Even the small southern town I grew up in had its social hierarchy. And, like many places doctors were on the top of the list. My father was a pharmacist. My mother, always socially conscious, referred to his occupation as being "in the medical profession". Which, as a child I found confusing and as I got older found quite amusing. Dad thought it was outrageous, but like many other things about my mother, he knew there was little he could do about it, so he ignored it.
Perhaps my mother had to struggle with social norms. The irony was, Dad was incredibly socially connected. Everybody loved him. Unlike, my mother, he didn't discriminate between "good families" and everyone else. There were some characters in his life that my mother found appalling and made her thoughts very clear to him. While Mama maintained her life among the "good families" with her husband in "the medical profession", Dad just went on about life.
Mama was always concerned about making sure that I was in all the "right" social clubs in high school. One of those was Cotillion. This was a club actually made up of mothers who sponsored two formal dances a year. But the girls were considered the "members" their junior and senior years in high school. I was not invited to join my junior year. But my friends invited me to the dances as their guest. Somehow, the irony was - Mom was oblivious to this. Dad asked me one afternoon, why I was not in Cotillion. When I explained that it was really a club of mothers. Although he felt my pain, he found this fairly humorous.
My senior year, I was invited to join. It wasn't until later that I learned it was Dad who called one of his good friends, a lady who he knew was a member of Cotillion and explained the situation. She made sure that I received an invitation that year. So, I guess, it was important to have a father in "the medical profession" after all.