Old Maids

In Reflections: The Life, Writings and History of Geneva Mae Thomas Bridgford (2012), compiled by her daughter, Bonnie Bridgford Good, there’s the story of 18 year old Geneva and her friend going to the big city to attend Miss Brown’s Training School in Milwaukee. The year was 1928, and the two young ladies stayed at the Methodist Boarding School House on 11th and State — under watchful eyes.

The spinster owners of the boarding school took their responsibility of chaperoning the young women quite seriously. The older women at work (ranging in age from 25 to 40) also felt a need to mother them, and warn them of the dangers in the city. As a vent to her frustration, Mother wrote the following poem:

Old Maids

Tell me not in mournful numbers
Of the habits of old maids.
Well I know their every weakness
How their beauty wanes and fades.
They are old, they are ugly
And their hearts though staunch may fail;
For they shake and they quiver at the coming of a male.
They surround me, jeopardize me
These old maids of whom I write.
At my home and at my office
They boss me with all their might.
I’m rebelling, I won’t stand it!
And I’m very sure of this,
If I can prevent it
My name won’t always start with Miss


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