Widowhood and Retirement
Female, 78, widow, one son
Education: high school
Job Status: business owner
Retirement Income: $40,000
Health: reported good
Retirement Category: early-voluntary, retired for 17 years
My work was my main interest, but it was really my husband's business. When we got married he wanted me to stay at home, but I told him, "You can't keep me cooped up in a house." So, one day I said, "Honey, I've got something to tell you." He didn't bat an eye, but said, "You were out looking for a job today, weren't you?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Why work for a stranger, work for me." He said I should go back to school to brush up on bookkeeping and then we could work together. That's just what happened.
When the war broke out he decided I would run the business and he would get a job in a factory. We worked that way for four or five years.
We put his money in the business and we lived off mine. After the war my husband said to me, "Do you mind if we put a tool and die shop in the back of the building? I've got a few ideas I'd like to work on." I was agreeable since I had been running the business, and I thought this was a good way for each of us to keep out of each other's hair.