Rosie the Riveter: Women Working During World War II



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Maxine Ludwig


original photograph size: 7"x5"

World War II had been going on for awhile when I graduated from Wooster, Ohio High School, in 1943. Both of my brothers had already joined the service: one was in the Army and one in the Navy. They both saw active duty overseas.

My mother was already working for Goodyear Aircraft in Akron , Ohio , so I naturally joined her and got a job as a riveter, building Corsair Fighter Planes. The company trained everyone for specific jobs, and mine was as a riveter. They had to be smooth as glass. My partner, Ethel, worked on the inside and bucked all the rivets that held the plane together. We became good friends but lost touch when the war was over. She had family in West Virginia .

After the war ended, I went to Business College and brushed up on my typing, shorthand, and the newest machines. I didn’t care much for secretarial work and got a job as a receptionist in a photo shop.

While I was still in school, I wrote to every service man that sent me a letter. There wasn’t much to do and those guys were so far away and wanted to get news from back home. I also felt like I was helping their moral.

When the war ended, both of my brothers came home but were changed from what they had been through. My older brother, Malcolm L. Porter, was in Italy when they hung Mussolini and his girlfriend by their ankles in the square. He brought pictures home but my mother destroyed them. My brother is now in a nursing home in Akron , Ohio and is surrounded by family members.

My younger brother, Marion F. Porter, joined the Navy at the age of 17 and was soon on a ship headed for the Pacific area. He lives in Mechanicsburg , Ohio with his wife.

When the Japanese bombed Hawaii , I was a senior in high school and the thought ran through my mind, “Oh, God – this war will never end!” Thank goodness, we had a president that had the courage to drop the bomb!

I met my husband, Richard C. Ludwig, Sr., in Akron , Ohio after the war ended. He believed that he owes his life to President Truman because they were getting ready to ship out. When he finally was discharged, he went to work in his family restaurant. We met while I was waiting at a bus stop to go to work. He was walking to the restaurant and stopped to visit with me. We dated about six months and he asked me to marry him. Our folks were planning a big wedding but we weren’t too enthused about that, so we packed a couple of suit cases and took a bus headed to Denver , Colorado , where we wanted to go to Watchmakers College . The Greyhound bus stopped in Cheyenne , Wyoming and we got off. We went to the Courthouse, got a marriage license, and a judge married us September, 19, 1946 . Then we got back on the bus for Denver . Needless to say our parents weren’t too happy but both of our mothers eventually moved to Denver also, Dick went to Watchmakers College in Denver . After graduating, he decided to go to school on the G.I Bill and learn Auto Mechanics. That was more to his liking. After working for a caisson company for several years, he and a partner started his own caisson drilling company. We are still in the same business and have some of our family working there. We both had our 80 th birthday this year and are still involved in the business. Lucky us!

Maxine Ludwig


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