Rosie the Riveter: Women Working During World War II
I was born on a farm in Pottery County, South Dakota on April 28, 1920, the youngest of four children. I had one sister and two brothers; one of my brothers served in the Army in Europe. .
On Pearly Harbor Day, my sister, brothers and I were home. A neighbor came to visit. We had heard the news of Pearl Harbor on the radio and were kind of in a state of shock; it did not seem real.
My sister was the oldest; she and a friend left for San Diego , California , to work at Consolidated in June of 1942. Her friend had a friend living in San Diego .
In January of 1943, a friend and I left by train. I went to San Diego , my friend stayed in Los Angeles with her sister. We both went to work in the airplane factories. I rented one room for $10 dollars a week; this included 2 meals a day and the landlady did my wash.
I went to classes at Balboa Park for four weeks, and then went to work at Consolidated. I worked with airplane gas bags. They needed to be cleaned out very well, then we bolted a small door on and applied hoses. The inspector then came around to see if they passed inspection. I do not remember any of mine that did not pass inspection.
I worked the 2:30 until 11 PM swing shift. All of the people I worked with were very friendly. I soon had a ride with a car pool and didn’t have to ride the bus very long.
One of the experiences I had was meeting people from different states and countries. There was a lady from North Carolina who had a southern drawl and I could not understand her very well. Also the people from Mexico who I met for the first time were all very friendly. On weekends if we were not too tired, there were always places to go. Coronado Island and Tijuana , Mexico were two of the places. There were always Saturday night dances in downtown San Diego and of course the movies. We lived near North Park ; it was like a small town back home. Then there was Balboa Park and the zoo.
On VE Day, I was at a movie in downtown San Diego with a marine from Texas . They stopped the movie and ran the message of the war’s end. Everyone was quiet, the marine I was with said he needed to report back to camp. He took me to the bus stop and left to return to camp.
My sister and I stayed on in San Diego for awhile. I worked in a drug store and a restaurant. After more than three years in California , we decided it was time to go back to South Dakota on March 12, 1946 I met my husband and we married soon after. My husband had served in the Army for several years in Europe , and was one of the 12 soldiers to meet the Russian soldiers at the Elbe River at the end of World War II. We had three children, a son and two daughters. We lived on a farm for 37 years; my husband, Bud, passed away in 1984.
The picture I’m enclosing was taken at Austin Studio in San Diego while I was in California . I am still in touch with one friend from San Diego ; we exchange letters and phone calls.