Mrs. Billy Graham addressed 11,000 women in Anaheim, California, last month, and admitted nervously it was the largest audience she had ever faced. Mrs. Ronald Reagan was hostess for the luncheon, part of preparations for the Southern California Billy Graham crusade that began September 26. The sit-down meal was the largest ever served under one roof west of the Mississippi; nearly half of the audience watched on closed-circuit TV.
In a soft, conversational voice—“quite different” from the louder, faster style of her husband, commented one listener—Mrs. Graham discussed practical Christianity. Using the Bible, homey personal anecdotes, and a wide variety of literary references, Mrs. Graham said her design for living is to please God and her key to rearing children is to listen.
“My advice to single women is to marry a man you don’t mind adjusting to,” said the woman who married Billy Graham twenty-six years ago. After the wedding, she added, it is up to the wife to create an atmosphere of love, appreciation, and encouragement for her husband: “Find a new way every day to tell him how wonderful he is.” For wives who think their husbands need changing, she advised: “Make him happy, not good. Leave the miracles to God.”
At a press conference before the luncheon, the mother of five children, now a grandmother, defended young people. “I think our teen-agers today are the most intelligent, most gifted, most informed crop of young people that the United States·—and perhaps the world—has ever seen,” Ruth Graham said. They have reacted in “intellectual disenchantment with the emptiness of society as they see it … with the hypocrisy of their elders.”
Saying she had “quite a few friends” among the so-called hippies, she added: “Long hair and beards don’t bother me. In fact, I like a handsome beard; it’s a good way to tell the boys from the girls. What’s important is what’s inside.”
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