AUGUST 18, 1947
HYDE PARK, Sunday—In spite of the heat, which has occasioned us all to remark that we have had no real comfort since we left Campobello Island, I have enjoyed the return to my brook surrounded by the purple fireweed in full bloom. I am so glad we did not entirely miss it.
In walking through the woods yesterday, I found that the mosquitoes have become less aggravating, but also I saw only one of my little orange salamanders, so their season is drawing to a close. What happens to them when they cease to be seen on the road, I do not know! In their place, however, the humid weather has brought out some tiny little orange toadstools that are beautiful in color.
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I read in one of the papers an account of a radio discussion program on the question, "Have Women Failed as Homemakers?" I was interested to find that one of the men, David Seabury, had pointed out that a home is made both by a man and a woman; and that Dr. Katharine Whiteside Taylor had emphasized that no woman alone can give children everything they need in the home. It takes both the father and the mother to do a really good job. Many a man or woman has had to try to be both parents for their children—and this does not always happen because of divorce.
I must say that, as I meet all kinds of women in my neighborhood and in other parts of the country, I feel that, in comparing the aftermath of this war with the aftermath of the last war, women on the whole have not been doing such a bad job as homemakers. There may be defects in the training which our girls receive during their school years. If so, these can be remedied. But I don't agree with Dr. Paul Papenoe, one of the speakers on the program, who made the broad statement that women are not successful wives, women are not successful mothers, and women are not competent housekeepers.
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I think there are a great many men in this country who would agree that there are a good many women who are both successful wives and successful mothers. And remember, this is not always easy to combine, because men have a curious way of liking to be the only pebble on the beach, and if a woman is not careful, she may create in her husband jealousy of her children. As to the charge that today's women are not good housekeepers, Dr. Papenoe isn't doing the buying for the household or he would know that the average American housewife who gets by these days is certainly a good housekeeper.
I was trained to certain housekeeping habits by my grandmother, but when I married, I knew very little about many things which were essential to learn. I cannot say that I think myself a good housekeeper today, but I know any number of women in my neighborhood who manage to feed their families in spite of the runaway prices—and those women are certainly good housekeepers. I have faith in the fundamental good sense and ability of the average American woman.