Our first Christmas, my husband, Dana, and I lived in a three-room apartment pinched under the eaves of a quaint Victorian overlooking Topsham’s Androscoggin River. Our rent was a mere $300 a month – including heat. Still, with me working and Dana still in school, we had so little money that when Dana’s grenade-green Granada broke down a mile from home, we were bent with worry about how to pay the $20 towing fee.
As part of a clever advertising campaign entitled “The Christmas Gift Experiment,” someone set a shiny red package the size of a shed in the middle of England’s Grand Central Station in Birmingham. “Free gifts,” the sign above says. Equipped with an old-fashioned telephone – presumably connected to an unseen monitor – the handset rings as seasonal commuters stream by.
I was 16 years old, working the evening shift at a clothing outlet in Kittery, Maine’s southern shopping mecca, to earn Christmas money after school. Since I didn’t drive, my mom was supposed to pick me up at 8:30 p.m. when the store closed and we’d finished tidying up.
Only, on this night,
Do you know how valuable you are?
As a self-employed writer with a certifiably type-A personality, I often equate my work with my worth. It’s easy to slip from wondering whether my work has value to wondering whether I have value.