but there is, of course, a recent Facebook page dedicated to your loved one’s mother. Most of the comments are of the favourable kind, but this from Alisha made us giggle.
umn.. I plead the fifth.