UP WITH THE alarm clock at 6 -- shower and fix bacon and eggs for Martin by 6:30, and ready to leave at 7with Paul to join the commuters winding along Canal Road to the District.
Picking up a cup of coffee at Pogo's Deli, I marvel again at the quick, delightful comments of Mano, the Greek counterman. Always a cheerful person, he adds to my day, and I will miss him.
Most of all I will miss my part-time job with the National Advisory Council on Women's Educational Programs, where I have worked for more than a year. Paul and I are to return to southern Illinois to campaign aggressively through to the election on Nov. 4.
As a "reentry woman" after 20 years of being the stay-at-home wife and mother, I had mixed feelings about my ability to do an effective job as legislative analyst, although as a lawyer and former Illinois legislator (and wife of a congressman) I am not unfamiliar with the process.
The council is a presidentially appointed body of 17 members charged by statute to advise the administration on matters of educational equity for women. Getting a handle on this job has been fascinating and challenging -- keeping up with Capitol Hill, the White House, the new Department of Education, getting to know the women in the advocacy groups.
I set up an agenda for the day: talk to Joy Simonson, executive director of the council, who supervises the staff, about our next meeting in D.C.; review the latest copies of the Federal Register and Congressional Record for any bills, regualations, statements or notices of meetings in which the council may have an interest; check on status of appropriation for the Women's Educational Equity Act; review and revise statement on the educational needs of Indian women and girls; review language in the administration's Youth Act of 1980; write up summary of amendments of interest to the council in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill.
Janice, Martine and I have sandwiches at our desk and talk about a staff party at Janice's home in Columbia, a farewell party for me, which sounds like it will be special.
I stuff some House bills in by breifcase which I hope to read on the bus, and head for Dupont Circle and the T2 which takes me to my door in Potomac. Martin is home and has started dinner -- a really helpful son. Tuesday
My day at home. Paul leaves at 7, Martin at 8 and I have that second cup of coffee before tackling the chores. With planning and determination I can finish by noon, and then do the grocery shopping, drop off clothes at the cleaners, mail a package to Sheila, our 19-year-old daughter at Wittenberg University in Ohio, and take Fanny, our dog, to the vet for a paravirus shot.
There is time to make cinnamon rolls for dinner, but we can't expect Paul home for dinner any night this week. Receptions with constituents' groups, a night session, keeping up with committee work and correspondence -- all of this means precious little time with his family. And -- since this is an election year -- he goes back home to southern Illinois every weekend.
Surprise! Paul calls at 8 to say that he'll be home for a late dinner. We celebrate by watching TV, making popcorn and reading stacks of magazines and papers. Wednesday
I plan to meet a friend for lunch who has just started back to work; we have much information to exchange and share.
Before noon, I place lots of calls, starting with Marge Rosenweign and Women's Equity Action League. Marge and I have joined forces to talk to Hill staff persons about the importance of the Women's Educational Equity Act, and the significance of the national and local programs. The Hill staffers have been helpful to us and appreciate information they can pass along to their congressional bosses. We set up appointments.
Then I pick up a sandwich and milk, meet Barbara Rosenfeld and join the crowds sitting on the grass in Farragut Square. Barbara and I both enjoy our work and our families. Returning to the office, I pause for a moment and listen to the man playing a flute on the corner -- everyone looks happy watching and listening.
Joy has called an afternoon staff meeting in which plans for the coming council meeting are reviewed. New council members have not been confirmed by the full Senate, so their presence is doubtful. Plans for a swearing-in ceremony are on hold.
Later, I take the Metro to Capitol Hill, and wait for Paul to finish his work -- another hour or two, he says. Since Martin is working at the service station this evening, we can go home together. We stop along Connecticut Avenue to try a little Italian restaurant we've read about, and it hits the spot. We talk again of the election, the campaign, the polls in southern Illinois and our plans for building a home on a few acres we have there. Suddenly, Paul is drawing a floor plan on the back of an envelope, and we enjoy this pleasant escape. Thursday
My last day of work this week. Time to have everything ready for the council meeting next week. Time also to talk to Fay Freemann, our new staff member, who will be responsible for civil rights issues in educational equity. We are concerned with an amendment that would hold up enforcemnt of Title IX cases of employment discrimination in colleges and universities until the Supreme Court resolves the issue.
How different these young women are from those I worked with more than 20 years ago. Their leadership, commitment, dedication, and unflappability gives me a good feeling. I can see our daughter, Sheila, one day being very much like these young women.
A phone call from Margaret Dunkle, president of the Federation of Organizations for Professional Women, brings the good news that the Women in Science provisions in the National Science Foundation reauthorization bill has a good chance of being adopted by the House in the conference committee. The council, more than two years ago made a significant contribution to the language in this bill and has followed it closely since then.
In a few minutes, I draft a press release to accompany a report that the council will disseminate next week.
A call from Elinor Bedell, co-chair of the Congressional Wives Task Force, reminds me that our group will be selecting a topic for study and discussion next year. Last year, the study was on the problems of the aging and aged. Perhaps a good topic would be the educational needs of displaced homemakers, rural women, single parents, minority women and handicapped women.
We make plans to have lunch soon and talk about the task force as well as our ongoing topic -- how our husbands are doing in their respective contests for reelection. Each of us will be heading home, making speeches, meeting the press and going door-to-door in support of Berkley (in Iowa) and Paul (in Illinois). Maybe the Task Force should write a handbook for congressional wives -- a how-to-do it book. We have to know the issues, remember names, be ready to ready to speak on a moment's notice, look presentable all day and try to maintain some calm. I really enjoy meeting the constituents -- 99 out of 100 are terrific. It's the one who says she hopes my husband will get cancer that puts me off. Friday
Paul and I leave the usual time, but this morning he has his suitcase, so I drop him off and turn around to go home. He's off to the hustings.
To banish a feeling of depression, I think about the family reunion we'll have on the weekennd prior to the election, with Sheila and Martin joining us in Carbondale for the final push, and perhaps Grandma Simon. Our children know how to campaign, and have been good workers in the past three congressional elections. On Nov. 4, we plan to plant some trees on our 10 acres, hoping that our home will be there by the next election.
Pick up some white paint for work I plan to do tomorrow. I like to have a project like redoing the bathroom when no one is home. Saturday
Martin has to be on his job from 8 to 8 today, so we have a big breakfast together. My painting project takes most of the morning. I can spend some time outdoors in the afternoon where the end-of-the-summer chores -- trimming, pulling out dead annuals, weeding and raking are waiting to be done. My tomato plants were a disaster this year, while the marigolds and petunias flourished in spite of the lack of rain. Martin will tackle the grass tomorrow.
Paul calls late in the evening to tell me that the polls are looking better for him. I call Sheila to share the good news. Sunday
Sunday is a quiet day, starting with church in the morning, and then home to read all the papers. A long chat with my mother in Illinois helps both of us to feel less lonely and catch up on news.
Martin's friends come over to play football, play records and enjoy a beautiful afternoon. We won't be able to cook outdoors much longer, so the grill comes out for hamburgers, and I make a big peach cobbler. l
Paul comes in at National Airport at 10 p.m. and I'm there to meet him. After the election, I hope we can have a few quiet days together.