The Feathered Nest

The softer side of MaisonBisson

Donna Reed and Me September 6, 2010

TowerGirl @ 11:44 am
Tags: , , ,

Sandee in 1950s Kitchen

If you check my blog regularly you will observe that I have assigned myself a bit of a writing project. Perhaps I am having teaching withdrawal and because I do not currently have students to give assignments to I feel the need to give assignments to myself. The project is to harness the power of Hulu and study the two seasons of The Donna Reed Show they have posted on the site. My aim is to distill the lesson in each and apply the lesson to own my life. It’s part cultural exploration and part therapy. I am having a good time doing it.

I have decided to give this project its own space and keep the The Feathered Nest for my more general musings on food and home. If the Donna project interests you at all you can follow it on its sassy new page. The pink and black on the site are the same as my bathroom in SF. This is quickly becoming a favorite color scheme.

Read about how we all need to be reminded that we are valued and loved, the lesson in episode four, now.


Season 1: Episode 3 – The Hike September 4, 2010

TowerGirl @ 11:32 am
Tags: , , ,

The Hike


The episode opens with living room rug strewn with camping gear. Alex and Jeff are preparing for an overnight hike. Alex gets a call and it is clear that a medical emergency will prevent him from taking Jeff hiking. He tells Jeff and Jeff is devastated. Alex talks to Donna about how terrible he feels. They try to see if any other fathers are available to take the boys camping but none are. Donna decides she will take the boys camping. This plan is met with skepticism by both Alex and Jeff who make it clear that hiking and camping are impossible tasks for a woman.

(don’t stop, there’s more…)


Season 1: Episode 2 – Pardon My Gloves September 3, 2010

TowerGirl @ 11:42 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Pardon My Gloves


The episode opens with Donna rehearsing lines from the play A Doll’s House by Ibsen. She is not very good and is prone to overly grandiose gestures and phrasing. She stops when the family appears. The kids and Alex badger her to perform for them and she demures. They persist and she acquiesces. She performs a bit and the family struggles find a compliment. She is really a very poor actress.

(don’t stop, there’s more…)


Season 1: Episode 1 – Weekend Trip September 2, 2010

TowerGirl @ 12:22 pm
Tags: , , , ,


We meet the Stone family. Father Alex is a pediatrician; his wife, Donna, is a stay-at-home mom; Mary is the teenage daughter; and Jeff is the tween-age son. In this episode the children complain to Donna about how little time they have with their father; his job keeps him very busy. We see Alex running around and grabbing a minute with the kids and Donna when he can. Donna decides they need a weekend away and convinces a doctor-friend of the family to take care of Alex’s patients for the weekend so they can all go skiing. Donna tells the kids and they are ecstatic. Then she tells Alex and he says he has other obligations that prevent him from getting away.

(don’t stop, there’s more…)


The Wisdom of Donna Reed September 2, 2010

TowerGirl @ 11:45 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Sandee in 1950s Kitchen

Since moving to San Francisco I have found myself with an unusual amount of free time. I found a part time job, but the demands are so much less than my usual schedule of teaching full time. The first few weeks I was able to stay busy by unpacking and organizing but now that is done.

Armed with a notepad and pen, my trusty MacBook, and the desire to be the best domestic goddess I can be I will watch the show from the beginning and find the lesson in each episode and you, dear reader, will be have access to my discoveries. Consider this your Cliff’s Notes on household harmony since it is quite possible that you may have a job that prevents you from engaging in this sort of deep cultural exploration. I am happy to share the fruits of my labor. Really, it’s the least I can do.

My goal is not to copy Donna’s every move, I am not making my life into a dusty time capsule. I want to take the wisdom of 1958 and apply it to 2010. I want to embrace timeless wisdom from a timeless woman. Donna, I surrender myself to you. Teach me.