Today’s topic comes from a conversation I overheard at the gym the other day. I wasn’t eavesdropping. These two woman were right next to me, talking while they were warming up, so I couldn’t help but overhear.
Here in Aiken, where I live, the largest employer, by far, is the Savannah River Site. During the Cold War, it made the fuel for our nuclear weapons. Locals back then called it “the bomb plant” I am not entirely sure what they do today that employs 10,000 people, but in a small town, that is big employer. When you ask someone what they do, very, very often, they’ll say, “Oh I work at the plant.”
So the one was telling the other about her Dad. Apparently, they both worked at the plant, as had her Dad. Her Dad was older and couldn’t work any more. And it sounded like, even though they have pensions at the plant, because they work for the Department of Energy, he wouldn’t have gotten his full pension benefit unless he worked to 82, because of when he started there. Apparently he had been forced to retire for health reasons and took his Social Security early, and it wasn’t nearly enough for him to live on, and it was putting a strain on her and her husband because they were trying to subsidize him, while still taking care of their own family, and save for their own retirement, and her husband was getting resentful. And they had had a big fight. And what if it was your Mom and Dad. You’d be doing the same thing… It was horrible! A horrible story.