“So, you’ve been married over 11 years,” Mrs. Gertis scowled as she reviewed one of the forms. “You’d think that you would have saved enough money by now to get you through this rough spot.”Alma said nothing.
“Didn’t I read in the paper your husband was arrested for drinking awhile back? Is that where your money goes? Alcohol?”
Alma’s face turned red and she clutched Sarah Rose who was sitting in her lap so hard that the baby squealed.
“You know the paper doesn’t always get things right, Mrs. Gertis. When you run a business sometimes you get blamed for customer’s actions.“
“You know if you get approved for government aid that you can’t work. This program is for white women who stay at home with their children because their husbands can’t work or are absent.”“Yes, ma’am, I read that.”
“You know I will be checking your home to see that it is a suitable place to raise your children?”
Alma nodded and clutched Sarah Rose closer to her breast.
“I’d better now find you are working on the side.”
The Public Welfare Officer glanced at the Marriage Certificate and took up the stack of birth certificates.
“These are your children?”
“Yes, ma’am. There was another but she died.”
“Some women just don’t know when to stop, do they? I understand the Negroes and the Mexicans having so many children.” Her voice faded as she wrinkled her nose. “They don’t know better…but a white woman….”
The small office became very quiet. The two youngest girls sensed something was amiss and stopped squirming.
“Do your children all have the same father?”