By Mrs. Clyde R. Hoey, Governor’s Mansion, Raleigh
My father was a country doctor. As a little girl I went often with him to see his patients. I believe the memory of those drab women, the dingy dark houses, the sparsely furnished homes, the sickly babies and weary men, have had an influence on my whole life. I think the reason I appreciate those sweet country places now, all clean, most of them painted, with every sign of real interest in true living on every side, comes from my childhood memories. I ask myself, “Who or what has done this?” The answer to this has many angles, but to my mind the women have had more to do with it than they realize. The pioneers of this country, from its beginning, were men and women of vision, else we would now be lost in these days.
Those pioneer women in North Carolina knew and were willing to give the best years of their lives to showing and teaching the rest of us how really to live and make the most of our lives. Dr. Jane S. McKimmon led the way in this State, and today the leaders who have taken up her work are reaping the benefits of her struggles. There has been as much progress made by the women, in their plans for improved living, as has been made by the men in their improved farming. It is satisfying to know that most men realize their wives have as good judgment as they have, and are willing to talk and plan together. “Together” is the word that will carry any and all families to the best and fullest lives they can possibly live.
Our sons and daughters are being educated along the right lines today. Many of them will stay on the farms, for after all there is no life that can equal it. Young people reared on farms, it seems to me, have a background that will give them an understanding of security and satisfaction that no other group of our people can hope to possess. If we would keep our young people on the farms, we must make them realize that in the way of recreation there is as much in the country as there is in the town. Let them take time to dam up a small creek for swimming, have a tennis court, have a place for croquet or badminton. Why not a golf course out of some of these worn out fields, washed and wasted by neglect? These are things that will help to keep many on the farms. The farms have always supplied the towns with doctors, lawyers, preachers and merchants; they will continue to do this, I am sure.
In every community there will be some who are dependent on their landlord’s honesty and generosity. I have always believed it was cheaper to show these people how to live by giving them time for gardens, a pig, some chickens; and then, if need be to work out a plan for them to supply milk for their children. A well-fed person in all probability will be a well person. Health could and should be better on a farm than any other place.
In this good year of 1940 there is every reason to believe that, with less cotton and tobacco, there will be more chickens, cows, hogs, fruit and grain than we have ever had before. We are known as a people of clear heads, clean minds, determined wills and honest purposes. Couple these with sobriety and there is no state in the union can go further or do more good than ours.
There are many who think A. B. C. stores are the best way to handle the liquor question. I do not know, but the easier liquor is to get, the more it will be drunk. There is no good way to handle it, I’m sure. If in every home there lived a woman who without “nagging or preaching” would go about her warfare on liquor in the same quiet way she accepts her other duties, I feel shore it would make no difference to her how it is sold or handled, for she and her household would not be affected.
It is to these endeavors I call the farm women of North Carolina to their great work and opportunity.
The above was published in the June 1940 issue of The Southern Planter magazine. Mrs. Hoey’s husband, Clyde, was governor of North Carolina from 1937 to 1941. He then served in the U.S. Senate. Mrs. Hoey, the former Bessie Gardner of Shelby, N.C., died in 1943.