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June 15, 1976 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-06-15

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Tuesday, June 15, 1976


Page Five

TusdyJue-5-17 TEsIHIANDIL ae .Five

Reibert: Just trying to feed her kids

(Coontinued from Page 3)
"I'M TRYING like hell to get
off welfare," she says, shaking
her head for emphasis. "And
as soon as I do, I'm going to
find another ADC mother and
get her off welfare, too. I don't
care if the Agency doesn't like
it; I'm going to do it."
Her face darkens; she talks
about the horrors of being a
welfare mother trying to get
through school. The social serv-
ices agencies, she claims, are
trying to keep as many people
as possible f r o mn improving
"All the time they're telling
you, 'You're not going to make
it, you're not going to make it,
how dare you even ry; you have
no right.' You're in a constant
state of panic all the time."
MANY WOMEN can't take
the strain imposed on them, she
adds, and are forced to drop out
of school. She spoke of a friend
of hers who was also enrolled
at the University: "They waited
until she was in the middle of
finals, and then made her go
downtown f o r recertification.
Every day she'd wait until noon
-they'd tell her to come back
in the afternoon-and she'd wait
there until closing, and they'd
say, 'Gee, we're sorry, but we
can't see you today.' It got her
so upset she couldn't study."
As she speaks, the front door
opens. A tiny old woman in a
pink dress walks painfully up
the stairs to the hallway; the
dog barks half-heartedly at her.
Joyce calls to a daughter-in-
"Just fix her some lentils and
a little lemon," she tells the
girl. "She'll like that." The
daughter-in-law takes the old
woman into the kitchen.
JOYCE, lowering her voice,
explains that the woman has
been cut out of the food stamp
program because of a small
savings which she refuses to
give up. "She only has a little,"
she mutters, "but it's enough
for them to use as an excuse
not to let her eat." Joyce feeds
her whenever she can.
"You know," she says, "if I
were affluent and I did these
On the 14th of December,
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things, they wouldn't be able to
pat me on the back hard
enough. But what they really
say to me is, 'You have no right
to be kind.' "
The living room furniture was
a gift from her parents, who
had recently sold their house
and moved to Florida. "And I've
had social workers come in ask-
ing, 'How'd you get this furni-
ture on the money you're get-
ting?' I shouldn't have to apolo-
gize for having a decent house.
I shouldn't have to apologize if
my children are good students
or musicians or athletes. I
shouldn't have to, and I don't
like it."
MUCH OF the problem lies in
the average citizen's misunder-
standing of poverty, she asserts.
"Things used to be different
for me; I wasn't always poor.
If I hadn't been involved in a
divorce I'd be middle-class, in
fact; but I'm grateful for it.
It's taught me a lot of lessons.
Unless you know what it's like
to spend two weeks living on
oatmeal because a bill came in
or the furnace broke down in
the middle of winter, you don't
know how poor people think-
how they feel things. I used to
think, 'Who are all these people
who want want to live off my
hard-earned money?' Now I
understand them; and I know
they're caught in a system that
wants them to stay poor."
People who try hard to rise
above their poverty should be
rewarded, she says. "They
should get a chance for better
things. Your children should
maybe be able to take music
lessons like other people's chil-
dren, or join the Boy Scouts.

You know what it's like when
your boy wants to join the Boy
Scouts and you can't afford a
uniform for him?"
Joey, her foster child, walks
into the room. She introduces
him, and he smiles shyly.
"Unless people start taking
some kind of a stand," she says,
"the Joeys of this world are
always going to be punished."

A Thought-Provoking Documentary Film
TUESDAY, JUNE 15-7:30 P.M.
EAST QUAD, Rm. 124
Film and Discussion FREE of Charge


includes unlimited trips to our famous solad bar and hot
loaves of our home baked bread.
ADULTS.. .... $3.44
(under 12)
Served Tuesday and Wednesday 5 p.m.-1 1 p.m.
at the Holiday Inn West
J' 665-4444

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now carries the
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M-S: 9:30-5:30 FRI - TIL 8 761-6207
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