Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I am the 99%

I am a college dropout.  Lack of imagination in the 1960s has led to poverty in 2010.  I couldn't figure out what I was doing in college, so I left.  I went to secretarial school and worked in offices.

I stayed home when my kids were small.  Single motherhood hit in the 80s, and I cleaned houses, did yard work, waxed cars, washed dogs, sewed, babysat; in short, I used the skills I had to make a living for myself and my children.  After they got older, I worked at any job I could get. Food service at the hospital, housekeeping crew at a home for the elderly, clean room laundry, plastics plant, Goodwill, Half Price Books, fast food...and finally, I got a job doing what I had done as a hobby for years.  I work for a theater costumer.  Surprise, surprise--it doesn't pay a lot of money.

I quit one decent retail job (with benefits) to look after my mother-in-law, so my husband could teach without worrying about her.  Now, she is dead and so is he.

I am 62 years old, and my job has no benefits.  It's not even full time, so if the shop closes, I'll be unemployed without any insurance.  If I wait until I'm 70 to collect Social Security, I will still get under $1000/month, because I have been underemployed all my life, with huge gaps when I stayed home to look after other people.

They say, "Well, you've got your health," which is true.  So far.  The knees are a little wonky and the weight is a little much, and there are a couple of spots here and there I'm keeping an eye on, but at least I don't have anything chronic and expensive, requiring medications.

So, I will keep plodding on from paycheck to paycheck and hoping for the best. 

Like the rest of the 99%.


  1. In July you posted that you weren't going to be able to get Jim's Social Security because you weren't married to him long enough to qualify. At the time I wrote you an e-mail, but never got a response. As far as I can tell, there is no minimum length of time of the marriage for you to qualify for his benefits. My sister was married to a guy for a year, and he died, and she is getting his benefits. The ten years minimum only applies to a DIVORCED spouse. I don't mean to be interfering here, but I think you need to look into getting Jim's Social Security. Somebody has steered you wrong. Just look at the Social Security site. There is nothing about a minimum length of marriage.


  2. I have found that I actually will be able to claim Jim's SS, but it's not going to be a whole lot more than mine will be, because he taught for so many years. I am still deciding how to proceed with that.