For Crying out Loud: Women's Poverty in the United States

By Diane Dujon; Ann Withorn | Go to book overview

WORKING YOUR FINGERS TO THE
BONE

Marion Graham

I WAS BORN IN BOSTON, THE YOUNGEST OF A FOUR-GIRL family. When I was 13, my father's firm went bankrupt and he found himself out of a job. My family were so ashamed they wouldn't tell their friends that they had to move from the suburbs to a three-decker in Boston, even though they weren't really poor. Now I know a lot of people who would love to move out of the projects into a three-decker.

In 1960 I got married. I left my good job with the telephone company when I was pregnant with my first child, in 1961. I really looked forward to being home with my children. Nobody worked that I knew. During the '60s I was always pregnant when everybody was out rebelling against everything. I was too pregnant to rebel, so I have to rebel now! I have five kids. They are now 35, 32, 31, 30, and 27.

When I saw how my marriage was disintegrating, I did work at home for marketing research companies, and I did typing for college students, just to try to make money. I had planned for two or three years to get a divorce before I did. But I never had the money to do it. I knew I had to have a job in order to save the money to go to a lawyer. I couldn't leave the kids; there was no daycare. Finally, I had to go on welfare because my husband did not pay enough support, and sometimes he did not pay at all.

When I started working full-time again, I thought it was going to be wonderful, that I wasn't going to be poor anymore. I was going

____________________
Marion Graham was originally interviewed by Jean Humez and Melissa Shook in 1984. Ann Withorn updated, edited and expanded the interview.

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