Sunday, September 28, 2008

Words of Wisdom

I've been reading The Button Box:A Daughter's Loving Memoir of Mrs. George S. Patton by Ruth Ellen Totten Patton (the younger of the Pattons' two daughters). I've not been able to just sit and read, with some of the other things I've had going on, but when I know I'll have some "down time" (waiting for appointments, break time when I am subbing), I bring it along.

I've got a lot of stuff in storage right now, and I needed to go dig something out. My storage place is right next to a Sonic Drive-in, so I figured I'd grab some lunch before "excavating" for my toaster oven...

The first thing that grabbed me today was something I think would be very much at home on some of the threads over at Cassandra's place:

A marriage is like a tree; sometimes it is in bud; sometimes in blossom; sometimes in leaf, sometimes in fruit, and then; sometimes the leaves will all fall off and it will look dead, but if you keep on cultivating the roots, always cultivating the roots, it will come alive again. (p. 261)

Not too much after that, Ruth Ellen relates the story of a young lieutenant and a lady friend who came to see Mrs. Patton during the Patton's last time in Hawaii. Seems the young lady had gotten thrown out of her family's home after "getting into trouble (remember, this was the 1930s). The woman who "helped" the young lady through the birth of her child up the baby up for adoption and introduced her to a man who "promised her a good job in San Francisco" (p. 266), and the poor girl ended up in a whore house in Honolulu. The young lieutenant met her shortly after her arrival and "fell in love with her, bought her time-book from the Madam who was a well-known and respected figure in Honolulu [ed. - prostitution was regulated and legal there at that time; remember that Hawaii was not yet a state], and intended to marry her. (p. 266)" He wanted Mrs. Patton to "check her out" and hoped for a "seal of approval" from Mrs. Patton (p. 266). Mrs. Patton did approve. Apparently, the lieutenant later became a lieutenant general in the Air Force, and he and the lady (who "was an asset to him" [p. 267]) had a successful marriage and four children.

Mrs. Patton, being a concerned mother, worried about the virtue of her two girls remaining intact. Ruth Ellen's recollections of the lessons:

Ma had told us from as long as I can remember that a woman's only truly personal possessions are her reputation and her virginity; you inherit your maiden name from your father; your husband trusts you with his family name when you marry; but your virginity is yours and yours alone to give to whom you choose, and if you give it away for nothing you get nothing in return. She said that virginity was a physical fact and that chastity was a spiritual virginity and it was to be handled with equal care. After Bee [ed. - the Pattons' eldest daughter] and I resented being different we started to glory in it, and keeping ourselves for Prince Charming in his golden cloak was very real. (p. 267)

If more mothers would teach this to their daughter today, and if those daughters would take those lessons to heart, I think certain things would be so much better today than they are...


Kate said...

Miss Ladybug, It was so nice to meet you this weekend. Thanks for coming down to SpouseBUZZ, and for the transportation. I look forward to seeing you again next year :)

Miss Ladybug said...


It was great to meet you, too. Thank Carren for inviting me, else I'd probably not have gone (although I "know" Carrie C. who has attended ones before, and she had hoped to attend, but couldn't). I did pop over to your place tonight, and left a few comments. I'm looking forward to going to the one at Fort Hood next year! I hope we'll be able to see each other again.