~~7kin is a 52-year-old widow from
Milwaul^e. This afternoon she returned
home from the Social Security office trying to grasp the facts she had been given, to
digest the information in the pamphlets in
her hand. During her husband's long illness
their savings had dwindled, she had known
that "someday" she would need financial
help and she believed she had it. Hadn't
he told her she would be provided for?
And yet only today she found out that she
would not be eligible for Social Security
benefits for 10 years* His company had no
retirement plan. She had not worked outside the home for 23 years. There would
be no money coming in.
She added and re-added the columns
of figures,' carefully averaging car care,
gasoline, medication, the house note, her
$1,000 life insurance premium-even the
$60 she budgeted yearly for Christmas and
birthday gifts and the $10 a month for
clothes and cleaning. It came to $490 a
month with no "emergencies." Her income
was—$0. She had a four-month reserve in
the bank. And after that, Ann would bo
She fingered the slim wedding band
she had worn since February 1945 and
recalled their youth and their sureness.
She was a college junior; he a Marine lieutenant facing the invasion of Japan. They
had six weeks together before he shipped
out from San Diego.
She had returned to the university,
only somewhat disturbed because her
period was late. By April she knew she was
pregnant, and accepted the Dean's decision
that, in an all-woman college in 1945, no
one who was pregnant could remain as a
student. It set a bad example. Shortly after
D-Day, June 6, 1945, she prematurely delivered a one and a half pound baby girl
who lived three days. When he came home
late that summer, he consoled her. "We'll
have more," he said. Neither was aware
the birth had left her sterile.
She had worked to support them
through his graduate degree. There were,
of course, no more children.
His career with an engineering firm
kept them on the move from one construction site to another for the next 20 years.
Her life was indexed by dams and bridges,
by states and sometimes by continents.
They had paid the heavy medical expenses
of both their parents, telling each other,
"Well, after all, we don't have children and
the other kids do." They had invested in a
profit sharing plan which was valued at less
than half of what they had put into it.
"It'll go back up," he said. "Just you
watch." So far it had not.
They had been saving people. They
had made a good salary. They were the
aunt and uncle always available for a semester loan, a family emergency, an urgent
church need. At 50 he had accepted an office job at the company headquarters and,
at last, they had bought a home. At 54,
after two years of- a prolonged and agonizing fight with cancer, he was dead. The
Cinderella without the
By Chase Hardy and Charlotte Stewart
night nurses, the trips to Mayo, the specialists and their equipment had eaten up their
savings. Ann knew she must work, she had
never been afraid of it. Hadn't she help set
up clinics and schools wherever they had
gone, from Africa to Arizona? "It's know-
how," he had always said. "Well," she
thought, "I know how."
Her visit to the employment office
the next day left her apprehensive. She had
looked well-groomed and had spoken articulately of her volunteer work and her successful career as a wife and homemaker.
The counselor had listened patiently, and
asked her about her work experience.
"Well, I was working," she said. "For
30 years. That's what I've been saying."
"I mean paid work," explained the
"My husband and I agreed that I was
to keep the home," Ann said. "That is a
full time job if you do it right. And we
moved constantly with the company. But
wherever we were I was always active in
the community. I've done a little bit of
The counselor toyed with his pencil.
"Ann," he said, "do you have a friend or
relative who will hire you? Give you some
"You mean you have nothing at all
I can do?"
"Not now," he said. "But keep on
checking with us. Something may turn up.
The job market is really tight now. I would
make a suggestion, however. I'm sure you
would qualify for food stamps and you
really should apply for them."
She left the office, returned to her
car and sat quietly for a few minutes. She
began to assimilate the impact of what he
had said. Her only alternative was welfare.
Ann is learning to be a displaced
(lirol, 46, had spent her birthday en-
route To Dallas from Baltimore and was
relieved at finally being settled in a new
home. This had been their 18th move with
She was excited about a forthcoming
trip that she and Tom were taking to the
Caribbean. True, it would be a business
trip, but the company was paying for it
and for their babysitter as well.
They had been married just under 20
years and Tom had worked long and hard
in the scramble to get the coveted vice-
• president of sales job that he'd recently
accepted. Five months before, he had come
to Dallas to start the new job and had left
Carol and their five children in Baltimore
to "tie up the loose ends." The "loose
ends" included selling the house, packing
their belongings, rounding up school and
medical records, arranging for the movers,
and the thousands of other chores involved
in a long distance transfer. Carol had
accomplished it all, she told herself with
pride, and their family had, once again,
established "instant roots" in their new
home in Texas. It had been a lonely, exhausting and tiring five months but, thank
God, thought Carol, it was all over now.
Tom had traveled often in the last
15 years. And always when he had moved
up to a new job he had left the details of
hearth and home and kids to Carol so
that he could concentrate on his new
Really, Carol didn't mind . . . too
much. She felt that her job was to make
Tom's easier. After all, Tom's success was
her success too, wasn't it?
Continued on page 26
PAGE 24 NOVEMBER 20, 1977 DAILY BREAKTHROUGH
IN APPRECIATION OF JUST A FEW OF THE WOMEN
WHO HAVE HAD A DEEP PERSONAL IMPACT ON OUR DEVELOPMENT.
IF YOU COULD KNOW THEM AS WEHAVE,
YOUR LIVES WOULD BE GREATLY ENRICHED.
B. J. Walker
Dr. Carol Weiner
rfwlAWt^ QuJ^2^ Il^M^y