Donna Stone It was during the July 4th holiday and I was sitting on the deck with Alex [Stone, Donna's husband]. The telephone rang and it was Gabrielle Kerouac [Motherland Mothers G.M.]. She asked me if I would be interested in the job. Without a blink, I said I would be interested.
CBA You didn't even ask your husband or children what they thought about the idea?
Stone After I hung up the phone I told Alex and he was thrilled. I have spent a lot of time at home cleaning and raising two children. Don't get me wrong, it has been rewarding, and I would not have traded that life for anything else until now. My children are grown and my husband cares more about fishing than anything else these days, so it is the perfect moment for me to do this.
CBA Well, after losing your first game, you won the next two. Did you convene a team meeting when you first took over?
Stone I had a very brief, "Hello, I'm the new manager" meeting and then held a series of one-on-one meetings with players and coaches. I'm still in the process of meeting and talking to all the players. As you know the morale on this team is not too high.
CBA Do you have any major changes in store before the season ends?
Stone I don't know yet. I think it is likely that I'll bring on a few new coaches. As far as player changes, all that is up in the air.
CBA Do you care to name what new coaches you have in mind?
Stone I probably shouldn't name names but I'd like to know what Margaret Anderson and June Cleaver are up to these days.
CBA The word most frequently mentioned in connection with the Stone Family is wholesome. Many of the mothers on your team come from environments that are more dysfunctional. Do you think you will have a difficult time relating to the players?
Stone What makes the Stone family so wholesome is that I have a good, hard-working and faithful husband. Since Alex is a pediatrician we are able to sustain a comfortable middleclass existence in Hilldale. People joke about my house being the cleanest in Hilldale but really everybody's home in Hilldale is spic and span clean. My children were well provided for, neither coddled nor ignored. They encountered the typical adolescent problems, self-esteem, dating, and conformity versus independence. Lord knows in over 270 30-minute episodes over 8 years I solved a lot of problems typical of middleclass families in the suburbs in the late 1950s and early 1960s. I think my skill as a problem-solver will fit nicely with this team.
CBA Don't you think the image of motherhood you represent, one forged in the post-war 1950s has been transformed substantially? The stay-at-home housewife slash mother is, for a number of reasons, fading. Does Hilldale even have a daycare center?
Stone No Hilldale does not have a daycare center. Mothers in Hilldale do not work outside of the home. Our husbands and children come first. I remember an early episode when someone left a newborn baby on my doorstep. We were shocked that someone could abandon a child. I took the baby into our home and insisted on keeping it until the real mother was found. Well, it turned out that the real mother had died during childbirth. The newborn's father was our milkman and in desperation he left his child for me to raise. Fathers in Hilldale go to work, they do not stay home and raise children. There is, despite the sadness of the story, a happy ending. I introduced the milkman to my house cleaner and the two hit it off and got married and she is now raising the baby and, I hear, another is in the oven.
CBA Hilldale, you understand, is suspended in time and is really somewhere over the rainbow, right? It's not like that in the so-called real world, not today.
Stone Well, like we say at the Hilldale PTA, "Our way is the American way."
CBA Does Walt Disney live in Hilldale?
Stone Are you being facetious?
CBA My point is that the image of family poured into families across the nation on Thursday nights was something more idealized than real. Woman would joke that you look more beautiful cleaning the house than they looked at their weddings.
Stone The Donna Reed Show was not a documentary. It was entertainment presented by the American Broadcasting Company for the enjoyment of their audiences.
CBA You are right. And I apologize for being so contentious with you. You were a great mom and very sexy too. I remember watching the show when I was eleven or so and thinking you were sexier than your teenage daughter Mary was. There must have been a lot of fan mail from men telling you how they wished their own wives were like you.
Stone There were some letters like that, mostly from desperate men who ignored their wives. More letters came from women and they always were supportive and positive. This was gratifying, especially since our sponsors were trying to reach these women because many of these housewives were making the household purchasing decisions.
CBA Well, that's about all the time we have right now. Thanks very much for spending some time with us and good luck with the team.
Stone Okay, you are very welcome and thanks a lot.
Links to Other Manager Interviews