Sunday, September 23, 2012

Jane M. Casteline's Voice

Dear Mitt,

After my father left our family, my Mom had no choice, but to go on utility and food assistance.  She worked a full time job as a secretary and three part-time jobs, cleaning offices, catering, working at the velodrome. All for low wages. All so that we could live in a better part of town and go to good public schools.  Never because she felt like a victim. 

My siblings and I received Pell grants, federal student loans, and scholarships to go to college because without them, we would not realize our dreams, NEVER because we felt like victims. All of us worked part time jobs while in school and in the summers between our school years.  

How dare you accuse the 47% of feeling like victims because we decided our pride wasn't worth an empty stomach or an unheated house. 

My story is not unique. Countless of my friends have similar ones with different details. But all of us did what we could to make our lives better for ourselves and personally, I am glad for it. My son does not need assistance for heat or least not for now. I know, from experience, that life can change on a dime, whether it's a marriage that breaks up or a parent that gets sick. I let my son know every day and in every way I can to appreciate and not take for granted what he has and what others may not. From what experience did you draw on growing up to teach your sons that? Or do you fly so far above the fray that those lessons aren't necessary in your world of wealth?

Proud to be a part of the 47%,
Jane M. Casteline

Jane M. Casteline worked at the historic Dorney Park in Allentown every summer to save money for college.  She has a Bachelor's degree in Geology from The University of Kansas. She earned a Master's degree in Geological Sciences at Lehigh University, researching glacial geology at the Matanuska Glacier in Alaska.  She lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband, 5 year old son, and a dog named Moose.