Here is an excerpt from an article, “Miss Ralph Goes to Washington,” about working in the Pentagon during World War II that Mother had published in The Rocking Chair Reader. She always told this story to explain why she was no longer a “Yellow Dog Democrat.” Enjoy this posthumous guest post as a follow-up from the prior post.
Finally one June day in 1942, the head of our Department, Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower, surprised us by walking into our office. He stepped in front of Major Clarkin’s desk and said, “I want to tell all of you goodbye. I’m going out where the boys are. You’ll have to take care of things here.”
Then he turned to me, introduced himself, and held out his hand. “Miss Ralph,” he said, after eyeing my name badge, “keep things going.” As though I could do anything–but what a story to tell my children and grandchildren!
God led me to Washington, I believe, to find my dream of a husband. For years I had looked forward to being a wife and mother. When I met Lawrence Bradley, who worked for the FBI, I was hooked. He was the most tender and kind man I’d ever met and a phenomenal Christian. Amazingly, we had grown up 25 miles apart but never met until we were both working in Washington. In April of 1943 we were married in the same country Tennessee church where my parents had taught all of us about the love of God. We then began our life together nearby.
In1952, our nation again faced a presidential election with two excellent candidates. Raised in a family of Yellow Dog Democrats (those who would vote Democratic even if a yellow dog was the candidate), I was faced with a serious decision. Would I–could I–dare vote Republican? It went against all I’d been taught all my life, and I knew that Adlai Stevenson was a good man who would make a good president. But I also knew that Eisenhower had helped to “make the world safe for democracy,” and he was the man whose hand I’d shaken and for whom I’d prayed all through the war. Head held high, I left the voting booth, knowing I’d made the right choice. I’d voted my heart and experience over family tradition, though my dyed-in-the-wool Democrat parents almost disowned me for that deed. Really.
I was elated when Eisenhower won. I knew the quality of this man, I knew prayers were constant on his behalf, and I knew that God truly had blessed America.
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