In my last post I quoted from a radio program delivered by Margaret Sanger discussing the hardships women face in marriage and the importance of marriage counseling. Sanger described a young mother she met the day before on the train:
…she was beginning to feel very bitter toward her husband because she said that she could tell from his letters that he was actually enjoying the ↑excitement of↓ war! Already he had been to Iceland, England, Africa, and Italy! Oh, she was willing to admit there were plenty of hardships connected with it… but what had she been doing all this long while? Just staying home day after day minding the baby! “When he gets home,” she told me, “he can just sit with the baby for a while and she what it’s like. I’m going out and have some fun!”
I could see her point of view… what woman couldn’t. You don’t have to be a war bride to feel trapped… many a house-wife gets that feeling just watching her husband go off to the office every morning while she stays home facing the same meals, dishes, and children. How many divorces have their beginnings in just this very feeling of imprisoned futility.
The date of the program was July 19, 1944. This was just a little over a month after D Day and before the Normandy breakout. World War II was very much still raging in Europe, and American men were still fighting and dying there. Yet at this very time we had (if we believe the story), a woman complaining to strangers on a train about the exciting adventures her husband was enjoying in the European theater (most likely as a result of being drafted). Moreover, this was a story Sanger felt perfectly comfortable sharing on the radio at home to the wives and mothers of US servicemen, as those men continued to fight and die overseas.
American Cemetery at Normandy photo released as public domain by Bjarki Sigursveinsson.