CharlieMC (charliemc) wrote,

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Anne the Riveter -- Visiting the Real Thing

Marilyn and I both just did the treadmill, in order to get our steps in for our Fitbit. It's pretty hard when you spend most of your day in the house to get enough steps by just walking around. For whatever reason, I got dizzy after walking. I was yawning so hard my eyes were watering. Go figure!

Fitbit Update: Marilyn did 5,700 and I did 3,066. (Her daily goal is 5,000, and mine is currently 3,000. We both plan to increase this over time.)

This was an amazing day! We left the house around 11:00, and headed to Starbucks, then directly to the office. We did a few things, while waiting for Angel and Adeena to join us. Then we all got in Angel's car and headed out. We stopped on the way and got Subway for lunch, taking it to Anne's house.

We were meeting with Anne, who is 90-years-old, and was a Rosie the Riveter during World War II!

This year Marilyn and Angel decided to create a NEW Living History character, who will be portrayed by Adeena. Adeena will be our youngest ever Living History character -- most of them have been older adults. Deciding to cover the 1940’s, this creation of a Rosie character is inspired! Marilyn wants to also make this character a connection to the Vanport flood, which took place on May 30, 1948.

Anyway, Candee (who is one of our other Living History characters -- she portrays Queen Thelma as an older woman, during the 1950's) hooked us up with Anne, so the goal was to meet with her and find out what it was like for a woman who lived the life of a riveter during WWII.

What an experience! and this is so cool: Anne was 19 when she started her job back in 1943, and Adeena is currentl 19! afterward, Adeena said she felt a real connection with Anne -- that she had things in common with her. Pretty wonderful for a woman of 19 and a woman of 90!

Anne was incredible! Her mind was very, very sharp, in case you're wondering. She may have had some memory lapses, but what the heck, so do I! She shared about why she went out for the position (she needed a job, and was very patriotic), what the interview was like (they took one look at this tiny woman who only weighed 98 pounds, and then asked her what she could do -- and she told them about changing tires and using tools in her father's shop, and they hired her on the spot), and then she told us details about the actual job. It was fascinating!

She mentioned being in high school when the war started -- and how they didn't have a lot of normal things during her Senior year, like yearbooks and so on. Everything was geared toward the war! She mentioned Victory Gardens, rationing and collecting metal. She said that kids would pick up old cigarette packs and keep the foil, turning these into huge balls. She said: "We didn't waste anything. We reused things."

She kept referencing a stack of materials that she said she had gathered from the internet (but she did give some credit for the research to her daughter).

It was fascinating to hear about the actual work. Anne was clearly quite good at it. She was partnered with a man named Darcy, and said that they became very good friends. But she did talk about the men grumbling about women on the job -- and how the men would constantly be trying to get her to go out. She was especially bothered by married men who wanted to date the women.

On the other hand, she did have a boyfriend that she worked with! A handsome man who was a few years older than her, and was her supervisor.

The riveting was clearly a hard physical job. Anne said they made scaled down tools for the women to use. She was often sought out to reach into small places the men couldn't get into -- sometimes to retrieve dropped tools. She described being able to do certain tasks because her small hands could fit really well. Anne's shift was 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and she worked Monday through Saturday. The plants ran 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- and Anne said they even worked on Christmas Day.

At one point they opened a new plant, and Anne was selected to go there to help with the training! Again, it was very clear she was good at the work. When the war ended, women mostly left thw work. Anne said this was because many of the small plants were closed, plus men returned from war and re-entered the workforce.

It wasn't totally clear, but Anne may have been asked to move to the Burbank plant, which would have been an hour commute. But she wanted to go back to school (college), so perhaps she didn't really even consider it. Anne talked about how things were different in those days. She said you would do things close to home. Go to school and church and work in the local area. Not like now, when we'll go long distances to shop or work.

We took some photos, and she took Adeena and me in to see her amazing (huge!) bedroom. Adeena and I visited with her, talking about her daughters three cats, and about her recent injury (she broke her ankle, then had a fall and re-injured the foot). She was getting around with a walker, but was clearly annoyed that she needed it.

We were there for hours. A once-in-a-lifetime experience with a very special woman!

I'm probably leaving out a lot. I didn't take any notes (Marilyn and Angel both did), so all of this is off the top of my head...

After that we packed a bunch of things into Candee's car that Anne had given her, then we got back in Angel's car and went back to the office. Then we all headed for home.

Anne is speaking early next month, and we're going to go listen to her. I'm excited to see her again.

In other news, we're watching a lot of Australian Open tennis.

Marilyn goes in at 8:00 tomorrow morning for a root canal. I keep praying that they'll be able to save this tooth. Your good wishes and prayers are greatly appreciated!!!

Anyway, I do NOT expect her to be able to go into work at all tomorrow...

Thankfully the weather was mild today, and it was NOT pouring down rain, as it has been recently. We've been having horrible amounts of rain.

Tags: 2015, adeena, angel, anne-the-riveter, candee, fitbit, food, history, january-2015, living-history, marilyn, rosie-the-riveter, steps, subway, world-war-ii, wwii

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