Margaret Jean Harkey

As Interveiwed by Olivia Hardick, March 20, 2011
"Husbands were supposed to control their wives. If the men couldnít keep their wives at home then they werenít controlling their wives."
Margaret Jean Harkey

Introductory Profile: About Margaret Jean Harkey

Womenís rights have come a long way. I wanted to learn more about what it was like for women growing up in the 1940s and 1950s, before it was common for them to go to college or have a profession. I had always heard that back then girls were discouraged from continuing their education or having a career. Jean Harkey confirmed this for me during my interview. Even though at the time, she didnít see the situation as unjust, she came to believe that it was unfair as the womenís rights movement was established.

Jean Harkey is a blond-haired 71-year-old woman. She is five foot with a bright smile. Mrs. Harkey is caring and loves her family and has been widowed twice.

Jean Harkey grew up in a very small town called Elsberry, Missouri. She was the second youngest of nine children, one of whom died as a small child. Both father and mother worked during her childhood. Her father worked as a blacksmith until cars and trucks became common in the country; he then became a mechanic. Her mother worked in a plant nursery. She graduated high school with a class of thirty-one students but did not go on to college. Immediately after high school, she worked as a telephone operator and then moved to Saint Louis, Missouri, to work for Rexall Drug Company. In 1961, she married Rick Fleck. She and Rick had two daughters and four granddaughters. Rick died of lung cancer in 2002, and she remarried to Bob Harkey. Bob died in 2010.During her life, Mrs. Harkey has been a homemaker, an employment agency employee, and a small business owner. At one point, she owned an employment agency that specialized in bank personnel.

During the interview the mood was very lively. Mrs. Harkey seemed to enjoy talking about her past. She didnít seem that she was suffering in any way from discrimination as young women because at the time, she accepted things as they were. I think the interview was very successful. We both learned a lot and had a good time.