August 16, 2019

The Welfare system 50 years ago

I had $11.00 in my purse [or was it my bank account?] when I hit the road. I can’t recall how I physically left Whitby. I do remember sad goodbyes with my new friends in Admissions One. We promised to meet again but never did. I rented a furnished room on Belmont Street in Toronto. It was a nice little room in a very nice area and had a sweet sunroom at the back. $10.00 a week. I got a waitress job at Frans Restaurant on Yonge Street. 11PM until 7AM. My daughter’s social worker came to see me and convinced me to apply for Welfare. “but Betty you have no money!” The thought of it made me sick but I did it. I passed and was given a cheque which I took to the nearest bank. I think it was for $134.00. The teller looked down her nose at it and said something  
like “we don’t take Those cheques”. I was to go to another branch which would cost me a streetcar fare. I took a streetcar to the main branch of the bank, cashed the cheque, went across the street and bought myself a pair of shoes swearing I would never take another welfare cheque. I wonder if it is still like that for people on welfare?
Thank god I was never that broke again and I actually live very well by the end of this tale. 

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