Rosie the Riveter: Women Working During World War II

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Grace F. Ochenski

17 years old

original photograph size: 6"x4"

August 2, 2004

I was born in the old Grace Hospital in the city of Detroit , Michigan . My mother didn’t know what to name me so she named me after the hospital.

My mother passed away when I was 1 year old. My brothers and sisters and I were all placed in boarding homes until my oldest sister took us home to live with my father.

My husband and I went to school together (Nolan). When he was drafted and went to California he asked me to come there so we could get married ( 9/1/1943 ) in Holy Rosary church in San Bernardino .

Before I went to California the war broke out I worked at N.A. Woodward in Ferndale , Michigan . We made flanges for airplanes.

When my husband shipped out I came home and lived with my in-laws. I remember working at Dodge main making bows for the army trucks. I left there and went to work at Ford Motor Company in Highland Park , Michigan . There is where we learned to rivet parts on the B-24 planes. When the war ended we were laid off so the men that came home could have the jobs.

My brother Dominick Bon Tempo was wounded and shipped home. My brother James Bon Tempo was in the tank corp.

The girls I worked with at Ford’s would give blood and we could say who we wanted the blood to go to.

We also had a red and white flags in the window with blue stars for each service man. (Pictures enclosed). Yes we were rationed food and clothing but we managed very well.

I made many friends while working at Fords and we kept in touch for awhile, and then lost touch.

When the war ended in Europe I heard the 13 th Medical group was coming home so I was so happy I did summersaults! My husband was coming home. We picked him up at the train station.

My husband had bought some perfume for me and one of the bottles broke. He sure was teased about that.

I am enclosing, cards, telegrams, passes, and more pictures. I hope you can use them.

After my husband passed away April 29, 1992 I decided to do volunteer work and the local hospital. I have been a Volunteer for 10 years at St. John Macomb Hospital in Warren , Michigan .

Thank you for the opportunity to touch on a few old memories.

Sincerely, Grace F. Ochenski

 

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