Carol Truly Enjoys Being
"Just a Housewife"

by Robyn Rickard
Honolulu Advertiser, January 30, 1969

 

It is most unusual in this age of emancipated womanhood to find one who doesn't object to being called "just a housewife." Moreover, Carol Wedemeyer admits without a qualm that she enjoys housework.

Seems unbelievable? Not after you have met the vivacious, attractive wife of councilman Herman Wedemeyer for five minutes.

Honest, outgoing, you know she means it when she says, "I enjoy our home. I know many people feel it is unsophisticated to say 'I'm a housewife,' but I think it's great to keep house for people you love."

Carol Wedemeyer put some of her thoughts into words as she sipped a cup of coffee. "It may sound a little drab, but I don't even mind washing and ironing. I do have a woman in to iron now, and it's a help, but I still touch things up. It seems to me the main problem in doing housework is not having it appreciated. When they get no reaction from the family, women think...'why bother?'

"And I must admit, I might feel differently if I weren't told once in a while how nice the house looks. Oh, I don't mean Herman and the kids hand out thank yous, but they are appreciative, and it's these little things that are important.

"I'm not much of a cook. I'm more of a dumper...don't ask me for a recipe," she said and smiled. "The kids told me that some of the other wives gave recipes in their interviews, that I should try to produce one, if I were asked for it. But I decided not to.

"I have just recently taken up sewing though, but nothing I've done so far has included a zipper."

"If you love it, your housekeeping is probably well organized," we ventured.

She nodded her head. "I'm a list-maker. I have a list for everything...and pictures are all in albums, scraps in scrapbooks--we've got them by the ton. And I can't stand an unanswered letter. I write them all by hand, and have a variety of stationary--to match my mood.

"I do all of Herman's correspondence, too. They have only two or three girls for the councilmen at City Hall, so I help out."

What made Herman run?

"I think as you grow older you realize the need for community service...you are more conscious of city government. You have doubts about certain things and would like to right them if you could," she said seriously. "That's what inspired Herman."

The talk of "growing older" didn't jibe with Mrs. Wedemeyer's appearance. "How do you account for your slim, youthful look?" we asked.

"Oh, I sleep a lot, " she said and laughed. "I'm not really so slim. I used to be a size 8 to 10. Now I consider myself a 'fat 10.' I don't play golf...I just caddy or try to talk a good game. I don't go out with Herman on tournaments because I think I make him a little nervous."

Mrs. Wedemeyer said the recent campaign helped keep her weight down.

"This was Herman's first try in politics and I can truthfully say that just three people did most of the work. Richard Cleveland and his wife--and I. We had no headquarters. We worked in the Clevelands' apartment, and it was trial and error all the way.

"Fortunately, things worked out. Timing was right, and we aimed most of the advertising toward TV and newspapers. We didn't print pamphlets, because we felt people didn't really read them. Every time I went to a rally and saw the number of pamphlets left on the chairs, I couldn't help thinking of all that money wasted. People didn't even have the courtesy to carry them off.

"Herman is a good and fair man, who wants the best deal for everyone. He wants people to tell him what they need. We were very fortunate in this election, and I felt badly about those who lost. It isn't just the financial loss--but the physical effort as well.

"Herman feels differently. He's competitive and used to the 'best man win' philosophy. I'm more the cooperative type. I like to keep everything going smoothly."

Being in the political limelight has already made some difference in the Wedemeyers' lives. "The phone rings about twice as much and we go out a lot more," Mrs. Wedemeyer said.

"And of course, I can't avoid getting involved. I read up on problems, and when people ask 'What do you think about so and so?' I give my opinion--never my husband's. I never discuss issues, I leave that to Herman."

Unlike some of the other councilmen who resigned their jobs, Herman is remaining with the same company he was with before the election--the Del Chemical Corporation.

"The company changed his job from sales representative to public relations, so it wouldn't be so tiring. Oh, yes, the election has made another change," she said and smiled.

"I find now that I can't go running out to the market to pick up a can of something without my face on. I mean makeup. Big glasses help, but you always seem to run into someone," she explained.

Mrs. Wedemeyer is probably more conscious of her appearance than most women since she is a former fashion model. The smartly-turned-out brunette said she retired from her career about the time bikinis came in.

"I was a sportswear model, and I decided there was just no use in kidding myself, so I bowed out gracefully."

She was modeling and teaching in a charm school at the time she met her husband. "I knew of him in school, of course, but didn't meet him until about 17 years ago. He was home from Oakland, where he had been living. He was divorced at the time, and I had been widowed and had two small children. A mutual friend introduced us, and we were married two years later."

Carol said her daughter, Kittie, is now married to Jon Sutherland, and her son, Douglas Wedemeyer is a senior at Whittier College. The Sutherlands have an eight-month old baby, Blair.

Herman has four children from his previous marriage and they are all on the Mainland. Daughter Karen (Mrs. Joe Evans) is working for her master's degree. Herman Jr. is in the Navy and twins Kurt and Kris, 19, are in California schools.

Their family in Honolulu is a close-knit one. "The children were our whole life, and of course we missed them when they went away. Luckily, the first year that Kittie was in school, Herman was working in New York, so we were close to her school. Kittie and I are good friends, and I enjoy having her here now."

She said when Doug went to the Mainland for school, he left a big hole in their lives, but she filled it with more activities. "I don't understand when people say they are bored. I can't find enough hours in a day. When the next day starts, I always have a 'leftover.'"

This busy housewife and her husband have always spent a lot of time with their children. "We've had no problems with the generation gap. Maybe it is because we were just lucky, or because we enjoy the youngsters, and now they are our good friends.

"We've lived quiet lives. Herman likes to play golf early on Sunday mornings and come home for lunch. Then we watch sports on TV in the afternoon. Herman is really quite a 'teley' man," she said with a smile, and added, "This may sound corny, but he is an unusual husband. He is not only appreciative, but he is a real pleasure to live with. He has a marvelous disposition and never gets riled.

"Whatever happens in his political life, I wouldn't want it to change our close relationship as a family. I treasure this most of all," she said.

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