Rosie the Riveter: Women Working During World War II
i was born on November 7, 1924 in Mondamin, Iowa population about 500. I was the fourth from the top of twelve children born to Jesse Miller Beaman and Esther Marie Hoenig. Esther was a French WWI bride that my father met in a small town in France. Her first year was hard not speaking English and the women in Mondamin were not kind to her at first. My father didnt go to high school so he really wanted his children to go and to get that diploma.
After graduating from high school I got a job as a maid in Omaha , Nebraska , the only future I could expect. I would hitch hike from Omaha to Mondamin. My father heard about the National Youth Administration offering a course in radio assembly in Kearney , Nebraska . I applied and was accepted and traveled to Kearney , found a sleeping room with kitchen privileges. When I finished the course I went to work at the Kearney Army Air Base. I met my husband at a dance at the National Guard Armory that we, my room mate and I could walk to. Women went without escorts and danced with the service men. He was transferred to Sioux City , Iowa and I also moved to Sioux City and went to work at the Air Base. We were engaged by that time.
My husband Kenneth Snider was a sargeant in the Air Force. We were married April 8, 1944 in Kansas City , Mo. , his home town. After the war we lived with his mother in Kansas City for awhile. Our first daughter was born September 8, 1945 . Two more daughters were born in Kansas City in 1948 and 1954. We lived in D.C., Kansas City , Independence , Mo. Arlington , Va. and in Annandale , Va. My father in law had a restaurant in D.C. and invited my husband to learn the business, so we moved to D.C.
We did spend three and one half years in California where I worked in electronic assembly and when we moved to D.C. I got a job at The Naval Research Laboratory making use of the training that I got in California . I retired with twenty two years of government service as an electronic technician.
My husband was in the restaurant and night club business in the District of Columbia for years.
I think we felt that the war was necessary because of Hitler. I didn’t learn to drive until I was 42 so I had to find rides to and from work. My memory is not good. There were shortages, we coped and we shared. We had friends that we played card with. We loved to go to dances. I learned to dance by folk dancing with girls. My husband and I loved to jitter bug.
In Kansas City we moved into an apartment a few blocks from his mother and his three sisters so we cared for each other’s kids. We were friends with another couple. The husband worked with me and we lived in the same building. Their first child, a boy was born a few months before my girl. They went on to have four boys while we had three girls. They live in N Carolina and we write and have visited each other.
I have seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren, a set of triplets among them. Two of my daughters live two and four miles from me and the third lives fifty four miles away. My husband died in October 1992. I compiles a Beaman Family History for my family of which I am proud. Of the twelve children only myself and three brothers are left and I, at 79 am the oldest. TV is a good companion for me because I live alone. I crochet and sew constantly. I belong to a Methodist church just a half mile away. I am active there, in charge of a group of Seniors and enjoy Bible study and choir.
Please let me know if I can be of any further help. Sorry about my louse memory.
Yours truly, Elaine Snider
While working at the Air Base in Kearney I was sent to Tinker Field in Oklahoma City for a few weeks.
On one occasion I think it was in Sioux City I was three months pregnant and was checking equipment in a plane other than the B-17’s and I slide down a vertical shaft – from that time on my boss refused to let me go on the places. I had to remain in the shop. My daughter was born when we lived in Sioux City .