In thinking over the intimate things of our life together, I have difficulty in deciding what the finest features of it were. There was so much that made it rich, so much to make me realize I was blessed beyond any one else, that I am indebted to the world forever for the color that living with Carl Parker gave to existence. Perhaps one of the most helpful memories to me now is the thought of his absolute faith in me. From the time we were first in love, it meant a new zest in life to know that Carl firmly believed there was nothing I could not do. For all that I hold no orthodox belief in immortality, I could no more get away from the idea that, if I fail in anything now—why I can’t fail—think of Carl’s faith in me! About four days before he died, he looked up at me once as I was arranging his pillow and said, so seriously, “You know, there isn’t a university in the country that wouldn’t give you your Ph.D. without your taking an examination for it.” He was delirious, it is true; but nevertheless it expressed, though indeed in a very exaggerated form, the way he had of thinking I was somebody! I knew there was no one in the world like him, but I had sound reasons for that. Oh, but it is wonderful to live with some one who thinks you are wonderful! It does not make you conceited, not a bit, but it makes a happy singing feeling in your heart to feel that the one you love best in the world is proud of you. And there is always the incentive of vowing that some day you will justify it all.
The fun of dressing for a party in a hand-me-down dress from some relative, knowing that the one you want most to please will honestly believe; and say on the way home, that you were the best-looking one at the party! The fun of cooking for a man who thinks every dish set before him is the best food he ever ate—and not only say it, but act that way. ("That was just a sample. Give me a real dish of it, now that I know it’s the best pudding I ever tasted!”)
As soon as the I.W.W. article was done, Carl had to begin on his paper to be read before the Economic Association, just after Christmas, in Philadelphia. That was fun working over. “Come up here and let me read you this!” And we’d go over that much of the paper together. Then more reading to Miss Van Doren, more correctings, finally finishing it just the day before he had to leave. But that was partly because he had to leave earlier than expected. The Government had telegraphed him to go on to Washington, to mediate a threatened longshoremen’s strike. Carl worked harder over the longshoremen than over any other single labor difficulty, not excepting the eight-hour day in lumber. Here again I do not feel free to go into details. The matter was finally, at Carl’s suggestion, taken to Washington.