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As a child, I lived through a lot of adversity. I was born prematurely and had to fight to survive. I spent my first months in a hospital with few resources  to deal with premature infants. I went home later with my parents who were hard core alcoholics. My mother also had depression and spent a lot of time in bed. My siblings and I learned early how to find food on trees and bushes to eat. We even ate grass and flowers when we were hungry enough. In the winter, we ate nuts we cracked open with rocks, and we went down the alleys foraging through trash barrels to find empty beer bottles and pop bottles. We would haul them to the beer joint and grocery store in a little red wagon for refunds. We used the money to buy food. Four of us slept in a double bed at night.

There was domestic violence in our household. When I was ten, three of us were placed in a Children’s Home. By the time I was nineteen, I had moved 17 times. Eventually I went to college and worked hard to earn two degrees. I learned to survive by enduring and using resources I could find. I became a teacher and a social worker for 30 + years. I married, had a child, and wrote in my spare time. I learned to survive by having persistence. I learned to live by having hope in the future, faith in people and God, and love from others along the way.

I am an old woman now with a severe illness and have to have treatment every two weeks at an infusion center. The Social Security and Medicare payments that were taken out of every pay check I made while I worked were to be there when I retired. I had a 401 k but the recession in 2008-9, took some of it. I believed in the US Government that took my money from my pay checks. I believed they would honor the contract we had.

But Congress decided to change the law and allow them to raid the Social Security Fund for their own interests and they have year after year, leaving worthless IOU’s behind they never intended to pay back. The old are being threatened over and over that their money may be cut or Social Security may be eliminated. They are told their Medicare will be gutted so the rich can have more tax cuts. Notice that their benefits are not on the chopping block (Congress).

We are now facing financial and health problems that will affect us all. We will have to be strong. We will have to endure the months ahead with Wall Street being unstable and the new virus spreading. Maltbie Davenport Babcock said it best when he wrote this poem, “Be Strong.”          Yu/stan/kema


Be strong!

We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;

We have hard work to do, and loads to lift;

Shun not the struggle–face it; ’tis God’s gift.

Be strong!

Say not,” The days are evil. Who’s to blame”

And fold the hands and acquiesce–oh shame!

Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God’s name.

Be strong!

It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong,

How hard the battle goes, the day how long;

Faint not–fight on! To-morrow comes the song.