NAME: Joyce Wilding OCCUPATION: High School teacher, Louisville INCOME: $18,500 a year plus $200 monthly child support from exhusband, irregular extra money from door-to-door book sales . PLEASURES: "I sleep, eat, work and stew about book sales. That's about it." Few . COMPLAINT: Inflation forces her to run a "crisis-oriented" household OUTLOOK: "I guess I'm holding my own, but it gets a little harder every month. "
"We have a crisis-oriented household," says Joyce Wilding, a 47-year-old high school English teacher. "We pay whatever is most urgent. When payday rolls around, the money is all accounted for . . . but we've made it so far."
With 16 years in the public schools here, Joyce Wilding earns $18,500 annually, and takes home about $500 every two weeks. In each of the past several years, she figures, she has lost 8 to 10 percent of her income to inflation.
"Since about 1977," she said, "things have been really difficult."
Wilding became head of her household when she divorced her husband in 1972. She has two sons -- a high school student who lives at home and a scholarship student at Auburn University. The household also includes her 74-year-old aunt.
Her teaching income is supplemented by monthly child-support check of $200 from her ex-husband and occasional extra money made by selling books door to door. The aunt contributes her widow's pension of about $200 a month to the family exchequer.
Expenses include a monthly house payment of $190; heating expenses that average $125 a month and range up to $160; monthyl telephone bill of $20 to $40; bimonthly water bill of about $30; and a $250 monthly payment on large personal loans.
"I'm not all that ambitious about money," Wilding says. "My concerns are close to home -- how to make the house payment, loan payments, have enough money for food: My ambition is to have a freezer packed with meat with all varieties. . .
"My main concern is not to be a burden on my children as I grow older, but if inflation continues this way, I doubt if my retirement fund will support me. . .
Wilding says she goes out to dinner no more than once a month, does her own hair, seldom goes to the movies, spends nothing on clothes. "I sleep, eat, work and stew about book sales," she says. "That's about it."
She has a 1973 Monte Carlo with 65,000 miles on it, but she can't afford the 15-mile drive between home and school. Instead, she takes a bus to work at a daily cost of 50 cents round-trip.
Two years ago, she fell $700 behind on her gas and light bill and service was cut off. "I don't think my aunt ever got over it," she says. "But we cooked in the fireplace and on the back porch, and bathed by candlelight . . . I think John (the high schooler) kind of enjoyed it. But then David came home from college, unannounced, and had his girlfriend with him, and it broke my heart. We look back upon it now as a fun thing.
The financial pressure felt by teachers has led to her involvement in labor organizing: she feels teachers must have collective bargaining rights.
"I guess I'm holding my own," says Joyce Wilding, "but it gets a little harder every month. But all I need is three squares a day and a roof. And I can get by on two squares if I have to."