My personal connection to Greek pensioners

When I did what they call non-traditional work in a formerly all-male factory (starting in the 1970s) it was a difficult adjustment because the environment was so male & so conservative politically. It turned out to be one of the most difficult–not to say wrenching–& enriching experiences of my life.

There were coworkers who stand out to me (some now FB friends) for helping me through all that–especially the WWII crowd who didn’t like women in “men’s work” but who hated unfair treatment of anyone & would often coach me how to handle things with management & coworkers. Among that group were several Greek immigrants. Talking with them felt like that invasion of the body snatchers thing. We recognized in each other that sense of class, of militance, of defiance that many around us did not share, at least with a woman. It wasn’t a sense of being plebeians but of refusing such a humbling designation.

They eventually all retired to move back to Greece but even after I had moved to work in other parts of the plant, they invited me to their retirement parties. I always think of them & now I wonder if they’re queuing up at ATM machines like other seniors or if they’re marching against the Troika. It’s my own little connection to Greek history.

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