Eleanor Roosevelt: My Day:
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I have in the mail a letter which touches so closely the problem of many young couples that I am going to quote it here:
I am the mother of two little boys and expect another baby in March. For over two weeks we have had no red meat, no sugar for puddings, applesauce, etc., and the cost of plain, ordinary foodstuffs is so out of this world that the whole situation is absurd. The American public has become complacent. We literally sit back and take any and all 'orders' issued to us. Maybe we discuss the situation with friends in our own home, but we do nothing. Letters to our Congressmen seem to have lost their value. What can we do?
My question is: 'What can the housewife do to exert her influence? You are a mother—if the health of your children was being threatened, what would you do?' As a matter of fact, the entire nation is in danger. Weaken the coming generation and we will be an easy prey for any future aggressor. I am only an ordinary housewife, but I'm sure every woman holds the same opinion I have. Taken collectively, we could be one of the most powerful forces the country ever knew. Too many of our women's organizations and women in politics are held in ridicule, not only by newspapers and magazines, but by the public in general. Does this mean we have no way to get to the root of the problem and honestly try to do something about it?
I hope you don't think I'm some sort of a crank. I'm not. I'm just puzzled by America right now.
She is quite right, I think. This is a problem for the housewives of the country and we should make ourselves heard by our government. If meat is not available, then a campaign should be put on so that every housewife would know how to feed her children and how to give them such things as will take the place of meat. Many people never eat red meat, but they do eat a great deal more of certain foods which we are apt to forget about.
This question of what to feed children when certain things are short is a question for which the national government should have planned with the state governments. And no locality in this country should be without a constant reminder of how children should be fed to keep them in good health.
The cost-of-living question is much more complicated. We, the public, could have supported OPA much more vocally. We could have supported such measures as the Administration proposed for preventing inflation a long while ago, instead of letting many of them die in Congress.
That would have prevented many of the strikes which are now being blamed for the rise in the cost of living. Strikes and higher wages do increase the cost of living, but the strikes were brought about in large part by the fact that men could no longer live on their wages—and every housewife knows that.