Rosie the Riveter: Women Working During World War II

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Armentha Bolles Waldron

1942-1943

original photograph size: 4"x2"

I was born in Rexroat, Oklahoma on February 14, 1924. I lived there until age 17, when I finished high school.

My parents were Ernest and Violet Bolles. My mother was born in England and my father was born in Indian Territory before Oklahoma became a state. My great-grandmother was a Cherokee Indian Princess. Her family was driven out of Alabama on the Trail of Tears, to live on a reservation.

I am proud of my heritage.

I was raised with eight brothers and two sisters.

My father worked in the oil fields in Oklahoma for Magnolia Oil Company for many years.

At age 5, I entered school. We had a country school with 12 grades. We walked a mile at school. At age 17, I graduated from high school as Salutatorian.

After graduation, I went to California with my older brother and his wife to work. I was not old enough to work in the Defense Plants, so I worked in a Lemon Packing House in Chula Vista , California until I reached age 18.

I lived with my brother and his wife. I soon reached 18 years of age, and was workign at Rhor Aircraft Corporation. I met a young man from Texas . His name was Joe Thomas Waldron. He was also 18 years of age.

We were married the following December.

We had 5 short months before he was called to serve his country. After his basic training at Camp Collan , California , he was sent to Fort Ord , California . Later he was sent to Fort Lewis , Washington .

I left Rohr Aircraft and moved to Tacoma , Washington , to work for Boeing as a riveter.

I lived with a retired Senator and his wife, State Representative Albert Meade. There were 5 army couples living in the upstairs, sharing the same bathroom.

After several months, my husband, Joe, was told he would be leaving for Fort Bragg , N.C. I went back to California and worked for Rohr Aircraft for some time. After Joe left for Europe , I went to my parents home in Oklahoma and worked for Douglas Aircraft Corp. in Oklahoma City again, as a riveter. We built the Douglas B-19, the largest airplane ever built at that time.

After working at Douglas Aircraft Corp. in Oklahoma City for only a few months, I received word of Joe’s death on March 12, 1945 , in Moers , Germany . He had died 30 days prior to the date of the telegram I received.

I prayed for God to let me die because I had nothing to live for. But, God always knows best. He gave me something to live for.

When the war was over, Jim Henry Waldron, brother to Joe, came home from the India/Burma/China Theater of War. Before the war, we had worked for Consolidated Aircraft in San Diego , California , on B-24 airplanes.

After a short while, we were married and now have 2 children, 4 grandchildren, and 3 great grand children.

On March 25 th, 2004 , Jim lost his life to lung cancer.

I have grieved a lifetime from the loss of Joe and now my grief is great for the man who has been my life for 58 years.

I have learned to be thankful for the privileges we have in America.

I am 80-years-old and live near Seymour, Texas.

 

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