“Work” is a value-laden term that has changed drastically over time, particularly in relation to women’s daily lives. Despite a legacy of opinions to the contrary, WWHP views women’s work as inherently valuable, whether taking place in the formal structure of paid employment or the private realm of home and family. We seek to understand each woman’s work on her own terms in her own words.
"You know I don’t think until in retrospect and we heard from so many people, honestly, when we closed [Tatnuck Bookseller], how bereft they were. And I have to say, it’s two years later and I still hear it. And how does that make me feel – it was great. It was – and I feel sad that there’s nothing that’s quite taken its place. I mean you can’t really do it in a mall."
Gloria Zieper Abramoff was born in 1952 and raised in the Tatnuck Square section of Worcester, MA. She attended Tatnuck Elementary School, Chandler Street Junior High and Doherty Memorial High School, all on the west side of Worcester, MA. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Comparative Literature from Trinity College in Hartford, CT in 1974. She earned a Masters in Arts and Teaching degree from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA. Gloria lived in Philadelphia, PA for a short time where she met her future husband, Larry Abramoff, also a native of Worcester.
"I just think that it’s great that you guys are taking a look at women’s history and how it has such an important role in the world because there’s always been women throughout history. As for Worcester, you know, I mean I think what keeps a lot of people here is family. I think Worcester is a really family-based city."
“I think the kids and—in Europe when they were on a farm, or even in city—they are more mature. Like my sister was five years old and she had to watch me because I was too little. So, I mean today nobody would leave a kid five years old…a baby, you know? So it was different…It was, you know nice. And then when we came to America we had to start all over.”
“I found it—not being a native of Worcester—I found it very hard to make connections with people before my children were school age. Once they’re school age, you kinda get to interact with other parents and parents of their friends. It’s a different ball game. But when they were very little I found it very isolating. And I wasn’t working at the time.”
"Looking back, that desire to support and motivate deaf parents relates to my dad and how he loved to support deaf people and encourage deaf people, and I really love my job. Every year I see the program grow. And deaf people succeed and become more independent."
"So when people meet me, they think that I must be hearing normal, because they don’t expect a deaf blind woman could be the director of this organization. And when I tell them that I am deaf blind, they ask me how I can work, and they don’t realize that Braille computers help you do that. I tell them that 'Yes, we are deaf blind but we can work'."
“I love being here because people come here. People know where to find me twelve hours out of the day. Come on guys, you want me? You know where to find me. I enjoy that. I enjoy people. Twenty years now I’ve been here, and I enjoy people knowing that, too, people knowing my name. ‘Oh, I know that place down on Main Street.’ I like that. Yeah. I like that.”
Annie Jenkins was born and raised in Worcester and now lives with her husband in North Oxford. In this interview, Annie discusses her work history with a particular focus on her experiences owning and operating Annie’s Clark Brunch, a breakfast and lunch restaurant in the Main South neighborhood. After graduating from Dougherty High School, Annie struggled to balance family obligations and paid labor as a young single mother.