Thursday, August 30, 2012


When The Farmer's Wife printed Sally's first letter (my August 24th post) at the same time they also printed the magazine's response and then a second response by Sally. They are both rather long, and sometimes not terribly interesting, (although Sally's was much more), so I will just quote a bit from each letter.

The magazine's response, January 1927: "In regard to your being 'ungainfully employed,' we believe that this is a mistake and a very serious one. You are what is called in the world of business 'a working partner' in a productive enterprise. This makes you 'indirectly productive' and gives you part credit for every dollar the farm produces. The fact that you do 'no outside work' has nothing to do with the matter, providing that you are 'a working partner.'

We congratulate you on your fine family and, in earnest admiration, say that the raising of ten splendid American citizens is success enough for one woman."

Sally response in part: "Your reply is received with a feeling of mingled pride and shame. Why I wrote that first letter is more than I can say. I sat down and wrote it on the impulse of the moment. Such a mean, selfish, one-sided letter, I know it must have sounded to you and am heartily sorry for it." (In truth, The Farmer's Wife enjoyed Sally's letter and were not offended at all.)

Sally continues, "Your letter came as a great blessing to me. I saw the world only from my own very narrow viewpoint and that day I certainly had a acute attack of self-pity. I felt that, like Atlas, I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. I never stopped to consider the fact that I have a fine husband to share it all with me and that it is his sense and foresight that has kept us even--as we are..."

"I asked you, 'Do we get even honorable mention' and you answered, 'Yes, and more.' Well, to tell the truth, I felt as if I had received first prize when you wrote to ask me if you could come to my place and write my story of Success. I certainly consider this a great honor and appreciate it very much but I must answer, 'No, not yet.'"

Because she writes, "We still live on a rented farm, with positively no modern conveniences, either in barn or house. We have had very good luck in raising our family and success in measure. Everything we have, has come by hard work. I believe now you will see how we are situated. Ours is not a Success Story."

The Farmer's Wife, however, disagreed with her, and talked Sally into visiting her place and writing a Success Story about her. Her story was published in the June 1927 issue, and I will print the beginning of this interview below.

By Grace Farrington Gray

I have seen Sally Sod.

"Then there is a Sally Sod?"

"Who is she?"

"What is she like?"

"Is she as jolly as she writes?"

"Is she a Success?"

Not so fast---please. You shall "know all" as quickly as it can be told.

Sally Sod is as real as you yourself. Her every-day name is Mrs. Elwyn Green or to use her personal signature, Lorretto (yes "o," not "a") Hughes Green. And she lives in Wayne County, Michigan. She is just as full of sprightly good-nature as you would guess from her story and is ten times a success as the mother of ten sturdy, wholesome, delightful children who are bubbling over with rollicking fun and who are nevertheless making good in school.

Success? Why, you feel it as far as you can see and "feel" the house. But it is success of a definite and specific kind...It is a family success--home success--success of the very best sort.

More of Sally's interview in my next post.