Today was to be the day of new beginnings. It was to be the day The Prude brought structure and order to her blog. She was going comb through older posts and actually write about the topics she said she would write about. She was going to be a Prude true to her word. She would create a Format.
And then June Cleaver died.
So the format, the structure, the order and even the integrity will have to wait. Today we honor June.
Proper tribute cannot take place unless one knows who June Cleaver was. And is. ‘Is’ because June will live on in the Prude Role Model Hall of Fame.
June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley) was the mother in a television show which first aired in the 1950’s- a decade beloved by Prudes. The show was called ‘Leave it to Beaver’ and immediately Prudes sat up and took note because of the melodious, rhyming nature of the title. And then Prudes met June. The patron saint of Prudes. So we dedicated a wing in our Hall of Fame. Come with your Prude to the June Cleaver Room in the PRMHofF and find out why she deserves this respect.
First we see the two Cleaver homes from the series. They lived on Mapleton Drive and Pine Street respectively. Prudes enjoy themes and appreciate the repeated tree motif which avoided excessive cuteness ( if they had lived on, say, Mapleton Drive and OAK Street, or EVERGREEN Drive and Pine Street) by mixing a hardwood deciduous tree drive and a softer wood conifer street. Perfect.
Take a moment to browse through the Cleaver Men Display. Ward, Wally, and The Beaver. (THE Prude has a certain affinity for any mother who would refer to her child as ‘THE Beaver’.) Note that all of the men’s first names begin with letters from the last half of the alphabet (Beaver is actually Theodore). This balance with the first-half-of-the-alphabet ‘C’ in Cleaver is very important in the Prude world. June’s name needs to begin with a letter from the first half of the alphabet to achieve FAMILY balance. (Oh readers! There is so much to the Prude world that I haven’t shown you yet! So much variety! It is a world almost as complex as Middle Earth! But cleaner.)
Next we arrive at June’s Cleaning Supplies Exhibit. Gaze on the vacuum cleaner and note that the handle is adjusted 2.5 inches taller than June’s actual height to compensate for the high heels she wore to do housework.
Over the decades those heels have been a source of constant scrutiny and scorn by feminists, tennis shoe manufacturers and podiatrists. But let Your Prude set the record straight. In the 50’s mothers were encouraged to wear pumps because the added height gave them added leverage when delivering lectures- especially to sons who showed a propensity to growth spurts. June could deliver any lecture Ward could, but she did it walking backwards with a vacuum cleaner and wearing high heels.
(Today many Prude mothers try to sneak in this added lecture leverage by wearing those new shape up sneakers, thereby killing 2 birds with one stone because Prudes adore multi-tasking)
Over at the June Cleaver Clothing Corner you will see another heart-cockle warming reason Prudes love June. She not only dressed modestly (even covering her throat with a ladylike string of pearls) but she dressed in LAYERS. The PRMHofF breaks Prude tradition in this corner and displays Underclothing. There you see June’s slip, with more fabric than most of today’s wedding gowns and designed to ensure the total opacity of June’s full dresses. We also have stuck Creepy Eddie Haskell in this corner because he was forever complimenting June’s wardrobe. But notice we have him turned AWAY from the slip.
There is much more to see and say about June Cleaver/Barbara Billingsly. The wildlife (including the alligator) that should have been kept outdoors display. The book of June Cleaver quotes, including the one upbraiding Wally for wanting to punch Eddie on a Sunday.
June Cleaver/Barbara Billingsley may not have been a Prude but she exhibited so many qualities Prudes hold dear and want to emulate. Jerry Mathers, who played The Beaver, gave her a tribute which will be the latest entry in the June Cleaver Wing of the Prude Role Model Hall of Fame. He said, among other gracious comments, that she showed him the ‘importance of manners’. High honor indeed.
Thank you Barbara and June. You will be missed.
Tomorrow: The Prude on the Importance of Manners.