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Frances PerkinsFrances Perkins
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glad to be earning money. The lower classes don't sit around and pity themselves. They were up and going and trying to get somewhere. They earned five dollars this week; they hoped they'd earn six next; next year perhaps they would earn seven. They were trying to get their budget going, and I was trying to find out what it was. “If you pay two fifty for the rent, how much do you use for eating and what do you eat?”

They laughed and said, “Oh, we've discovered what to eat. Do you know what we principally eat? (They spoke broken English, which I'm correcting.) We principally eat bread and bananas. It's wonderful. It fills you up so. You don't feel hungry at all.”

I remember what a revelation that was to me. Of course it was very stirring to the imagination and it does fill you up. I myself on a fifty dollar a month salary was learning to make some strange adjustments in my diet for the sake of not feeling hungry and not spending all my money on food. I had, of course, the great advantage of having a few letters of introduction and of having a nice collection of good clothes that my father had paid for. They were already on hand. I didn't have to buy a winter coat, dresses, hate, evening clothes - I had them and that was a terrific saving. But I did have a good deal of interest in how these girls on nothing at all lived, because I was doing some adjusting.

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