A woman in Oregon decided she’d had enough of the rat race, and wanted to turn the clock back to the 1950s.
Completely by choice, 30-year-old Katrina Holte now lives as a ‘1950s housewife’, cooking, cleaning and looking after her husband, while making dresses from 1950s patterns in her spare time.
Katrina even transformed her home in Hillsborough into a ‘working shrine’ to the era, fitting it out and decorating it in 1950s decor.
Speaking about her new old-fashioned life, Katrina said:
I feel like I’m living how I always wanted to. It’s my dream life and my husband shares my vision.
It is a lot of work. I do tons of dishes, laundry and ironing, but I love it and it’s helping to take care of my husband and that makes me really happy.
Katrina spoke about her dedication to the role, saying:
My closet is full of 1950s dresses I’ve made myself. I have 1940s-style furniture in the living room and a traditional bedroom.
It’s not like it’s a museum but I do try and make it as close to the era as I can. I can feel like I was born in the wrong decade, especially when I look at everything that is happening in the world now. I feel like I belong in a nicer, more old-fashioned time. But I know everything happens for a reason and it is God’s will that I’m here now.
Knowing her house is spic and span when Lars comes home, after dinner, the couple relax, playing traditional board games like Scrabble together before watching old-fashioned shows like I Love Lucy and The Donna Reed Show.
I agree with old-fashioned values, like being a housewife, taking care of your family, nurturing the people in it and keeping your house in excellent condition, so everyone feels relaxed.
A part-time seamstress for 10 years, Katrina, who sells her retro frocks across the world, said:
My new life started in September 2018, after I left my job, which was starting to wear me down. I was getting tired and I wasn’t living up to my own expectations.
I spoke to my husband and told him I want to be a housewife and he said that was fine with him.
It was a fantastic feeling when I quit. I can do what I want to now and run my house as I want to run it. Now I’m a full-time homemaker.
Katrina starts her day at 6.30am, when she wakes and sets out her husband’s clothes, before preparing his breakfast and making him a packed lunch. After her own breakfast she does 15 minutes of vintage exercises.
Exercise in the 1930s to 1950s was a lot gentler. There was a lot of stretching, warming up or ‘limbering up,’ as they would say back then.
We have the idea today that we have to push our bodies to the limit, but in the 1950s the attitude was simply that you had to take care of it.
The 30-year-old will then have a shower, put on a ‘full face of vintage makeup’ and dress in clothes from the era. ‘My entire wardrobe is 1950s, made up of dresses I have made myself from original patterns. I always try and look my best. I feel most like myself when I’m wearing a vintage-style dress,’ Katrina added.
After doing chores around the house like laundry and sweeping up, and taking some time to work on her dresses, Katrina will make sure dinner is ready and on the table for when her husband Lars gets home from work.
When he returns, Lars does insist on hanging up his own coat, though:
When Lars gets home he likes to hang his own coat up, which I don’t mind. I read in a 1950s book that if a man wants to hang his own coat up, you should not feel like it makes you a bad housewife.
When not in use, the television is hidden away, so as not to mess up the vintage look of the room and the couple do not watch cable or streaming channels. Katrina says Lars is ‘very appreciative’ of what she does.
I think a man needs his wife to make him feel spoilt every once in a while.
He would never expect this from me, though, it was entirely my idea to live like this. It’s always been my dream since I was a little girl.
In a way, Lars is serving me, because he makes a lot more money than I do and he knows this is what I want to do in return.
He works very long hours and makes my dreams come true, so I try to make his come true, too. It’s an equal partnership. I’m outspoken and I’m definitely not a repressed woman.
While she admits the era was far from perfect, 1950s values really appeal to Katrina.
The golden rule then was to do to others what you want them to do to you. No decade is perfect, definitely we had big social problems in the 50s, but the people I talk to who lived through the era say it was a time when you could leave your door unlocked and you didn’t need to worry about people breaking in.
People today have forgotten how to talk to people they don’t agree with and they have lost all their manners. They are always in a rush, they don’t remember to say please and thank you. Nowadays people are looking out for themselves and not thinking about the people around them.
All the stories I’ve read are about women borrowing dishes or butter from each other, and the neighbourhood kids all playing together. You find now neighbours will go from the car to the garage to the house and won’t speak to each other.
Katrina said she’s now looking forward to starting a family with Lars, and wants to have four children, saying she’ll definitely dress them in 50s clothes, though ‘when they get older they can make their own choices.’
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