Home Ec

Home Ec: An Interview with Mrs. Meyer Herself

by Grace Bonney

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All last year we’ve been working with Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day on a series of DIY projects, events, videos and an entire column here, Home Ec, dedicated to helping you find ways to make the home you love (on a budget, using your own two hands and using natural/homemade materials whenever possible). Most people don’t know that Mrs. Meyer is actually a real person, Mrs. Thelma Meyer, who inspired the entire line. Her daughter was so proud of her mother’s home keeping efforts (which she did while raising 9 children), that she decided to create the line to celebrate Thelma’s love of gardening. So for today’s Home Ec I thought we’d switch it up a bit and talk to the woman herself about what it was like to keep a home and raise all of her children in a way that made her happy. xo, grace

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How did Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day happen?

Thelma Meyer’s: My daughter, Monica, brought home a bottle of Caldrea dish soap – citrus mint ylang ylang – oohh the fragrance was wonderful! I asked her how much it cost, and she said, “eight dollars.” I said, “I’m not eight dollars for dish soap.” She said, “Oh mom, we’ll come up with a product for you.” And so she did.

What does your day-to-day role at Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day look like?

Thelma: About once a year the company involves me- my home, yard and garden – in some form or other. I’ve spoken with bloggers and occasionally travel to talk with customers in person. I’m happy that my love of gardening can inspire what Monica does with the line.

What does homemaking and homekeeping mean to you? And does it feel different now than when you were first raising your children?

Thelma: Life is less work for sure but I still enjoy gardening and cleaning my own home!

What was the best piece of homekeeping advice you were given when you started your family?

Thelma: I just followed rules I learned from my mother which were: clean up after yourself, help with the housework and do your share.

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What was the most difficult part of homekeeping for you with a large family?

Thelma: I never looked at housekeeping as difficult- just part of life. Everyone learns responsibility (all of my children had a chore chart growing up) and that it’s a joy to work before play.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about life from raising and caring for your family?

Thelma: The biggest lesson learned was probably giving my children choices that I liked.

Can you name a moment of failure in your business or personal life that you learned from or that helped you improve your business or the way you run things at home?

Thelma: Maybe to not work outside the home as much. For 12 years, I stayed home and then went back to my profession as an R. N.- four nights and every other weekend.

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If you were magically given 3 more hours per day, what would you do with them?

Thelma: Simply more of the same – cook, garden, visit, play bridge, read, do handwork. I really do love and appreciate my life.

What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in being a homekeeper?

Thelma: I never considered being a homemaker a sacrifice.

What do you consider your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in both your life and work?

Thelma: Our greatest success was raising 9 children having good health and 58 years and 10 days of marriage!

What is one modern invention or change that has made homekeeping easier for you now?
Thelma: The invention of the microwave and central vacuum, which my husband installed. It made keeping house easier!

If people only have 20 minutes every day to clean and work on their home, what do you think they should focus on?

Young families should focus on family, faith and fun – sit down with a cup of tea or glass of tea.

Now that you’ve been a part of a wildly successful company- what’s next?
What is your pie-in-the-sky dream project you’d like to pursue?

Thelma: My pie in the sky would be to be on a TV show with all my children and their children to tell how much fun it has been having grandma be Mrs. Meyer’s!

 

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Comments

    • Teresa

      To our knowledge, Monica is definitely still involved, as is Thelma. We’ve worked with them for over a year and corresponded with both of them (and have seen both of them involved in creative projects with the brand), so despite the acquisition, they’re still very much involved. That’s not uncommon for mergers like that when brands have personalities so strongly tied to them.

      Grace

  • Wow, what an inspiring woman! And I love how her kitchen is probably the same out of which she has cooked for 50 years.

  • What an absolutely lovely and inspiring woman! She is so humble and never once complained or demeaned the value of hard work. What a lesson we can all learn from her. I am definitely bookmarking this for days when I’m feeling sorry for myself!

  • What a lovely down to earth interview chock full of simple old fashioned and yet relevant wisdom. Love the advice to “focus on family, faith and fun – sit down with a cup of tea or glass of tea”. One of my favorite things to do when I was growing up, was to have iced tea with my father on the front porch.

    Many thanks!

  • Mrs. Meyers is just what I would have loved to have as a Grandmother. Warm, kind, sensible etc. I can’t be the only one out there who feels this way. Readers, any opinions about this? Help me out. Andrea provenance17@yahoo.com

  • This made my day. She is one of my new homemaking heroes. I’m so glad to learn there’s a genuine story behind the brand! As a cleaning lady, I always loved when clients had Mrs. Meyers products to use… This interview makes me want to buy them more often for my own home.

  • Wow, what an inspiring woman! I hope to be like her and teach my children that work before play is a joy, homemaking is not a sacrifice, and that spending more time with family is the most important part of life! Thank you!

  • If anybody exemplifies the expression, ‘what you see is what you get,’ it’s Thelma. She is absolutely without pretense. A person who has her priorities in order – faith and family topping the list. She is wonderfully kind, never one to gossip or hold a grudge and always up for a good time. Never one to shirk when it comes to work, it would be hard to find a face to put on a product that would do it the Justice that Thelma’s does. I consider it a privilege to call her ‘friend.’

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