But when the whole family went for a joy ride, we piled Nancy and Carol, Brian junior and George, into the roomy tonneau. .. with Nancy charged with seeing that no one stood up on the back seat (not to save the leather upholstery but to protect the child); I sat up front with Marie, and Brian drove.
The picnic basket and the lemonade jug were carried, in the tonneau, Carol being charged with keeping her brothers out of the picnic. We would drive out to Swope Park, picnic there, and see the http://storemodern.ru zoo animals, then joy ride again after the picnic, perhaps clear out to Raytown or even Hickman Mills. .. then home with the children falling asleep, to a supper of picnic remains and cups of hot soup.
1912 was a good year, despite a blizzard touted as the ‘worst since'86' (it may have been; I don't remember the ‘86 blizzard too clearly). It was a campaign year, with a noisy three-sided race, Mr Taft running for re-election, Teddy Roosevelt at outs with his former protégé Mr Taft and running on his own ‘Bull Moose' (Progressive Republican) ticket, and Professor Wilson of Princeton, now Governor of his state, running on the Democratic ticket.
That last was a surprise outcome to an unbelievable month-long convention in which it seemed for days that Missouri's favourite son, Mr Champ Clark, Speaker of the House, would be nominated. Mr Clark led for twenty-seven ballots and had a clear majority on several but not the two thirds majority the Democrats required. Then Mr Wilham Jennings Bryan made a bargain with Dr Wilson, to be named Secretary of State, and Governor Wilson was nominated on the forty-sixth ballot after many of the delegates had gone home.
I followed all this in the Star with deep interest as I had read Dr Wilson's monumental (eighteen volumes! ) History of the American People, borrowing it a volume at a time from the Kansas City Public Library. But I did not mention my interest to my husband as I suspected that he favoured Colonel Roosevelt.
The election day was on the fifth but we did not learn the outcome at once - three days I think it was. Woodrow was born Monday afternoon the eleventh at 3. 0 p. m. , and arrived squalling. Betty Lou midwifed me; as usual I was too fast for my doctor and this time Briney was at work, as I had told him that it couldn't be sooner than the end of that week.
Betty Lou said, ‘Have you picked a name for this one? '
I said, ‘Yes. Ethel. '
She held the baby up. ‘Take another look; that name doesn't match this tassel; better cave it. Why don't you name him after our new President? That should give him a running start. '
I don't remember what I said as Brian arrived about then, Betty Lou having telephoned him. She greeted him at the door with, ‘Come meet Woodrow Wilson Smith, President of, the United States in 1952. '
Sounds good. ' Brian marched into our bedroom, imitating a brass band. The name stuck; we registered it with the Foundation and with the County.
When I thought it over, the name pleased me. I wrote a note to Dr Wilson, telling him of his namesake and saying that I was praying for the success of his administration. I received back, first, a note from Mr Patrick Tumulty, acknowledging my letter and saying that it was being brought to the attention of the President Elect ‘but you will understand, Madam, that recent events have flooded him with mail. It will be several weeks before all of it can be answered personally. '
Shortly after Christmas I did receive a letter from Dr Wilson, thanking me for having honoured him in the naming of my son. I framed it and had it for years. I wonder if it is still in existence somewhere on time line two?
The 1912 Presidential campaign had been fought on the issue of the high cost of living. The Smith family was not suffering but prices, food prices especially, were indeed rising - while as usual the farmers were complaining that they were not receiving even cost-of-production prices for what they grew. This may well have been so - I recall that wheat was less than a dollar a bushel.
But I did not buy wheat by the bushel; I bought food at a local grocery store and from my huckster and milkman and so forth. Again Brian asked me if I needed a raise in household allowance.
‘Possibly, ' I answered. ‘We are getting by, but prices are going up. A dozen freshly-gathered eggs cost five cents now, and so does a quart of grade A. The Holsum Bread Company is talking about changing from two sizes at a nickel and a dime to two sizes at ten cents and fifteen cents. Want to bet that this does not mean a raise in price by the pound - I repeat, by the pound, not by the loaf - of at least twenty per cent? '
‘Find yourself another sucker, sister; I already bet on the election. I was thinking about meat prices. '
‘Up. Oh, just a penny or two a pound, but it goes on. But I've noticed something else. Mr Schontz used to include a soup bone without being asked. And some liver for Random. Suet for birds in the winter. Now those things happen only if I ask for them and, when I do, he doesn't smile. Just this week he said that he was going to have to start charging for liver as people were beginning to eat it, not just cats. I don't know how I'm going to explain this to Random. '
‘Let's keep first things first, my love; my wedding present must be fed. How you behave towards cats here below determines your status in Heaven. '
‘That's straight out of the Bible; you can look it up. Have you talked to Nelson about cat food? '
‘It would not occur to me to do so. Betty Lou, yes; Nelson, no. '
‘Just remember that he is a professional economist concerning the growing and marketing of foodstuffs and he has a handsome sheepskin to prove it. Nel tells me that, starting any time now, cats and dogs are going to have their own food industry - fresh food, packaged food, canned food, special stores or special departments in stores, and national advertising. Big business. Millions of dollars. Even hundreds of millions:
‘Are you sure he wasn't joking? Nelson will joke about anything. '
‘I don't think he was. He was quite serious and he had figures to back his remarks. You have seen how gasoline powered machinery has been displacing horses, not just here in the city, but on farms - slowly but more each year. So we have out-of-work horses. Nelson says not to worry about those horses; the cats will eat them. '
‘What a horrid thought! '