Interviewee: Mary Wethington
IWY SC 690
Interviewer: Elaine Paul
Date: June 10-11, 1977
Mary Wethington was a housewife and mother who helped her husband run his business. She served as bookkeeper, secretary, and billing assistant. Wethington decided to attend the conference because she wanted to see the result of her taxes and also contribute her voice to the final report. Wethington was interested in workshops on the homemaker and also sex barriers in education. She believed that women’s interest activists are going to damage the social structure of the United States and to give women more rights than they presently have would be “socialistic.”
Elaine Paul: You know, on the level. Alright. Would you tell me your name please?
Mary Wethington: Mary Wethington
EP: Mary Wetherington?
MW: Like Washington, only it’s wet.
EP: Mmhm. Alright. Would you tell me what you do?
MW: I am housewife and mother and also I help my husband run his business. I’m his bookkeeper, his secretary, answer the phones, send out bills.
EP: And what made you decide to come to the conference?
MW: Well I heard about it and I wanted to come down and see what was going on. See what our tax money is going for. And make sure that I have a voice in what comes out of all this.
EP: How do you feel about the conference thus far? Have you found that it’s been helpful in any way? Have you had a chance to speak up and talk about things that interest you?
MW: I think that that’ll come about tomorrow, more than today, because tomorrow is the workshops. And that’s where I think the work is going to be done.
EP: Which workshops will you be going to?
MW: Oh let me see, I have them circled. Tomorrow morning I plan to go to the Elite Status of the Homemaker and in the afternoon… I can’t remember which (unintelligible at 1:27) I am going to.
EP: What was the last one?
MW: The Sex Barrier in Education
EP: Those are the ones you picked out of all the others?
MW: Yes, uh-huh.
EP: Well, I do hope they will be fruitful. Are there any particular points you want to make? Would you tell me what made you conscious of women’s issues in any way?
MW: Well, it’s on TV and radio all the time.
EP: I haven’t even seen it.
MW: I just… Pardon?
EP: Have you seen it on TV? I mean the notice about this conference on TV, you mean?
MW: Yes, but I heard about it first on the radio. And I’m just interested because I feel like some of the things that they’re trying to change, they’re trying to change too drastically. And I feel like they’re going to ruin the whole social structure of the United States it they do.
EP: So you’re going to suggest that we not push too fast? Is that what you mean?
MW: I don’t know whether I would put it that way. I feel like women already have many rights. And we already enjoy many rights. And a lot of things they seem to be pushing for sound socialistic to me. And I feel like that would be the downfall of this country. It would be like England.
EP: But we’re not pushing for anything here, though. We’re taking testimony to find what interests women. What are women’s concerns.
MW: Well I want them to know what my concerns are because I feel like this, whether they say it is going to be political or not, it is because it’s going to be given to our government. It’s going to be pointed out to our congressmen. Say, see? This is what the people from your state want. And if people like me, low income or middle income – I don’t exactly know where I fit – if I don’t come down here and tell them what I think, then they’re not going to know.
EP: Absolutely right. That’s (unintelligible at 3:39) this is what it’s for. To get the mood of the state. And, I don’t know, I’ve talked to people of all shades of opinion, but I think it’s extremely important to find out what people are thinking and I’m real pleased that we’re having it. But I think we’re going to try to keep this impartial and not try to push any particular issue here. I would hope we wouldn’t do that.
MW: I hope it doesn’t come to that because I don’t want it to. I just want to come and express my opinion and contribute whatever I can in the workshops. And just help wherever I can.
EP: Well that’s a commendable, I would say, a commendable attitude and I appreciate it very much. Thank you very…
End of interview