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Paul V. Coates – Confidential File, Nov. 20, 1959

November 20, 2009 |  2:00 pm

Nov. 20, 1959, Mirror Cover

Drama in Housewife's Life Is Fraught With

Paul Coates    I've come to the labored conclusion that housewives lead more interesting lives than career girls.

    This, I've done without benefit of polls or surveys.  In fact, I've even ignored those subtle inferences in the Kinsey report.

    It's strictly my own, personal conclusion.  I reached it myself.

    I'm probably dead wrong, but, the way I see it, it's better to come up with a wrong conclusion than to just sit around and come up with no conclusion at all.

    You know the old saying, idle minds gather no moss.

    But I digress.

    My conclusion (which in case you got here late, is that housewives lead more interesting lives than career girls) is based on years of observation as a professional journalist.

Nov. 20, 1959, Cohen, Bombing     We journalists come in frequent contact with both groups.  It's part of our job.  It's as much a detail of our routine as sharpening our pencils every night before closing our roll-top desks, or picking the brown crust off our paste pots every morning.

    My conclusion is that, over the long run, housewives come up with more interesting stories than career girls.

    A career girl, for example, has never called me up with an exclusive about a cat stuck in a tree.  Yet, some housewives witness this thrilling news event practically daily.

    And take hoses that burrow themselves into the ground.  Tipsters on those stories are invariably housewives.

    I could go on, but I'm tiered of the subject. 

    Instead, I'll tell you what's been happening, over a period of 10 years, to an Inglewood housewife who contacted me with her story the other day.

    I'm not using her real name.  She requested that I omit it because it would be embarrassing to her.  Actually, it could ruin her reputation.  You know how neighbors gossip and build these things out of proportion.

    To protect her identity, I'll call her Mrs. Small.  (Which is a good clue.  In fact, it's about as close  to her real name as I can get without blurting it out.)

    On a brisk November morning 10 years ago, Mrs. Small stepped outside her front door to pick up the morning's mail and found, among the usual trash one finds in one's mailbox, a copy of Household magazine.

Nov. 20, 1959, Canned Laughs     She had never subscribed to the magazine; yet it was addressed to her name.  She made no inquiry that month, but after receiving the December and January issues, she sat down and wrote the magazine a letter stating that she had never subscribed to it, and had no intention of paying for it.

    No answer came.  Just the magazine, regularly, every month.

    After a year, she wrote another letter.  Still no answer.

    Two years passed.  The magazine kept coming.  She wrote a third letter.  Again, she received no reply.

    She waited two more years after that for the magazine to stop, but it didn't.  So she dispatched Letter No. 4, reiterating that she never subscribed.

    Still, no answer.

    But Household came as regularly as the gas bill.  Five years, six, seven, eight, nine.  Long before, she had decided that it was pointless to write any more protests.

    Then, on Jan. 21 of this year, she received a letter from Curtis Circulation Co., which handles the Saturday Evening Post, Ladies' Home Journal and other magazines.

The Suspense Is Terrific

    "Dear Reader," it began.  "As you probably know, Household magazine ceased publication with the November issue.  By special arrangement with the publisher and as a service to you, we have agreed to fill out the unexpired portion of your subscription with a Curtis magazine . . . "

    Given the choice of four magazines, Mrs. Small didn't hesitate.  She selected the Ladies' Home Journal.

    Just last month -- nine months after she sent in the card -- she received her first copy.  And she notes by the addressograph slip on the cover that her "subscription" will finally run out in July of 1960.

    Find me a career girl with a story to top that one and I'll eat my battered felt hat.