ALEX CHADWICK, host:
And now, clear across the country, more economic hard times. We've heard from listener Megan Keith. She sent us a note from Lake Forest Park, Washington. She did this after she heard Day to Day ask listeners to write in and tell us how they're making it. Megan wrote to our blog, npr.org/daydreaming. Megan Keith, welcome to Day to Day. And you listen to our show on what member station?
Ms. MEGAN KEITH: On KUOW.
CHADWICK: KUOW, great. So, set the circumstances for your life. You live alone. You're 63, and I see that you were diagnosed about six years ago with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, so you're on disability insurance. And how much is that check each month that you get? This is from a program associated with social security.
Ms. KEITH: Yes. It's $609.
CHADWICK: $609 a month?
Ms. KEITH: Yes.
CHADWICK: And that's basically what you've got?
Ms. KEITH: No. I also have a stock-based annuity, which has paid me every year on November first. So that's the big issue in my life right now, is what is that amount going to be by the time the stock market finishes the month of October?
CHADWICK: I read in your email that you have recently made - first of all, you've registered with food banks, something you've never done before in your life.
Ms. KEITH: Never done, yeah.
CHADWICK: And you made the decision, I guess, sometime in the last few weeks or so to cut down to two meals a day.
Ms. KEITH: Yeah. I have made a lot of pretty drastic decisions, and that's included dropping dental insurance, cutting my car insurance down to the state minimum.
CHADWICK: And last month, you needed a little help with money. You run out of money, and you had to pay the rent.
Ms. KEITH: Yeah. That's right. There are non-profit organizations that do help people. Since I'm already on disability, you're kind of in a population where there are those resources. And one time per year, you can get help with your rent. So, you know, I can't do that again if I get into trouble again, but I was able to get help with that. Yeah, and I had to do it. So here I am.
(Soundbite of laughing)
Ms. KEITH: Yeah.
CHADWICK: You look ahead, and what do you see? Just life is going to be a kind of process of trying to figure out how to live on very reduced circumstances.
Ms. KEITH: Yeah. And my grandparents raised me, and they did live through the Depression. And I've kind of gone back more and more to how they coped. I remember my grandmother telling me how they had to eat the kids' pet chickens for dinner.
CHADWICK: Cutting back to two meals a day, that's two things, dire circumstances and also an enormous amount of self discipline.
Ms. KEITH: Yeah. I really - my grandmother had that too. And, you know, she had emotional discipline, and she had - one of her sayings was, you just have to do the best you can with the tools you have.
CHADWICK: Megan Keith joins us from Lake Forest Park, Washington. She's part of the ongoing conversations we're having with people who listen to this program about their lives during a tough economy. Megan Keith, thank you so much for being with us and good luck to you.
Ms. KEITH: Thank you, Alex, and I just want to send my support to everyone out there in the same situation.
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