BALTIMORE, Sept. 17 (AP)-The 12-year-old daughter of F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose novel, “This Side of Paradise,” dealt with the American flapper some years ago, thinks that most of the girls and boys about whom her father wrote are rather incompetent parents today.
Mr. Fitzgerald is inclined to agree with that opinion.
“Maybe I'm getting old-fashioned,” he said. “You know the type-old man Fitzgerald telling what's wrong with the world. But in most sections of the country my crowd aren't doing so well in the mother and father role.”
“They don't seem to think a lot about their children,” said Frances Scott Fitzgerald, the daughter. “They think the kids are going to be taught everything at school.”
“Exactly,” put in Fitzgerald. “They sit on their fat hams and leave their own jobs to teachers.”
“How about the fathers?” Frances was asked.
“They don't see them very often, except when they come home from business and say go upstairs and be quiet or run around to the other side of the house and play.”
“Do children your age respect their parents?”
“Oh, yes, they respect them, I guess. It's just that they don't know them so well. The parents are interested in their children, I think, but-well, they seem to want to do something for them but don't know how.”
“I think one thing she was driving at,” said the author later, “is that my contemporaries have found their own lack of religious and moral convictions makes them incompetent to train their children.”
Perched on the rail of the porch surrounding his rambling old country home, near Baltimore, the novelist continued:
“On the whole, the flappers turned out better than the boys of their age. They are the ones who just missed the war but blame everything that's wrong with them on the war. It's an unhappy generation.
“Right now Zelda (Mrs. Fitzgerald) and I are more interested in the next crop of prom girls than in those of today, or of our day. They are the kids with ex-flappers for mothers and they are having pretty sorry treatment over most of this country. Their mothers will let them do anything just so long as it does not interfere with their own pleasures.
“Perhaps in the morning they'll give some attention to their children, but that afternoon they'll hunch themselves over a bridge table and pack the kids off to the movies where they'll get a two-hour dose of the ‘Sins of Susie.’”
Published in The New York Times newspaper (18 September 1933).