Four Stationary Walls (Jan 3rd, 2018)


How does a person with a modest income survive living year-round in The Hamptons?

I wanted to do a story about women falling through the cracks because I had been falling through the cracks and I couldn’t figure out whether it was me or the system I was attmepting to live in. I know this is a story about home, making a home, the changing views women have about what a home means. So, this is a story about all of these things and also about our worst fears. I’ve nailed down what my worst fear is: being that lady pushing the shopping cart with all of her stuff…

In 1994 I had my first real full time job. The pay was $25 an hour. Aside from two weekly teaching gigs, I am still being paid $25 an hour today — and that is considered a good wage in The Hamptons— 23 years later without a raise. You can extrapolate the juggling that has to go on and the things that fall by the wayside, like health and dental care, housing, food, transportation.

I grew up thinking I was Middle Class, my parents were certainly Upper Middle Class. It has taken me a long time to see that I was mistaken. I have been surviving on a poverty level income and a poverty mentality for a great portion of my life.The Middle Class were able to thrive. We are only surviving. To call us elites because of our education and cultural savy is laughable.

Here are some stories you might never hear from the Hamptons, about the new nomads, women with oodles of education that are so close to falling between the cracks that their lives are lived in a state of near emergency. No-one seems to be talking much about this issue, except Neil Gabler in his piece for The Atlantic, The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans, in which he details the agonies of trying to keep all the trappings of his former life from vanishing. I thought someone should say something, about women specifically, trying to keep up this false front and falling $100,000 dollars short of their middle-class parents’ household earning.

This story is about four educated women who are managing to live with less than their parents had and who are not whining about it! We really love our lives out here…We are a new kind of nomad.