Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Caroline Thompson Simmons
SIMMONS: I had a marvelous summer in Geneva, met people from all over the world. Later on lots of them became representatives at the UN and other international organs and I'd run into them again. I must say, too, that my college majors, art history and archeology, have stood me in very good stead, because in almost every country you go to there's something you can follow up on. In every country we've lived in I was always interested in what went on in the art line. I suppose no(she laughs) one would do better to study economics, probably. Or learn computer science, in which I have to confess I'm absolutely illiterate. I think I'm going to finish my life dealing with things out of touch, not through a machine but some other way!
Q: Leaping back to 1936, could we talk a bit about the Wives Group in that period. I gather you all knew one another, there was really no need for the formal organization was there?
SIMMONS: Unless you want to have a project and do good works I think that that would have been nice. But I remember that we were very worried about the young wives who lived even that early “way out” by Falls Church and Silver Spring, places like that. We wanted to bring them in somehow and social gatherings seemed the way to do it.
Q: I have a demographic chart of the people I've interviewed, and it is interesting to see how demographics move out from Sheridan Circle and Georgetown and Chevy Chase to unbelievably far out today.
SIMMONS: It was in the 50s,I think, when we were trying to get closer to the more distant young wives, they would have us to their houses. I can remember goin(laughing) to the end of nowhere in Silver Spring. That was when I was so terribly busy with Mrs. Dulles and all of that. It was just too much, yet it was very nice of them to invite us to go out there. It was a simple affair, really, a sort of coffee, not a meal. They were trying to make it a neighborhood get-together, to which you were invited as a sort of, to put it crudely, VIP. They wanted to have “senior wives”.
Q: Well, it's true, because coming into the Service as a junior officer's wife I can remember Peggy Beam very kindly inviting me over because she knew my husband's family, that's how I was included in these things.
SIMMONS: Well that's it! I was talking to Dorothy Kidder on the phone this morning and she said, “There must be some reason why I had nerve enough to talk to you because I was so junior!” (laughter)I came in more at the top of the Service, I never was a junior wife so I never had to go through all that.