A new disease for me…Catch22

Winter Road

Photo Credit: Jane Johann

the disease of Catch 22

–one of millions

who has it–

invitation came

accepted to the party

without my confirmation

what do i do?

my car

sits in the garage

–odd in itself that the junk accummulated

over the years has been finally removed,

so the Corolla that was bought in 2005

with 36,000 miles on it and cost me $15,000-

more value than my life —

is finally given a prestigious place

in the household–


it does not run…

engine is puttering strange sounds

the brakes are grinding

like the 50 cents in my pocket

that is going towards repairing it…

some day


i wake in the middle of the night


how can i fix my car

can i find a job

to pay for its repair

but how will i get to the job

when i do not have the fare


the bills are mounting

do i get a job for $7.46 an hour

that will cost me the Social Security payment

that I worked for 35 years of teaching to accumulate?


the public is angry at me

because i taught their children

for $5000 a year in 1980

held three other part-time jobs while teaching full-time during the day

but then everyone, including myself,

had to pay property taxes,

to pay my salary…


the Governor of Wisconsin

says i was one of the million–there is that phrase AGAIN–

that caused the economic collapse of this state

WHO would have thought that MY SALARY would do such a thing?


if i work and earn $7.46 an hour

i will have to repay $1 for every $2 i earn

back to Social Security

because thirty-five years of teaching was not enough

not to mention the other six years of working in a nursing home

being a receptionist for awhile

getting taxed on the $11 i made doing a calligraphy job

and other odd jobs

to get myself through school

–did not count–

but my Corolla is safe in the garage

and i cannot capitalize i anymore

i have been lost among the millions…

the disease of Catch22

…i would be thinking of my lesson plans on Friday

so all of the thoughts would cascade over their conscious stream of mind on Mondays

…i would correct English compositions in the evening after my three would snuggle into bed…

then early the next day, i would kiss them goodbye

and cry all the way to work, to leave my darlings behind…

while i went to teach other people’s children…

and give them my best…

while at home my own children slept…

…how wrenching it was to me…

however, once there, the children before me became my own…

now…however…all are gone…

my students and my children…

and I sit here

at the keyboard

in the middle of the night

wondering, what did i do?

why does the public hate me so?

i taught their children

i was the best i could be

but then forced out of teaching

because after thirty-five years i finally hit the pay ceiling

…and now

i can’t sleep at night…

i wake and think

of what use am i?

Catch 22

a term when i was young

i did not understand

but now

i am living it…

one of millions…

8 thoughts on “A new disease for me…Catch22

  1. Chris says:

    What a sad truth! It brings true sadness to think of all you suffered without any reward. But you will be rewarded for all your goodness, Jane!


    • Chris, it isn’t just me who is suffering…in fact, I am quite fortunate when I think of all that I have…I see so many people struggling around me. I was just overwhelmed in the middle of the night and started thinking too much…but like I wrote, I am “one of millions” in the same boat. Then this morning I saw a photo essay of the bedrooms of children around the world—and wished that I could give them the 3 of mine that stand empty!


  2. Mich Smith says:

    Your so right life is hard sometime and can be cruel, but you are love by many people and have friends!!


    • Yes, Mich, you are right…I do have the love of my family my many good friends–like YOU—and so many people have been so good to me along my journey! There are many, many others who are suffering worse than me! This morning i saw this post on Facebook—“If you do not have a purpose, CREATE one!” There it was–waking me up! and it is so true!


  3. Pat Holland says:

    Hi Jane, WOW. You are a powerful writer/poet. Too bad you have to give it away for free.


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