Tia Smallwood (TS) and Christine Smallwood (CS)
TS: All the girls I went to high school with would talk about being teachers and when I went to college I started to study things I really loved and that’s when I started taking finance and accounting courses. And this miserable old man – I had him for second year accounting and business law – he said to me, ’Ms. Casciato, you are the only woman who has ever gotten this far in my class. And I will make sure every day is a living hell for you.’ And he used to grade us on our class participation and how we would answer questions. And he said to me at the beginning of every class, ’I hope you are prepared, Ms. Casciato, because the most difficult question of the period will be yours.’ And I would smile. I mean, this is how backward the world was.
CS: So then you graduated from Douglass. And how many job interviews did you have to go on?
TS: I think I wrote 80 letters. I don’t know how many jobs I applied to and when I went in for the first interview – and this is like a vivid memory – I owned one dress. It was shades of red and pink and these big block geometric squares. It had short sleeves and it was a mini-dress and I had tights and heels on. And I walked in and this guy – he interviewed me for 15 minutes and then he said, ’You need to stand up and turn around.’ And I said, ’What are you talking about?’ He said, ’Stand up and turn around.’ And I stood up and I leaned over his desk and I said, ’I don’t need this job this much.’ And that’s when he said, ’You’re hired.’ That’s the way it was. And I think it’s like that today only it’s much more subtle.
CS: How hard was it then to work and take care of Steven and then me later on.
TS: I really had this idea that I could do everything a hundred percent. You know like you can be a hundred percent worker, a hundred percent mother, a hundred percent wife. And you can’t. It’s impossible. And you have these terrible decisions to make: Do you stay home? Do you work? Do you go after the brass ring in your career? What do you do with your children? You unconditionally love them and you would give anything for them. You would give up your life, your career, your home. It’s complicated. It’s complicated.