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No more ‘encores,’ please

The alumni mentioned in the October Bulletin had “encore careers” that were more meaningful to them than their original careers. But, what about those of us who worked beyond retirement age because we couldn’t afford a life of leisure? During a 50-year working life as editor, teacher, and translator, some of the jobs I had were interesting, but they didn’t quite add up to a career, and rarely was I paid what my skills were worth. The more interesting the job, the lower the salary or hourly rate. Recently I’ve put in four years of unpaid labor as co-editor (with Lise Menn ’62) of The Widows’ Handbook: A Poetic Anthology (Kent State University Press, forthcoming this year), hoping that some day, maybe, we may recoup our expenses out of royalties. Before that, I took whatever freelance or contract work I could find, just to stay afloat. In all that time, I never worked as hard as I did at Swarthmore, for such intangible rewards (getting out alive with a paper in my hand, plus some lifelong friendships). The only “encore” I’m eager to see is a year-round summer vacation.

Jacqueline Lapidus ’62

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