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Ladieis in Pants 


hj Mahle R. Gerken 



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Title page drawing by Wanda Belle Gerken 


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who have put up ivith my nonsense 
for m ^smy fears 

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JLiitkoif'fl Preface 

always were and there always will be. We cry peace, peace, yet 
there is no peace. As long as there are two ways of life, there 
will be people on each side— people who are sure their way is 
right. There will be men and women on one side willing to 
work, fight, and die if necessary, for what they believe is right; 
for fieedom, liberty, and the puisnit of happiness. 

There will be people on the otSi^ side, who kiiOW nodiing 
ol lli^ jo^ of being a free people, who fight mi #s loir lii^ 
aiv0xy hecms^ iliey must 6gh% for If tihey refosie^ itasy ^ 

This is a ^xatf t$ the women of America— ^e women who \ 
stood behind the men who stood behind the guns in the second | 
world war, the women who left the comforts and pleasures of 
their homes and swarmed into the factories and shipyards. ^ 

The hundreds of fighters, bombers, and Victory Ships turned 
out between 1942 and V J-Day are concrete evidence of what the 
women of America can do, the proof of what they have done and 
can do again if disaster ever threatens our land, whether it be 
aiiQth(@r Pearl Harbor or another Juda& 

It Is a we)t Ik^iowa facA ^t Wottien of aU JfiaiS(»i5 of Ife iml- 
Q&teered liieir serfic^s iii dircsralt Ig^iortes and shipyards, tiMM»i 
who liad never be^ inside a faccocjjr tiefore. Who is to say ^tuey 
didn't accomplish the same jobs as the men? 

Those of us who had the privilege of entering these plants, 
of helping to turn out bombers and fighters, will never forget, 
any more than the boys on the battle front will forget, the satis- 
faction of knowing that we stood shoulder to shoulder with other 
women, willing to work night and day that our children might 
live in a free country. 


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It was in December of 1942 that the radios broadcast for 
help. It was then that my niece, Fausteen, stopped by to tell me 
she had "enlisted." **Wie Woinim haye to get m md pitch,'* she 
ss^ her voice M of anxiety. you kno^ we no^ht lose 

milt dandi^ mvtsh^ from Omahi, Nebraska. When de- 
cided to move here, wc had very carefully selected die pioper 
location for her dance studio. She was doing welL 

"But what about your school?" I objected. 

"We won't worry about it just now," she said, "I'm working 
graveyard— midnight till seven A.M.; you can work the same 
hours. We have to do it!" I was convinced. The next night 
she stopped by again. I had talked to my family, my husband and 
two married sons. They thought I was too old. Nearly fifty. 

It was on January 7, 1943 that I b^an two years and seven 
{ months of the darkest, most strenuous, ii^e-racking time of my 
life. I t»nner knew w)i@et I left hooMi whether the plant: would hp 
U&vmmMmhdoii6 1 ^etmed; whj^er I wotsld reiuin «o hm 
iAks^ Smik00 M bem d^lpoyld* ^ son included; or Holly- 
wood, where my old^ son «^ experimenting with radar. My 
husband, I felt, was more or less safe as his office and our home 
is in the middle of nowhere, so of no value to the enemy. 

But all those things have been written again and again. There 
is nothing I can add to the worries and the sorrows of the 
mothers who smilingly sent their sons to battle, never to see 
them again. 

There is nothing I can add to the fathers who clasped their 
son's hands for the last time, hoping and praying this would be 
the last generation of war, hoping and praying for the eternal 
peace that failed to materialize aftef Woild War I, when they 
themselves hitd siiouldered t gun. 

^ No, l&uam h nothing you haven't read ab<^ ^ dirk dde 
pi dte war, sd tben, wSi ht the scorf o€ ili# women wluo 
-pM the d^hes in the smk tnd eaughi a **shar&-|lier^iide'* otf M 
' >£ odteir honse^ve^ doiflg i^i^ bit to bm&g vkioiry and pi^ai^ to 




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America. It will be the experiences of a few women in one plant. 
Multiply it by the hundreds of wartime industries, and you will 
find the average American woman. 

I have recorded in my diary all the humorous, simple, homey 
ibkigs that happenieMMJbe funny things that lightened the long 
fburk iiiEHi^ on jg^veytfM md itcoel^ted the beetle tmm m 

I ^iii^t to iteie dbese txj^^imc^ ivlifh th^ wometi who Uysd 
tiiem with me and also widi tiie woiijeii whir, for one tes0m or 
another were unable to. I recorded under ljie date of January 
7» 1943, the fpUowing entry: After spending two days taking 
my entrance examinations, I'm in: I've had my picture taken 
(what a picture!), fingers printed, eyes examined, stripped stark 
naked for a physical, had my chest X-rayed, and been blood tested. 
I've been accepted in Uncle Sam's home-front army. I pledge my 
best services until the war is won. 

I started to attend school here at the factory at midnight 
last night. Will work graveyard shift at school the same as I 
will later in the plant. Midnight to seven A.M. 

This is my first public appearance in slacks. My hips and 
rear are much too large. I am fat and forty-oddish. I was 
walking down the aisle this morning with a group of fdldW 
stad^ts when I qx>tted a lai^e wonmn Walking ah^ of ii& I 
tnnied to my ne%hboif aild said, ^ suppose I'm about the sh£e Qf 
that wotnaiL*' Sbs sized tip the o^er woman, tu^ looked 
me over and said, "Hell Nol'* Mow l am worried becaose I dCNEk^ 
know whether I look better or worse. Slacks arc compulsory, 
so I'll have to do some thing about the fat. ... 

I find this rather persCffial and perhaps should censor it; yet, 
there are thousands of women who could have written the same 
thing. So I let it stand. I will let the whole diary stand as I 
have written it. It is not a masterpiece of literature. I may even 
blush when or if I stop to analyze it, but I give it to you as it 
happened. I have changed the name of everyone, so that no one 
will be embarrassed— except, perhaps, myself. 

If, by chance, you find yourself in these pages, rest assured 


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that no one else will recognize you because you will be described 
differently and have a fictitious name. If you find your name, 
think nothing of it. It doesn't mean you. In a group of fifty 
thousand people there is bound to be more than one Marguerite, 
Maty Ann, Helen, Jane, Tom, Dick, or Harry. Haye ta! 

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Jammy 8, 1943 

This is the strangest school you can imagine. It is in the 
center of a huge building about 700 feet long and 300 feet wide. 
Probably sixty feet high. That's my guess anyhow, right or 
wioDg. A mm toi boiobeis being complex tik& op oiie hall 
of tibe bnildiiig, wMb laiialt temoAMes^ Wm^^^i^ ftd^<^ loplsi and 

Here ^ sboiit or forty m ^ dass; New 

ones coming in each day or m and others leaving to work on 
production. They are mostly women from twenty to sixty years 
old, who have no knowledge of mechanics. They tell me the 
men who apply for work are sent directly to the line. We have 
two young men teachers, who have worked in the plant for some 
time. They know their job, but I don't think they consider the 
fact that we beginners don't know the difference between a rivet 
gun and a drill. It is very confusing. Also noisy. 

We go into a soundproof conference room for lectures and 
instructions. It is about fourteen feet by twenty, with a large 
blackboard at one end, and the rest of the mm illed mdth 

We ail ris^h in and grab M s^t as ^ot^H ofr life di^ended 
upon $bA Mste w^irfe&^t mimgh lor t^mfm^ Wj^Bmk ism 
^ miisiad diaii& OnIy» liiez^ ikmy^ ^ enoti^ chaim We 
ha¥e oiir Silandird Aircrai^ Mani&d to study, and paper on which 
we draw pictures of the different sections of the bomber. I 
shall save mine. It is a masterpiece! Shows the fuselage^ wings, 
stabilizer, dorsal fin, rudder, landing flap, landing gear, bomb 
door, machine guns, etc. We copied it as the instructor drew 
it on the black board. He told us a story before starting class. 
He said we looked so tense we needed to relax. I guess we did, 
because I, for one, am scared stiff. 

You can't imagine how these bombers affect one until you 
get wbxd np with them. I'd sure hate to be the enemy when a 
hundred or so of them go over dropping their bombs* 

This stc«y was iHbam st mm who stepped up to ^ bstr ms3i 
oa^md s^m^ Vis^am, He ^rlok chewed up the glasss^ and pitt 


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the stem back on the bar. The bartender looked at him rather 
accusingly, so he said, "Guess you think 1*111 crazy." 

**You stise are," the bamodeir xqilied, is best 

part of 

lamarf 12,1943 

Now we know all about how the bombers are built. At least 
we tyok v/t db. They are made up of many sections called 
asisetjEitiies, i»ah built separately in jigs. Eveft tjhe $iiudle$l: mem' 

mt put toge^er in |igs. A jig is a permaiumt podtioiv « 
fmm^ or S£^i>]4 

Checking imr tools in and out of the tool crib is qiitce a 
stunt Everyone tries to talk the ^1 into giviiP^ them die isgatic 
tools each day. We imagine some are better than others, espe- 
cially the files. Then too, I notice some of the older girls meet 
the day shift and check their tools in and out to day shift at 
the same time. If they do the same with swing shift, of course 
they will get the same ones back next day. Then, of course, 
there is the question of time. We can't quit until the whistle 
blows, and after it does, we all rush madly at the same time. 

We dre really workii^ mtli #e imh. To b^in with, we 
had t6 eat a piece of s^iGGaiilMini^^^t^ iat^es s^iiari^ i&m^ 
k mill it was smootil on all four mdts and a peif eel squace* TIdb 
is the second day I have tried to square mine. Finally the in- 
structor noticed that I was still filing, while otib^ w<£re marking 
their material or drilling. He stood beside me a second, then 
taking the metal and square from my hand, he asked^ "Which is 
your basic side?" 

"My basic side?" I stammered, "I don't know." 

"You don't know!" he glared at me, "Why don't you know? 
Didn't you mark it? " Wonder what he thinks I am, a mind reader? 

"I should have known the basic side," I laughed, "Shouldn't 

He<iieid the mmi up and ioo&ed at all its edges. They were 
ssioolii as gla(£$ but nearly diamoiid shape ii^stead of square. 
I should never l^ve lavished. 


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He threw it in the scrap box (my two day's work), and said 
*'Go cut yourself another twelve inch piece, file one edge straight, 
mark It, square the edge to the right of it; then tfte one ^ left 
of It; tihe top |>e square. Yoa lienper iii (30^% worM a>iild 
a square by going around wd aroilild.*' 

I grabbed a pair of metsd slxamitom ^ betidi mioe^ oie mA, 
whacked off a twelve inch piece of aluminum from a large sheet. 
I clamped it in a vise and filed it vigorously. It didn't take me 
ten minutes. I marched over to where he was helping another 
girl and handed it to him. I intended to show him that I was 
as smart as any one, if some one took the trouble to instruct me. 
His eyes crinkled at the comers, but his mouth was firm. 

"Now," he said, "go make yourself another one." 

I did. Then I took a foot rule and marked off one inch 
squares on both of them, put the two pieces together, put them in 
« vise md tkiPed h&lts kt ijie fonor coioiezs i>f squ^ Yon 
see, I i^t ooi^ i^^md how t& a squaiv ^pare, but I lealxied 
t& keep my^ eyes cf&t and «^ tirtelt tlie x^esc the ibises wis d^og* 
We put a cleco in all four holes to secure it. 

A deco loolci like a large metal bobby pin and is used for 
about the same purpose: to hold material in place. It is pushed 
through a hole with a cleco gun, and is taken out again with the 
same gun. 

Next we drilled a hole in each comer of the one inch 
markings. Then we were ready to rivet. Martha and I had been 
sitting together at lunch and rest periods, so we automatically 
became partners. It takes two to rivet. One puts the rivet in the 
hole with a rivet gim, while the other uses the bucking bar. A 
bucking bar is a solid diiliik of metal wMoh i$ fhi&td Idyiid 
the rivet to flatten it out oa die ttndenieatli side so It 1^ lioid 
tight. We change off, first one riveting while the other bucks, 
then Tessa. 

Mardia k a litd^ yoiiager tHati atid qnit^ iSIM, 
very d^k lia^.aad her black eyes fairly snap when ^e 
Also wlhen she is annoyed. We finished both our squares, and 
I was proud of our work. It looked like a silver pillow with rows 

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of brass buttons. While I was dreaming about whether or not 
we would be allowed to take them home, our instructor said, 
^diiiiHtow you can drill tile rivets out ataed pot in larger ones.** 

January 13^190 

JMSMi^ out rivets Is imdk lidider ^uiit |itici^ ttai in. 
lliere seems to be a tridc m il tltat the instructor has masiered, 
but it will take time to catch on. The main thing is to get the 
drill straight and in the center of the rivet. The head is curved 
and the drill usually runs oflF sideways and that scratches the 
aluminum. It does it so quickly that you don't know it until 
it's too late. That is one thing we dare not do when we are 
working on the bomber. Scratches weaken the material and 
weak spots may cause an accident and several lives. We are 
told that again and again. 

January IS, 1943 

I wonder if I will ever forget how things look under the 
peculiar lights we have here. The first thing that shocked me 
was the people's faces. They were ghastly, like a dead person's! 
IThe filst look at tilem, befoiie ymt mi&m it's ^e lights, is enough 
t@ scare i^e daylights out of you. Just lor an mmsA fm wchi^ 
what Miid of people you ate gdli^ to Wixrk frith* Then jm 
see yoiar own liaad& l%en i£e clothe^. Eirea tbe inen we^ 
decked out in various shades of lavender and piuple. Tliit & die 
way blue looks. Yellow, pink and gre^ are very pretty, altilOii^ 
quite a different shade than when in a natural light. 

My first day here I had a real ham sandwich. It was delicious. 
Then I looked at it. It looked spoiled. And you should see a 
tomato: We still eat our lunch, but we don't look at it. 

Jammy IHB 

WeH^ ti^ days of school Filing metal, drilling holes, rivet- 
ing, bttid^iQ|['^ drilling and filing again. This morning at one 
o*clock, OQf liistriictor called eight wctiim t^de, Including iVIar- 
ilMi and the. 


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arc to go with Mt^ Qemg^ im sM* 'Tou are needed 

right now I'm petrified, ^hp^-' I xnanaged to object^ H don't 
dimk Fm good ascni^i^ to oit ^ bopitxa'/' 

^Qti imf tm&e see % met I hi^^ he ktsghed. 

lie miM see I pifia^ so he picked tep $ tbm gud and 
showed me how he held it, then handed it to me. "Your hands 
are too anall," he said. 

That after ten days! They were not dull days by any means. 
We had a half hour for lunch and ten minute rest periods. We 
all sat along the aisle on benches and compared notes and told 
stories. Some of the women were refined, others not so much so. 
Some were really tough, and others thought it was smart to act 
tough. They were housewives, clerks, office girls, waitresses, re- 
tired teachers and even a librarian. 

Tkey^ imie tali and ^ort, thin v0$ lat> Ho matter what size, 
age, coliofr or bacl^pofifid, i^ Is $ lor e?eir^ wimi fo 
do her sfaaJre m "vs/hsm^ a 'Wmt^ 

Mr. C^ip t^ol[ us 1^ tihe mailt office. From there we were 
eSG0f^ to %m!^Smg1^ii^^. It is the largest building in the plant. 

One of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen met us ia 
the center of the building. Her name is Betty and she is the super- 
visor's clerk. She was wearing a navy blue (purple) slack suit 
which accentuated the curves, and a yellow blouse, bobby sox and 
a yellow rose in her hair. She asked each of us our age, then 
introduced Martha and me, who were the oldest, to Bill, who 
signed us in on a job ticket. The other six girls followed Betty 
to another department. Bill is B Lead on the cmteif Sf^^oii of 
die fuselage. He is a cnte fitid^ li^ow mtfy dstk: hahr, fast 
titmSii^ gray at the t!^]3|ieS| m$ a hoyj^ sr^le. It's Itaf d m tell 
fioW aid myistmk in t|t^ %fbts. 

**You girls are to be ^kfeers/* he M»fm us. "Go over 
t£» the tool crib and get yourselves a cleco gun." We looked 
at each other a second and then started where he had pointed. 
At least we knew what a cleco gun was. We soon found that the 
skin was the aluminum sheeting. 


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Tim gfrk ott oot podM^ were good afaioiit helping us get 
started. Some o«ie had htd to^^l^ Tlw whole 

momiiig we were putting sksa on the bomber. I^ot ^eiai]|^ it, 
of course, but, neverthdessi we are quite as uxiport^Qt. m liie 

There are framers who put the metal frame together, then 
skinners who put the skin on and hold it in place by putting clecos 
every foot or so until the riveters can rivet it. Just like basting 
a quilt. After the rivets in between are bucked on, the cleco is 
taken out and a rivet put in its place. My hand and arm hurt 
like the dickens. The girls say it is because I am using muscles 
l.ha¥im*t used before. 

January 19, 1943 

Well, I had my first big disappointment today. Martha 
and I were so happy when we went home yesterday. We ex- 
pected to come bade today and finish up where left off. The 
line had moved lour #aies SMoe We quit, so otr plaiie 4o^ 
four posidoiis and looked practtcsly £QiNhe4 Qam we eadi 
peict^ to build t boinbetv We fust starts on atiother plane, 
and of course, found out that is all #e havf to look forward to. 

The skin c^es in differient shoed pieei^ es^ vin0k a number 
on it. Some are long and narrow, others nearly square. They 
are put on like shingles on a roof, only they are much larger. 
The fuselage is built in four sections: the forward section, the 
center section, the rear half, and the tail section. We are working 
on the center section. Some sections where the skin laps, the cle- 
cos are not strong enough to hold, so we have to put temporary 
bolts in. Today I pushed the bolts through from the inside and 
IVCartha ptU; nuts on tibfe oflliside. Tomorrow we wiiUl diai]||e oM, 

Thistt ate foiir pj^ working at this portion. IThe otl^ 
two know whs^ tbf^ are doing ^nd Martha and I do what 
ieU us. Bill comes emry UnaSs while iynd looks iMa^ overt 
He has charge of a wholq £0W <P^f are being worked 

by different girls at the same time. I say girls, although here 
and there you do see a man. The Leads are mostly men. 


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Boy, tiroke our hecks M jQiimiing from six-thirty 

to quitting ihad We partly stinaciiil aoo^hef f^aoe* l^biftlm 
pat litis row of itoIt$ in, i^oiit two doaasm 1 pai ^ nuts on ti« 
outdde. I liad Ho Mea it Was so: easy^ Wli^'I was on 
yesterday and Martha was putting the nuts on, slie seeooed to have 
qiiit^ a bit of trouble tightening them, but they went on slick fof 
me. I was commencing to think I was pretty good. The upper 
skin seemed to be in the way, however, so I called one of the 
older girls. "Is there something we should do about this top 
skin?" I shouted. 

"That's what you're bolting down," she yelled back at me. 

*'It's not what I'm bolting down," I said. 

M» was on top of the jig, but in less time than it takes to tdl 
it, she Was besade sae. **&^s bellsP^ she sHoiited, 'You're only 
piittbg bok i^uiMQ^h: one piece of skm. A hdfl o£ a lot ol 
gobd 1^ would dor- 

Martiha was practically standing cm her head jnsi^ plane, 
trying to catch what was going on. I flew to the s^&sps to tell her. 
We have to shout as the drillers and riveters make so much noise 
you can't hear. 

"Grab your wrench," I yelled "and hold those bolts while 
I take the nuts off." Of course she couldn't see any sense in that 
as we had just put them on, so she had to crawl out of the plane 
and see for herself. 

The day shift commence to straggle in about six-thirty and 
perch themsdyes here aiid tliei^ waiting for time to go to work 
Our fingers sore ft^ .IbeCause we didoi^t Want thcsn to ]Snd out 
how dumb We were. Oir rather, how dumb I 

January 21, 1S4S 

y<Ni^ tiitik we w^ a cot^le hero<|$ iSm morning, 
way 1^ i^is ctowded around us, kiddi^ us about tlie mstake 
we made with the bolts. 

'•No use feeling bad," they chattered and giggled, "we all 
do it, sooner or later." Each one had her own private boner to 


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relate. Yesterday we were all strangers; today we are friends. 
Even Bill patted me on the shoulder and said, "Qieer up, Mable, 
the worst is yet to come." 

It certainly is a relief when the whistle blows for lunch or 
rest period. The noise all stops and we can breath freely again. 
We dash madly to the row of benches just as we did in school. 
Some smoke, some bring something to eat, but most of us rush 
for the candy machine. They say candy gives you energy. I 
guess I am forgetting my figure now that I have more important 
things on my mind. 

The few minutes of quiet gives us a chance to get acquainted. 
THiat are women from most of the states in the union* Some 
live here, others have ccoiie to the coas^ ^lutlp lii^ ^be wai** 'thty 
WiU retilm hpem when ishe wis is mrni. Mary I am partj^iilarl^ 
f oiid of. She is a fiinfier^s wife. She was ra&ed on a larni bai^ 
in Kansas. She married a Kansas farmer, and they have two 
children. They are living with relatives and the children are in 
school. The father works days, and Mary works graveyard. 
They are saving their money, buying bonds, and dreaming dreams 
of returning to a farm of their own in Kansas. 

Betty flits by every now and then, spreading sunshine with 
her smile. She is positively a breath of spring, sunshine, and 
flowers. I still think she is the loveliest girl I have ever met. 

Jamttffy 24, 

Fausteen reaches the car each morning before I do. She 
works in Building One, so has only half as far: to walk. She 
looked grim th^ imdming as she pushed idbe Icey m ^ Ib^:. I 
noiaced ^ had beett watcluiiif nse from tbe paryng Wl I was- 
Itntj^aig emt tibe ro|i^ ii^Mlg' In itm lo^id as 1 

w^ si]||><^ed to do., 

**Say," she called to me, "don't you knOW you're not allowed 
to cut across?" She was smiling wryly. 

"Don't be silly," I said, "we always do that." 

"Well," she said, "I had a lecture on how to walk this morn- 
ing, so I fought I'd pass it on to you." 


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mh^^ I asied fmsma las a perfect wiSSi lung 

fisl,: ttid channing. 

"That's right," she said, placing one hand behind her hip, the 
other behind her head, and with a little twist she took slow 
mincing steps the length of the car and back again. "This is the 
way I walk." 

"Yeh?" I said. 

"And this is the way I'm supposed to walk." She bent for- 
ward, taking quick long strides, her arms swinging at her sides. 
Of course I laughed. 

* % makes me »ia4 M« telling me }mm m 

I am i^iy fottiu^te to hive Fai]$teen im d dziVeff M she 
pidcs me tip at home and ietii]!tis me home. Most of tlie ^^iai^-i 
the-ride" cars let you off on the main higtiway, aiid^you Jbave to 
walk two or tliree blocks. 

Jammy 30 j 1943 

lli^ |p¥)r)^33£d^^s^^ one I hardly know 

wto day k k* I @^e to one d]^ and go hoine db 
t pundi i^e time dock at my iekuxe anytstee Irom ekviadir#dN^ 
P.M. to midnight. 

But coming home is a different story. Every one tries to get 
to the clock at one time. We grab coat, lunch pail, purse, or what 
have you, and push and crowd like a hundred mad people. They 
tell me about fifty thousand people work here now. Three 
shifts. It's a good thing they have plenty of time clocks. One 
for each department, I presume. The funny part of it is, no one 
wants to clock out until one minute after seven because it looks 
bad to the Army. we line up and wait until the first person 
decides it k One iniaute ajte. IPben^ alter att itm scramble* fto 
one is more i^sm tJiree ntet^ alter seirea cio<sking out. We do 
it every day* * 

We swarm out of all the differoit JoOIS of all the different 
buildings and melt toget^r in a huge wave of humianity. The 


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loud speaker sings out with "Stars and Stripes Forever," and we 
hurry, heads up and shoulders back, through the tunnel under the 
street to the parking lot and try to remember where we left our 
car the night before. Whoever thought of the music really has 
something. We are all so tired we don't know whether we can 
drag from building twelve to our car or not. It is approximately 
a mile. Then we get to swinging to the march time and before 
we know it, there we 

f^hnmy 10^ 1943 

Yesterday afternoon we were on top of the hill near here. 
We stopped our car and looked in the direction of the plant. 
There was nothing there except a small town. Houses with 
trees and shrubs, streets going both ways. You couldn't tell 
where the mock village stopped and t&e sisal one ^tar^, It ts 
truly cotms£ifid* Alf mmy" aixcxafe wovid tmer sasp^^ that it 
was bnik dn top of the biill#pg$. Tlbe 1i|%e. ciove^ng w|i^ iFfii^ 
tation gtiss lesiEtj^nds acn»s liie f^Eceet |»af kkf lot. Rnniof im 
it that our plant is one of liardest to detect ftma I3ait sui*. 
Everyone is passing the story around that they htave ipactQientS 
for rent. Also that the Army and the F.B.I, have rooms up there. 

There are usually six officers at the center tunnel where we 
go in and out. Sometimes there are one or two women. We show 
our identification card with our picture (what a picture!) on it, 
our badge, and open any lunch pail or package we may have. 

The north tunnel is about the same. The south tunnel and 
gate have lewer police, as less people come in and out tliat way^. 
The sosLtii^und busses stop on the w^: s^ t^f die street. Tbat 
lets paft of &xmi 0mifi0 Ibe ^ites. tim noirt^-^lKnind ones 
stop ^ ^e east is9ie ol ^ stzee^ and i^m^ people come tihrol^ 
^e tunnels, as do t|ie Workers who drive cars. Inside the center 
tunnel is a man selling nickels. Dozens of people crowd aroimd 
him, pushing and shoving. I crowded in too. When in Rome, 
do as the Romans do. He was handing out nickels and taking in 
quarters, halves, and dollars. The candy, gum, and cigarette 
machines were the answer. 


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We had a $mt^'S^ swfittte Bond Rally at the band stand. 
Seym-thirty for Qitf sMit, tmoh-^wi^ fm smmA M£t and ftm 
WM, lor^ shtl& *SIodc Bv^i^^i£E%nias wem i^y^^ to people 
ftiieady tmys^ lioiads i^i%lt the pdiftok pkn. We are 
pdd every Saturday. 

You should see the build up: 

1. There's no better way to save. United States War Bonds 
are the most sound investment we can make. Xhey pay twice as 
much interest as you get in the banks. 

2. Put your dollars to work, too. We on the production 
front are doing a big job, and doing it well. But Uncle Sam needs 
the help of our dollars too in paying for the tools of Victory. 

3. Keep taxes down. We can help keep taxes down by buy- 
ing plenty of War londi^i. 

4< to per i$ Me to pay f or IreedlanL 'The M4 next 
door who comes home Irom CaMgdaliirsanal mfy one 1^ was 
figltolng fm yon mi me» and he gave lots more tiboii 10 ptt ctm* 

5. Unde Sain is counting on us. Let's ^ow ^ ginferninent 
that we can not only do a real job of building aii^lanes, but are 
patriotic Americans in every other way too. 

6. Bonds are post-war buying power. When the war is 
over, lots of us are going to want new automobiles, etc. It's 
going to be dam handy to have a sock full of War Bonds. 

7. Our Bonds can prevent inflation. The largest national 
income in history has created billions of dollars of excess pur- 
chasing power that may cause an inflation that would be a 
<ii^uter lor ^ w^e eamm, because It wUl zoom up prices ol 

Si tFl^ is not ano^er dedudioau II is a proitable litrm of 
saving. You are not givmg. You are lending. 

February 14, 1943 

I was ttylx^ td decide wither. I Isiionid buy the required 
toois to ke^ niy job or ^rt v^ wluai Ml saunteied over to tibe 


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Origirai from 

"Are you having trouble?" he asked. 

"My arm pains and my back aches," I replied, "and here is 
a request that I purchase tools." I handed him the paper. "It 
looks as if they expect to keep me on the job." 

He knew that my application for employment asked for the 
P.BJC. board, office, or stockroom work. "Come with me," he 
said, %ew ^eed& « stock clerk.*' 

I fdlowed iuin ovd^ m iks n/ei^ iS^ past; the ^Idmiing jigs 
W the immtig de|>aitqi^t. A tail, stout ^foiii^ fdlow with 
lliimung light hair paused as we approa#^ed» "Mable,*' Bii said^ 
"Tlus is Lew." 

Lew hesitated some time before he would commit himself. 
He looked me over from head to foot, and I was glad I had on 
a new slack suit and had taken the time to pull a few curls from 
under my bandanna, so I didn't look quite so much like a peeled 

Finally he asked, "Have you done stockroom work?" 

"I'm familiar with the procedure," I evaded. He said he 
wasn't quite ready for a stock clerk, but as long as I was there, 
I c^uld stay for the time being. I was shown to 'ELP.Mk. As 
h# aiid Ml walked away, I farted him say, "Y6a xiugkf know 
they'd he old or fat if thc^ come in my deparonent.** 'Xtiat 
sboiiM hold nie lor #Ple. Iwtmdeirhow^ldtii^y'iQse. lihest 
%hts make ym look ten yeais older than yoii really tre, but 
they don't make you look fat. I shall w<%h myself today. 

February 15, 1H3 

I sdU h^pe lor tibe P3.X» botrd^ I haye t^A^ ^luriislt-' 
up coocse and have been taking my wti at tiie ^eDity-four hour 
Control Center at the City HaJ 

Former telephone operators man the Station. There is r^Uly 

nothing to do, only answer a few calls a night. It is an emergency 
set-up, and a fine one too. I shall continue to take my turn as my 
hours are in the evening. I go to the City Hall on certain days 
from eight P.M. to eleven P.M., then take the bus to the Plant. 
There are direct lines from the police department, fire sta- 


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tions^ tdi^one company i beetle md tt^ateir d«|>ar(Eti^^ hm- 
pitals, doctosis* iiesldences and T^aiiaiis etfii^ agencies, indttibg 
the Red Cross. 

Last week I worked with a girl from day shift. They had 

quite a joke on me. They sent me out to buy some coffee as we 
have a stove and coffee pot. We drink very little coffee at home, 
so I hurried to three different stores before I found out that there 
is no coffee for sale. They are going to ration it. When I got 
back to the station they had coffee made and rolls to go with it. 

February 18, 194^ 

Our supervisor's desk is just about fifteen feet from my 
counter. His name is David. Sitting very tall and erect, he bends 
forward from the waist when he talks to Betty, who sits on the 
opposite side of his desk, the keys of her typewriter clicking 
rhydWc^y betrn^n tib«3!n. He fs&^t mm ^ve a board down 
ills had:, f$ he neirer him^heshis stKnilieEs as people # w]lea 
ey li^d lofvi^d. He is probably abont W^e^^^m, He i^s^ 
Bmf eondntially: Br6bably diccaisng, \m I si^ vM$ I 
C idd hear what he sayS. He never smiles. He never ^tea&s 
to people unless tbey stop to talk to hi^ Thm be is stexn, 

Betty is adorable; she smiles and speaks to everyone who 
passes her desk. Her glossy brown hair tumbles in a riot of 
curls over her forehead, and her brown eyes remind you of a 
mischievious puppy. She can't be over eighteen. Her fingers 
fairly fly on the typewriter. Today she slipped into the stock- 
room to powder her nose. It was like a breath of fresh air. No 
strong perfume, just the faint odor of the rose she had tucked in 
her hair. (I wonder where she gets the roses.) 

**Do you think you are going to Uke us?" she asked. 

*Tm mie I wiH,** I m^sw^e^ **oidy' I'iii aie^d I worft hafse 
work enough to keep tm here.** 

**We*rft g&i»g to fceep you heief * sM aiithotita^irely, 
you get boiedt I^i ind yoil seafiae woik." 

I've only been here a few nights, but so far this stockroom 
work is more like being a n%ht watchman. Outside of checldng 


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m a few parts md pMog them in H»e proper to, iiem is i^ry 
little to do. I keep taking die parts out of the bins, coimtiag and 
duson^ them, aiid piltting them back in again to keep awake. 
From midnight to seven A,M. is no time to sit around if you 
expect to keep awake. 

February 24, 1943 

I like my job better every day. I'm learning to sleep in the 

daytime, and my arm has quit paining me since I gave up the 
cleco gun. The day girl comes in just before I leave, and I come 
in just before the swing shift girl leaves. I don't know why we 
call each other girls, they are both as old as I am. Or is it the 
lights? We always have a few minutes to compare notes and 
pass along a few rumors. 

Things are very cdnfusmg heiie, whether ilccidentally ottaSL 
purpose, llie first day, I opes»<l thje Ic^ b&f& Wkttt we ©ater 
met fMUts, and at l^e top ^ tbt *%fa^vm$ point 

^ Is in die soi^east md of ^ bii^ldui^* iToii wiil ite asked a 
hundred times a day." And I guess I have at that. This is recei^E- 
ing point 6A. Across the aisle is receiving point 4A. They are 
in the center of the building. We call them receiving points, not 
stockrooms. But they are stockrooms to me because we keep 
the stock in them. 

All the parts, whether made in another department of the 
plant, or purchased from a vendor, are sent to D.P. 12. Records 
are kept there of what departments use the different parts. They 
are routed to those departments, and stored in the receiving points 
to be issued out as production needs them. 

We log them in our book, compare the parts itsi|it tho^ We 
akeadj^ have, to be stire diey right, then bundle diem in pack- 
age CKf tmnitf and jput diem li^ tlie proper bin. Each kill him a 
bin card m the front It widi ^ number ojf t^e part$ and the 
group It k put on. We are allowed to tape diei^ la any sonoiSEit 
we desire, but yesterday I put ten stiffeners togethet because diey 
were heavy to handle, and today I find they are taped two to- 
gether, so hereafter I will tape everything in twenties. I think 


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a good reason for them m be $s thejf but ^ctu would think 
they would be in rotatiicok We have angles stamped 1788-1 and 
1788-2 etc. The one may be on one side of the stockroom and 
the other on the other side, instead of being next to it. 

I have not learned the names of the parts yet. Neither have 
the girls on the line. One girl came up to the counter today and 
said, "1 want ten ships of those Httle do-jiggers up there," point- 
ing to the box she meant. I showed them to her. "No," she said, 
"that's the right side, I want the left. It's in the next box." I 
pulled out the next tntt **11iart:'s it," she said, I have to have 
tbe Htde curly-cue and that straight piece, that goes on JJum'* 

^*¥oii better cqm fiird tfieB%" I tc^Id her. They have beea 
u^ tO' belpag dlMsmselves, as fiiere. hasn't been a stock d.&ek 
worMnig «ai |p^^yard. What she actually got was a lever^ a 
spmgr 90.d two angles, for each assembly. 

Tliib k tlte worst plac^ for passing the bock Ihsit 1 ever got 
into. I a^ed OiarHe a^botit mm fart$ on m asse mbij. He Md^ 
**Oh, I ^on*!; w^k tto f6b« you'll ha#e to «ek Bill.*' t asked Bill 
and he Said^ "Well, I wouldn't know if those could be used or 
not, because that's Lew's job." I asked Lew and he said, "Oh, 
that's a new assembly and the girl who works.on it isn't here today^ 
you'll have to ask Charlie." 

I stood there a minute with my hands on my hips, staring 
at him. Finally 1 said, "That's where I came in." 

He gave me a searching look, because, of course, it didn't 
make sense to him. I turned on my heel and stalked back to my 

The jnnoie I tiionght it over tj^ moxe puzzled I became, until 
funidty I dedM to have a I coimfed BiE; He was 

my Sist Lead» so I g^iess It was mtntiil ta expect Mm to t^m 
tM^ Up, *'How listen^" I said, "these p^^ came in today. Here's 
the card saying they belo^ here, so I accepted tiaem. Now» where 


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do^iey MoQg? I dtm^ BsiSi my iaoft ^e ^i^ so I dda^ m 
know whetlica: ^tyr ftre light or not, and why is k litat e^^Eytme 
I ask knows no more about it than I do?" 

Bill's eyes twinkled, and he patted me on the shoulder. "Now 
take it easy, Mable," he laughed, "There isn't one of us who has 
been in this department more than four months," 

"Four months," I exclaimed, "That's not possible!" 

"Well, you know it's the impossible things that are pushing 
the bombers right off the line and into action." 

March 10, 1943 

We have a large box in the stockroom that we sit on. This 
morning I peeped into receiving point 4A as I clocked in, and 
saw quite a nice bench, so when I caught Lew and Bill together 
I said, "I want to show you what the girls in 4A have." I took 
theol over and showed them. 

"That's iiottoig/* Bill said, "it*s too anall, too high-** 
*'Yeh, ^ took at the my i^s bmh;*' Lew aild^ 
Later tod$y^ I^w &mib ift 4z!^|^ Mi a jozen boai^ about 
six feet lot^. They were covered c6&ie^ 
"What in the world are those?" I asked. 
About that time Bill showed up with a saw, hammer, and a 
handful of nails. While Bill sawed the boards, Lew rounded up 
some scraps of padding, but no one could find a cover. They 
soon had the bench together and it was a sorry sight. I spent half 
the morning scraping the cement off the boards. I have some tan 
material, upholstering braid and nails at home. Just wait until 

March 11,1m 

The bench is complete, and what do you think? It is large 
enough for nie to olrl tip on a^d sleep. I spent my lunch pedod 
diat way this snoxning. "Qo ahead,' * Be^ io^ed, % the 
whMe does«i*c get yo« upj I wlB,*' 

The whfe4e is aitoost over iny stdckto^ $0 1 feaew it would 
walfie inetip* Ther^ockroom is closed m llifee^es luid open 


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at one end ti^b^^ ccmnti^ ls^ so %li ^te prMitse at ^ mt cB4* 
I jiisc heard W^if i3m miai t&sen$f tbey* Just had two 

stockrooms in building tw^elviQ* One at eac^ tnicl o£ ^ builduig. 

Production helped themselves to what they wanted. 

Now there is a rumor that they are going to make a new 

department altogether, consisting of nothing but stockrooms. 

Now I am working under Bill and Lew, and they are working 

under David. 

According to the rumor, we will have a supervisor and lead 
men of our own. Betty and David have asked to keep me in 
R.P.6A. That's a pretty nice compliment, although I don't think 
Dai^ hm mmek to say about k. I iMsk Betty is i3m super- 
yisoir. Wliat sl^e says goes with tmu tpM Le'^ to bring 
tine o^ 4 typer)^ itomiixt <^ce^ iso he ^iiags ^e &mt eadi 
morning and takes it badk hdkm wie home. When I haven't 
anything else to do I type records for bodi Bill and Lew. It keeps 
me from going to sleep and helps them. 

I know now why Lew said he always got the old or fat 
women in his department. His section is on the floor and Bill's 
section is the high jigs. And speaking of fat women— I have gained 
six pounds this last month. Too many candy bars. 

March 20, 1943 

Bill sat on my bench for about an hour today studying his 
records, tickets, and a list of names. I was doing some typing for 
him and I couldn't figure out what he was doing. Finsdly I 
asked him. 

"Mable," he said, "this is the hardest job I have. I'm grading 
my girls." 

"You're not doing it right," I joked, "The way I heard it, 
you look them over, pick out the cutest ones and give them the 
best grades." 

*^ow» where did you b^iur tha#" be a^0d« 

^'Wdl^ it^ mot Qriie tamtr whete ypti he^d It "X^akse 
M Wm^* ii iaidj plating to ^ w^m^ **she*s beesi itMi 


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the company sgi^t^td and site's goo^- On 1^ i^^m batid, 

here's Martha, she's only been here a short lltne She*s jiisC 
good. Now, should Martha get a better grade because she can 
do good work in less time, or Ellen, who has done good work 
longer? See what I mean?" 

Bill is a fellow I'm going to watch; he'll go places. 

Bill had no more than left the counter when Lew came over 
and perched on the corner of my bench. There's not much room 
for me when he sits down. Not an awful lot of room for him 
either when I sit down. 

**Gdt ta get my girls graded," be saidL I c^ntinaed typing, 
mi in t few iiiimites he was thrcw^tH iai ducking under tiie 
cosihter to be on 1m way^> 

"You don't have much troaMe gfaiSk^ your girls,, do you?** 
I asked. 

"Nope," he said, "they're all good girls. They know what 

they're doing." 

Now I am wondering. Maybe he is right. Maybe Bill was just 
killing time. Maybe his feet hurt, or maybe he just likes my bench. 
A girl is either a good worker or she isn't, so what the heck? 

The supervisor sits within fifteen feet, and saw both boys do 
the same job. Or did he see anything except Betty? I have 
managed to get a grunt out Of iam m liie fiioming now. 1 cmne 
in anging "Hi Divid," asd he mys, **MmtM^ 

Another funny thing happened today. I am getting more or 
less familiar Wi^ the stock bin now, but every once in a while 
I £nd more dniiii mmll^i^ la a bin, H I Irave nothing to do 1 ma 
go to tiie htoe ind eheck liu^ prtnl, It is t&iially 

iibe right and left of t!bte same |>art and s^bould have t^een stan^ei 
dash one and dash two. In i&^ eam 1 take a grease fmiM m^ 
mark each part correctly. But this lever was something different 
again. It didn't have a dash number. It was about the size of a 
cigarette case, some having two prongs and some three. I 
haven't bothered to pull the print. I always ask whoever comes 


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for it if they want the two or three prongs. Invariably they 
will say, "It doesn't make a bit of difference." 

The girl who actually works on the assembly doesn't always 
come for it. Just so that I get a signed issuance card I don't care 
who gets the parts. However, I always give them the one with 
the three prongs. It looks so much better. Today I followed the 
girl out to the jig to see what happened to it, and was I astonished? 
She eut the midi^ p^ong dot i&few in die scrap hot, 

I h$ye4fU^eo^ect tfbe di^not fheo&^mtmLiim In 
the stockrooms, tius^ axe aix^ed so ^ gfOtips v/M be tp- 
getii^* We have a group card witto dl. title suimes and numbess 
that are to be built together. Those parts are placed together to 
faciUtate pulling the assembly. Very simple. 

I still wish the supervisor's desk was closer so I could hear 
what David and Betty are talking about. It is no doubt serious 
administrative problems, but if you were looking at a movie you 
would know he was making love to her. I wonder if he is mar- 
ried, I hope not. Betty isn't. I asked her. Some day I will 
get nert?e enough to ask her about David. She really doesn't 
have a mmiite to visit. She's not at **Night WatdlMn** like me. 
She k very pretty and graciiwis. 

Yon should s^ ^e #ld lei^ at h^ as pass 
f h^e's somethii^ pathetic about an old iiian whm ht attoilces 
a young girl. He just can't realize that the girl wouldn't iiaie 
for an old man. Betty smiles at them and humors them, but not 
with the same gusto she displays for the younger men. I think 
she is sweet on one young man who works on day shift. He 
comes in early and visits with her as she gets ready to go home. 

April i, mJ 

Today we were gmai a lovely silver **Bond-a-month" pin 
with the request that we wear it pinned on our shoulder. It is a 
badge of honor to show that we are patriotic. Huh! It has 
reaUy been quite an event. The "Bond-Ardiers" were appointed 


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tbrcn^due the plant and given a list of emplofces^^v^ iiot 
subscribing to the bopd payroll savii^ jdao. 

They were given a special note saying: ''Keep this entire 

project confidential. Large banners of a mysterious nature will 
be hanging in the plant all during the preceding week, but let's 
not reveal the details as to what "M-week" is. Build up suspense 
and anticipation. 

It really did. Everyone was asking everyone, "What's the 
*M' for?" I for one never did find out what die was for, 
biiit I'm guessing it stands lor Molnllizatioii. It^s not a bit sorpeis^ 
mg that nearly everyone is wearing a pin. 

April 10, 1943 

The girl in receiving point 4A quit yesterday. She had no 
trouble checking out as she had been absent a great deal She 
has three small children and it seems one or die other of them is 
always catching something. ooaxsc ^ Itad tp stay hoiii« md 
lake care of dion. She W3B a sdbml tm3m before he^ oMifilage, 

Jane is tsMug hcf pfoo^ |M wt^ in 4€j WMck di^ am 
elittuaads^. She iig qiibe a ^lamiing woman of die old school. 
I can picture her in crinolines, her hair piled high and powdered, 
doing a minuet. She is a litde on the plump side, well laced. She 
wears a blue denim coverall suit that has become lighter by many 
washings. She must have several all alike, as she always looks 
spic and span. I'm sure she could carry a book on her head as 
she goes up and down her ladder pulling assemblies. She is that 
straight. I guess her to be at least sixty-five years old. She keeps 
house for a brother. 

April 12 im 

We had la Ittfe diiiddeir la^ evenii^ whm I trying to 
catch a few houi^ sleep be^re going to^work 1 pidbd^e 
%ht over my hmd to shut out die Bois& It brought bac^ too 
vividly a picture of a year or so whm we had die exciting, 
air raid over our house, die night we were sure wie. we^ beizi^ 


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y *%^!«jwvit UNlVERSirr OF WISCONSIN 

It was about midnight when we heard the guns and jumped 
out of bed. Through the long French windows of my bedroom, 
which I always have wide open, I saw great streaks of sharp 
'lightning,' more fantastic than any electric storm I had ever 
witnessed back in the middle west. 

I rushed to the windows and stood fascinated as long fingers 
of fire streaked back and forth across the sky and down to earth, 
each streak accompanied by a deafening crash. My husband 
grabbed me by the arm and pulled me back. 

*'Come away from that window," he said, "It's an air raid,** 
He |)t3shed the i^dows shut, dien hurriedly opectei t|ietn 
a hit m ova: mM hastm^ams w^ to le£0^ tibe^ op^ |0 fsi^ 

**We sho#i tmitl mSm ikt bed,*' I teatwed, as we stood 
m iht m^'& ^^istmm «aeli 6tlm while die boom> 

ing and flashes ci^timiedv 

Finally, in what was probably seconds but seemed like hours, 
we dove into some clothes and ventured into the other part of the 
house. We peeped out the west and north windows, then gath- 
ered our courage and slipped out the back door. Our curiosity 
had overcome our better judgment. 

We stood between the house and the garage, our eyes riveted 
to the sky. "We know better than to come outdoors at a time 
like this," I muttered. 

"Yes— yes we do," my husband agreed. But there we stood, 
and glancing up and down the street we saw all the neighbors 
looking skyward. They too had disregarded ^h^ safety and 
been drawn toivmd the egdubhidti. It W^ mc»% sj^micok^ ihan 
any #eWQi^ 

•*Look right i^ ti^ete,** mjr husb^ pointed, "Doesn't that 
look like # ba!l0on^ ojp somediiiaigP 

I stared and stared. 

"There are five of them," he stated, "Can't you see them?" 
I couldn't. 

Next morning the newspapers told of the various things 
people saw, or thought they saw. Several people were hurt by 


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flying shrapncL The tile and plate glass windows in a bank 
building about a mile from our house were broken and large pits 
made in the pavement. 

We have soldiers with anti-aircraft guns stationed both north 
and south of us. For a long, long time after that night we lay 
awake and listened, expecting daily another more vicious attack, 
which so far hasn't materialized. Now, of course, I leave home 
before midnight, my mind on turning out bombers to destroy 
the enemy before he destroys us. 


Fausteen %a$ J^i^lol!!^ at me this morning because I always 
claim I want to stop at the main cafeteria before going to work. 

It is just inside the first building. She says that ever since she was 
a Uttle girl I have talked about taking a long walk before break- 
fast. She thinks I am really doing it now. We park her car in 
row twelve or thirteen, walk about a quarter of a mile to the 
tunnel, through the tunnel, and then as far again to building 
twelve. That is, I do. Fausteen works in building one. 

This morning (11:30 last night), we finally stopped at the 
cafeteria. It was a huge room swarming with men and women. 
I OQ^ted roughly two hundred tables. Four chairs to i^bfe. 
lltat's a pretty good lieiecl dinuig r90}n lii mf wiaas^i language. 
Most of tlie workefSj were lingering me$t cup of cofilee^ wl^e a 
few were ^Img m and out. 

We \am d sinsaii teat caletqna between buildii^ oiie ifid 
two, and between buQdiiigs f oiif and fis%}v(^ They haire mmii 
loi^ tables with a bench at each side. Thsf will each seat a 
coii|»Ie of liuiidred at a tkiie. Then, thefe ate several W^% lunch- 
rooms where you can buy sandwiches, pasixy, coffee, mill^ mi 
ice cream. 

It is fun, when the weather is warm, to run out for something 
and sit around in a group swapping tales. But I like best eating a 
bite (when the boss isn't looking) and curling up on my bench 
for a half hour nap. 


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May 1, 1943 

The new department is under way. I have been given a 
new badge, had it taken away, and given back again to me all in 
the same day. You see, our badge has our number on it, the 
number of our department, and the number of the building we 
work in. We are not allowed to roam about the plant, unless 
we Baire t badge that permits i;^ tO'i 

Albert is to be our HkW I doubt if I shall like him 

ais wtdU I do %M W4> Vsw, "Zlbcf ace always ^nlling, and ym 
timtt #iem oiiise iio ma0c^ how ^ijaval^ ^ey get at 
some of ^ dxmh women. The^ tdl me wmm oil i^ bos^ do. 

Albot is very tall, fbout ^.foot ttro^ good lOOldd^ eftcept 
for & toprlaige noi^;. He i^uajes Bi$ head h%l^ ciia ptcHdnidiu^ 
and walks very erect. Cbming down the aisle he reminds m# of 
Sherlock Hohkes* 

Today he lifted the {wurt of the counter that is on hinges and 
glided into the stockroom, catching Betty with a sandwich and 
me with a cup of coffee. Most people duck under, but he really 
would have to double up considerably to make it. 

I'm sure my face turned red, and Betty looked like a five year 
old caught in the cookie jar. We are not supposed to eat during 
working hours, of course. We are supposed to be working. 

He waved his hand majestically, his lips curling in a crooked 
smile, "Don't mind me," he said. 

"If I had a cup," I said, to cover my embarrassment, "I'd 
offer you some coffee." 

He pulled out the bench and perched on one end of it, rest- 
ing his arm on the counter. 

Betty gulped down the remainder of her sandwich and scur- 
ried out to her desk. She didn't stop to powder her nose as she 
usually did. The scent of roses went with her, leaving only that 
of metal being drilled or filed, and of pdnit; The paint shop is 
only 4>oiit a hiindFed f<ai|t tmsi R. P. d^. 

I screwed 1^ tdp on my ^ermos^ put h ha^ la my lunch 
pail, and ^dmly sat oti ^ o^r mi &{ ttf bench. Albert 


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said nothing but I could feel his eyes on me. I can't say I like 
tbese strong, silent men. 

"Am I doing all right?'* 1 finally asked. 

*'Y&i* lie sti^d fh^i *K>h yes, you aire doing fin& One of 
the best smt^kxo&m lit ^ plant.** Of cooxse he knows as weQ 
as I do that most ol die^ work is dom on Tikys. More sileidteei 
then, "Guess you have met Dolly?" 

I admitted I had. 

"Well," he said, as he slid off the bench, "She is to be your 
*C' lead. If you are in doubt about anything, or need supplies^ 
you ask her. She will contact you from time to time." 

I drew a deep breath as he left the stockroom. 


May 5, 1943 

In spite of what Bill said about grading his girls, you have 
only to look at Dolly to know that some leads are chosen for 
their looks and not for their ability. Dolly is as cute as the 
proverbial bug's ear. About five feet tall, golden brown curly 
hair, blue eyes and plenty of curves. An older woman would be 
called plump, but with an eighteen year oW^ 1^*8 cunres. They 
sair j^e iy^ c^ts an hour m«@)J!e tiNii we irking under 
hm I wonde^: what ^ d^oe^ in^en she gets .^tfo^li asldn^ us 
if we need am}>thi%. 

May 6, 1943 

One of the girls off production dashed into my stockroom 
this morning and squatted behind the counter. She put a finger 
to her lips, then pointed to a man coming up the aisle. He was 
a tall, nflddle-aged feOo^ with droopy shoulders, baggy pants, 
aotd a smug grin on his faee; He ogled Betty as he passed her 
ix^ but she was typing furiously and didn't notice hint Before 
he to my coun»sr, I grabbed up a pull slus^ ^ st^ed poiii^ 
an assembly. The noise was unusually loud and as I glanced about 
the department I saw all the girls busy filing, nv^xevg and drilling. 
My mind jumped immediately to the FBI* 


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This leiow M tvm^ ^mn^ ^tta^^ was sup- 
posed to lie kt$ |itb<4>mt: wIiq Alfef he lisd pme^ this girl 
mifoided aisd '1I>M fm see thstt ga^^*^ I m^M^ my fmd. 

**Th{B dasm ibiil tm for a Mss y^^e^cd^^' 

The picture was ridicQl0|l$, bii^llxied lUlt t^^ 
give it to him?" I asked. 

"I slapped his goddam face and asked him what the hell he 
took me for." 

Well, of course, he still could be from the FBI. 

May 10, 1943 

I had quite a surprise this morning. I was counting levers and 
had reached 310, when I glanced up to see Velta, a friend of mine 
for the past fifteen years, standing at the counter. I heard she was 
working here, but that is like saying that she worked in the same 
mvm of &[xy thousand population. About the only chanee I had 
of ^ing Imt would lie in coming in or going out of the plant. 

'^on^ ^ou mm I a#eMi la midkommsyi ml Mt»d 
the doof oi#e oaiiilelr; 

**This is not a social callt** liie assured xm. **I have ynx. to 
peo^e that I belong here." Knowing her sterlii^ qualities and 
her capacity for work I couldn't imagine what she was getting at. 

"Well, I guess I could vouch for that," I said, "but what 
good would my word be?" 

"I don't know," she admitted, "but you are the only one I 
could think of that might help. Do you remember when I 
worked at that cafe on American Ave.?" 

*'You mean several years ago?" 

^'Yes. I gaire t%i^ at reference on my application for 
%#er They hate sold ^ilt, tad iie# OlinQer has no record of 
my ever worldxi| there. TliM: looks fish^ i^ the Army, so I 
inust pi<iove I did work there^*- 

"Why don't you bake thetn «caie of your famous pies or 
cakes?" I laughed, "that ought to convince them." 

She flashed me a look that said she wasn't in any frivolous 
mood, so I said, "Yes, I can swear you worked there." 


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**06od,^* ^ $Mf *% SQtt watM; to give yoitf aosie pud 

**Well, clusef I fliu^^t her as she imrried down the 

aisle, "At least we know they are investigating us." I forgot to 
ask her where she is working, so I probably won't see her again 
until the war is over, and Heaven only knows when that will be. 

May 20^ 1943 

Dolly dune lii late i^iin 1^5 iiu>n^^ (it k inoniii^ U yot 
come in kte.) That makes three times this past vireek. I told her 
she would be getting fired. She said, "I hope so," 

She evidently doesn't like her 'C lead job. That's too bad. 
You should hear the howls from the other stockroom clerks be- 
cause Dolly was made Lead. Everyone thinks she could do 
better, she has been here longer, is older, or has more ambition. 
I guess I'm the only one who has no kick. I haven't been here 
long, I'm too old, too fat, and lack ambition to do anything ex- 
cept to do well whatever I am needed at. 

May 12, 1943 

I was fooling with the typewriter this morning, and look 
what came out! I showed it to Betty and she handed it to David, 
then reported back to me that it was going into the Aircraft 
paper. Now, i^^t that something? I don't knoiv the first idling 
about poeti?^» Here it is. 

A Worker's Plea 

Let's come to work through rain or shine 
As long as our boys are in the line. 

Let's come to work so all may see 
That We are not an Absentee. 

As long as our boys are in the air. 

Let's know that we will do our share. 

As long as they fly o'eif tti6 sea, 
L^'s never be an ^b^^te?. 


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Then every time they bomb a Jap, 
Here at Iioiiie we caa leudly clap. 

So we can work in a land that's free, 
Let's never be an Absentee, 

We may have our aches and pains; 

So tnay the boys who are in the planes. 
We may run out or gas, but, golly gee, 

That's no excuse to be an Absentee. 

And when the Japs are squelched for fair. 
And bombs no longer afe in the air. 

Our boys will all be home to see 

That we have not been an Absentee. 

Then "Wt tsaii shake thdr hands^ aiid sigh- 
Then we can look them in the eye. 

And all will know, o'er land and seas. 
We've never yet been Absentees. 

I kissed my studio goodbye yesterday. It took one half of 
my heart out of me. I really had such an adorable studio to 
"write in. It was twelve feet from our home and had a lovely bay 
window with steel glass frames and a windowseat cover with 
fancy pillows. A lew'sti^s df wood M the ted brick fireplace 
wovdd tdce^e tse^ 'emwtm^ chiU amy, and oflee tii^Ie ade was 

Tliere w^ iio telephotie t«> xuig^ mi tlie iieigbbots Imm 
better than to disturb me. I know Fll nei^ §et it back. 

But, Uncle Sam said he needed war workers, and war workers 
need a place to live. (My husband's being a builder didn't help 
any either.) So we built a kitchenette and a shower bath between 
the studio and the house. With a small electric refrigerator and 
a gas stove, we made it very livable. 

Our tenant moved in. Her name is Diona. She is tall and 
slender, with her taffy blond hair done page boy. She works on 
graveyard also, so will ride back and f ordi with Fausteen and me. 


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Her busb^ is in the Amy and is stationed at Santa Monica, 
wlaksh im*t too far away. He can ronliome from tinie fo time. 

When I saw theni togelAi^ md riaibed how hzppy &key were 
to have a |tlace to eall Mnie, I knew I would have been veiy 
selfish not to have given up my studio. I will have very little time 
to write until the war is won. I wonder how long that will be. 
Years perhaps. One thing I will try not to neglect is my diary. 
I do want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to know 
that the women of America put their shoulders to the wheel and 
pushed when they were needed. 

June IS, 1943 

They certainly do things around here when they take the 
QOtiDnf Tbm tnoming (last night) when I rounded the ^tmt£ 
ifdH^AA ^ere we clodE in, I was about to ^ng (mt tny nsnal 
and coolly received greetoig^ 6| ^Hi Ba^" 'v^km t found only 
a vacant ^ce. Betty, Da^ desk and all are gone. Even the 
telephone, wires and all. * 

I didn't go to work of course, until 1 found them. They are 
merged with half a dozen other desks in the south end of the 
department. Or rather between the two departments. Betty is 
not a bit happy about it, and is talking of asking for a transfer to 
another department. I can't say I blame her, because she has 
always been a 'big frog in a small puddle,' now she will be only a 
*smai frog in a big puddle.* There is a rumor that David will be 
transferred to another shift IThe only thing that isn't changed is 
my stockroom and^ of cotoise^ it looiss lost in a big empty space. 

Jtme 2Q, 1943 

I wisll I ^ad started a book of rumors. They fly thick and 
fait arosind here continually. The little S»panis,h girl who works 
on shortages; the tall handsome fellow from spares; the fat bald- 
headed supervisor of one department and his secretary; and there 
is the rumor that Dolly dances till eleven every night, clocks in 
here, then crawls into some stockroom and sleeps most of the 
shift. There isn't a place where she could sleep in my stockroom, 


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so I wouldn't know. I do know I only see her first thing each 
morning (when she is here)— I wonder what a C Lead is supposed 
to do. I tnast ask her. Xluitfs one thing I woulijia't want to be, 
igyen for the extr^ §m cents aa hdar i3mt sbe taa^cts* There are 

tick o^er% tli|oat$ to malEe ap fmpMm on AMmt Th&y ilo^t 
^pect BoUf to last long^. 

Albert is on the job, and he's nobody's fd<^ The more I see 
of him, the better Ilike him. He is certaiiil}^ 4 gentleman. 

June 25, 1943 

Bill and Lew are still on the job as Leads on production. They 
are keeping their records under my counter, and I still do some 
typing for them. We had a printed notice, however, that pro- 
duction is not allowed in the stockrooms. That is no doubt Al- 
bert's idea, as he is the 'big' Lead. We, the stockroom personnel, 
are called non-production. We do not actually build the planes. 
We only supply the parts to hiMd tkem. In other words, Produc- 
tion Con^i oontfols production but does not produce; 

in the plao6f o£ JP^inid% diesic, they are puttfa^ iplall jigs to 
finalce small a^f^Blies wlli^l be ins&alled mi turret. 
Also they are movii^ the sisn la^ feom the end of my counter 
so that instead of having a small counter on production side, and 
a small one on the aisle, I now will have one large U-shaped 
counter and no privacy at alL 

June 26, 1943 

The funniest thing just happened. I rushed by a large curved 
skin standing upright. It was six feet high, four feet wide and 
shone like a mirror. I glanced at myself as I passed and was sur- 
prised to see a tall skinny me. I stopped to laugh at myself. Just 
then Mh&£t walked up the aisle. ^We li^ef tiirn J^ose ^}m^ 
lengthwise,*' he said. **They might ifajtt m&e^' 

I stood ix^ching hmu sqU ttugliltig to myself, at How funn^ 
I i^ked. Wto. he had iunied tfaetn tie said, "There, Mable, I 
think tliat's much funnier.** He st^ed on down die aisle with- 

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out looldng back. I took one look and nearly went into hysterics. 
I was about three feet high and just as broad. 

Fausteen is checlcing out today. She is looking pale and 
tliin— an example of a great many more women who are working 

many hottfS tod Hide aQ^ very littte diieep, 

I'd Hke tD keep on»'- she sMi M^her has coavmced sie 
that 1 1^ have to give U|> #Eher die (^#iig schdol or the flant.*'^ 
Her school has gJfowti to such an e^^etie that she caii no longer 
keep both j0lx& 

"It's hard to decide which is the more important," she siaid« 

"If you ask me," I informed her, "I think the children are 
the more important. There are hundreds of women available to 
take your place here, but I don't know of one that can teach 
children dancing as efficiently and as graciously as you can." 

That means I will have to find a ride to work. 

I asked Albert. "It's very simple," he announced, looking 
down at me as though I were a child. "You go over to the trans- 
portation ciimtitef ia Building One and fill oiit an application for 
a ride. Thett Cptctactr the mmes they give you.*' 

It seemed t i%s%r ^King to do^ crawlli^ into a s&Eitige 
wfdi a iriv^ ym mv&: saw before^ fus orAy ^ecoiDti^^ be- 
fittg that he lived m ymt (dttecim aiid workect at t&e same |ilace. 

I asked Bill. 

"What are you afraid of.^*" he asked. "Everybody's doing it." 
Transportation gave me five names. Diona 'got five names 


The first one I called had his car full three months ago; the 
second had moved to Oklahoma; the third had just left on a two- 
week vacation; the fourth quit driving because he couldn't find 
riders, so couldn't get gasoline; the fifth had checked out a week 
ago. Diona dropped by to tell me she was having the same luck. 
We were terribly upset when I happened to spy Pat riveting on 
the new turret jig. Pat is about as big as a Mtiiite. She k a school 
^cher aad lives a few blocks north me. 


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"Pat," I screeched above the noise, "What's the idea, you 
being here?'* 

*Tm spending my tmoi^^ helping Uncle Ssmi'^ she yelled 

*'Ym wouldn't be a«*wif ?'* I as*ed. 

*^Iliat I would! " she ki:^^ie4 ^^and f or a dollar s vmk I take 
you both ways." 

"Good," I said, "stop in the morning— I mean tonight— there 
will be two of us." Now, isn't that something? The Lord is surely 
taking care of us. 

Jme 29, 1943 

Pat has another school teacher living with her for the summer 
and working here at the plant. The board of education circu- 
lated the idea, they said, that it would be the patriotic duty of all 
lite faculty to take war jobs during the school location. 

I will be sorry when vac^tioit is over tief^ii^ tt is Wis t lliree 
ling mms riding vna^ idie^ Whit one iloe^t ^<ik of, 
^e ti&itt does. going to keep tst. on toes to keep up ti^th 
these three youn|^tez& Aliso 1 iliust go M i #et; sis they* af^ 
"slick chicks." 

June 30, 1943 

morning I glanced np f&m a shop ofdef to see JUbert 
stoiii{Mng out of the office. He was holding diiectiy fof my 
stockroom. My chest tightened, and I'm sure my heart sM^>ed 
a few beats. His face looked stem, and while I'm getting accus- 
tomed to his silence, there is always an expression on his face as 
though a smile might be lurking behind the mask. 

When he enters the stockroom, I usually chatter about this 
assembly or that, about shortages or spares, inventory or Lead- 
men, just any thing to break the silence. Often he just looks 
around and leaves without a word. This morning he looked di- 
rectly at me and I looked at him. My mind Was whirling. Per- 
haps I shoutdh't have borrowed those bhie pdnts, or maybe he saw 
me eating during working hoitrs, but most Hkely it was because 


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Bill and Lew sdll keep their records under my counter. 

Oat of tliie Hoe ^ he ^oiiiotineedi '1 put your iuaae up tot 

'^h," I hedtaiied, i«hile my lieart started ira^j^, ddti't 

"Dolly is being transferred to Days.'* 
"Yes, I know." 

"It will mean a raise in salary." 

"Yes, but my duties— I don't know a thing—." 

"Who does?" he parried. 

"But I was to have a week's vacation." 

Then, turning on his heel and heading for the office, he flung 
back, "Starting the tenth of July you will have charge of six 

Heat^he^ me! 

July 10, 

I have a weird feeling, a foj^fllKxiaig MiSbk^ to mm^ 
was die day (ot r%ht) I was inip|)0$ed to l>eicoit»e a C^L^ad. Mr 
bert was very conspicuous by his absence. I just reallbEed be; badb^ 
mentioned it again since the night he said he had piit name mp 
for C-Lead. He had said, "Beginning July tenth yofi will have 
charge of six stock rooms." 

There wasn't actually any reason why he should mention it 
again, unless to give me a little insight into my duties. This is the 
tenth. No Albert. I've just had a week's vacation and am anxious 
to do something worth while. It was the first day I'd had off in 
the six months I'd been at the plant. I really needed it. 

Dolly came by as usual and asked in the satn^ I^ess t'oli^, 
"Do you need anything this morning?" 

"I thought you WOttld Oo Days tihis week," I parried. 

*'^sh no," ^ saii, duckii^ t^er ^e counter ^ #^t!|f 
onto the other end of tay hmck, **t doift know when my transfer 
will go through, if at all." 

Dolly has such a pleasing personality that I'd like to shake 
her good for not havio^ more ambition. Her large blue eyes 


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encased in long dark lashes could cany a lot of influence if they 
not so fUT'-m^ aiid dreamy. 

One thing is cert^t Alj^i^ didn't propose me f^ lead 
aam iny mm^^s^e^ I wsst Ist and ioinf^^d $ix taonths 

"whm i iats^ started to go to school here^ IN^ gateed six 
l^ounds since then. Besid^ I don't look my best in slacks. 

Albert didn't say 1 was to take Dolly's place. He said« "DoUy 
is being transferred to Days." 

It had been logical to expect that if I was to be a C-Lead, it 
would be in the department where I am familiar with the per- 
sonnel, assembUes and procedures. Then I remembered that that 
isn't the way the Company manages things. When anyone seems 
to have mastered any particular job, they change him (or her) to 
another department. 

It makes you wondec whe^c^r tiliey are training eveiyone 
m id any job atmssiaf or M if is for ^ dA^te purpose of 
confM^ US, OF breaking up any '^gsMog^ i&al dwel^ 

It is i»Q4dceabte that ino]»^ imm m&msxk are ent^i&ip 
^ ^^AaMmi w^^ more men are leaving for thelr0n& Ako^ 
more women are becoming C-Leads, training other wc»ni£it^ and 
keeping watch for errors. Which means either that we are]pcoidng 
ourselves capable, or that there just aren't enough men. 

Dolly has charge of six stockrooms serving production, of 
which Lew and Bill are leads. Across the aisle is the wing section 
with another type of stock and other production Leads. Ellen is 
C-Lead in those stockrooms, still working under Albert. Albert is 
B-Lead and works under an A-Lead. The supervisor has charge 
thi^ Mrhoie building. 

Day supervisor is considered llie High Mnck^d^Mndk. tht 
smog shift gcavipyaied Sl||!i«r^is mt ki charge on thdr ^liit, 
but the main work kd<Mie cm Diy& 

Jidy 11, 1943 

Albert is back tonight, (this morning). Xmet him p cen- 
ter aisle where he greeted me with, "You are on your own, you 
know. Dolly checked out." Just like that. That was really a sur- 


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prise. Dolly had been trying to quit for weeks and the only satis- 
faction she got Wasi **You are working for the Atiny now; you 
tm*t just quit.^ TEieii she tried transferring to the day shift, but 
the t|i$wer was^ "We doa^t need ym on days." tbm all of a 
suddoEt the Arnny uys **PO(M^' and she is gone. 
**And my duil^'' I aske^ idber^ 

He gave me one of those piercing looks and said, "You'll fiad 
enough to do without asking me." 

"Such as?" I insisted. After all, as many years as I have kept 
house, I'd still have to ask what to do if I stepped into a huge 
army barracks to take charge. 

"You'll be in complete charge of six stockrooms. The girls 
will tell you what to do." 

"Well," I said, "I hope I have more to do than just to go to 
eaeh Otoie "^t^ suppUes, then crawl under the counter and sleep." 

"It% becs(use^m lii(f€ 4m^ f6ui^ to do that 

m C4j^^ It k because Dollf jound ^ pl^c^ to sleep that j^e is 
out;*^ Thax mmit itm t wa^ to have Dolly% stodb jtooids. I^m 
hebiughed. Really laughed, as though he thought it funny. "You'll 
have your hands full," he said, "but it's your jobi.i»ot mine." 

Jimmie, B-Lead from the next section came sauntering along 
the aisle. He looked from Albert to me and drawled, "'£llo 

"Mable is my problem child just now," Albert informed him. 

I could feel my face turn red, clear down to my throat. 

"A mighty sweet problem child," he bantered in his soft 
southern accent. "Listen," I managed, "I've been kidded by ex- 

Albert threatened to move me to the south end of the building 
wlleie it '^v^^ uols^^ so I couldu^tbotii^ h^ questiotis. 
"She'll have to solve her own probleais ^totji." We aH laughed 
at that* but I took the hint (if you would cj^ it that)« Siiilt of 
swmi, I wouldtt't ask m^biiag of Mm. 

M I huiried over to l^i.;^ whicbi is to be my *%(m<e^* I 
reuieiubeted soitiet^yog t had h^d wheti I was st^ lu sdKiol; 
"It isn't what you knowt I^S ilihG you know that counts." Guess 


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Vm gettii^ o£F to a good siatt fire only been heie w months and 
Imt I'm hs^mbhing wi^ tm iit M^^adis. ta la^ rtir a 
lead lady myself. Only a C, CO be ^u;^ bm my lopt^ ihi the fiist 
rung of the ladder. I shsdl d^fibeialeiy set oiit to cultii^te th^ l%ht 
people. ^ 

Jzdy IS, 1943 

When Abert ^dS 1 1^ diaige oi m. stodoeoomsi, I lihoi^t, 
"Boy, tiered i^i^e I get ^em m boim,'* but I d^*t 
reckon with jiie hlinian element. Hiiree shifts working means 
eighteen wcioen. Eighteen different types of women. No fooling. 
Just on my own shift I have Jane: Catholic, perhaps sixty years 
old, never been married, very straight-laced, jealous, unforgiving. 
Has been here a month longer than I have (should have been lead). 

Virginia: Widow, very sweet, kind person, scientist, one mar- 
ried daughter, had millinery shop before the war. Perhaps forty 
years old. ^ 

Louise: Tall, slender, white-haired, about fifty years old, very 
intelligent, pofitl^^mlculed, brings newspap^ lo eaicil day. 

Melc^ twenty^five years old, sexions n^btdti, atndNit^ts, d^k 
half and snap^ brown eyes. Spedcs ^ui^y, d«#iirely. IllEiks 
she should have bdEt^ fob. Probably will. 

Mary Ann: Happy-go-lucky blond, husband overseas, no 
ambition, working to pass the time. Ignores m^ completely. Prob- 
ably twenty two years old. 

Louella: Red hair, turning white, small, thin, very coopera- 
tive, slow, always behind in her work. 

And I'm a C-Lead. Some fun. No wonder Albert laughed. 

We have been invoicing all parts, new and old, and putting 
the total amount of pieces on the bin card. Each time anyone takes 
out ormore pieces she has to subtract Itom lise tc^ sad carry 
the bdani^, iPh^ ^e has to sign het ])dltisd& 

Itlsndw my |ob to pidk t)^ wben they amU, 

^eclc them f or err ois and ted iSktm im my B4jes^^^ 
long to find out that tmst evezyoiie :n»ikes mtstalkse^, soo^fl^ or 


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kter. Nothing was said about them, we merely try to have themr 

correct. Some of the girk ceminly do resent my picking them up. 

You^d i^litiik it was my own privacy idm tot the express puipose 

of annoying itenu A eoii|ile of ^ girib! elrm JD@mpinB 

they are quite M, iiM dii^ destroys them m haad^ieoi to Albert 


"This substracting each part is a lot of hooey," I complained 
to Albert. "It takes time while production is waiting to be served." 

Albert patted me on the shoulder. "Now don't you worry 
about that, Mable," he said, "it'll only last until some one thinks 
up another idea." 

Jufy M, 1943 

I was really surprised when I bumped into Marguerite in the 
cafeteda this morning. Since her son joined the Coast Suard^ ^ 
has been terribly upsec. I^vliof IdiOWid hef fot thirty years; I 
tried m mw^mm km ^WU toor iiave % who wfll sq<»i be 
c^led,^ iss^4 "But we^U fiever brmg^iem bade 1^ ^yi%. You^ 
better get m a&d pitch, and help win this war." 

She stopped cryix^ and stared at me. I thought for a moment 
she was going to throw something at me. 

"What do you mean?" she sobbed. 

"I mean there is a job for you at the plant." 

"Oh," she said, "Harry wouldn't let me go to work in a fac- 

"Of course not," I told her, "You'll have to condition him 
first, as I did with my husband. First tell him you wouldn't go to 
work at the plant like Fausteen and Mable did." 

^ looked astomshed, *%4^tMLcm ydii,^^^ sa£d. 

t mm&it^ '^that slbooid^ him iie idei that iicime 
iie^etable wom^ who ion^t hsim to work sif^ t^ete. l!lie& yoa 
can follow up from time time with whit good livwk we are 
doing, how badly we are netded, how tmaYt&m ace goin^ into 
the service, and so forth." 

"I don't know," she hesitated, wiping the tears from her ^es, 
"I might try it. I really would like to help." 


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Original from 

"No harm in trying; then if he doesn't decide you should go 
in a week or so, just go anyhow. When you're in, tell him you 
couldn't help it, you just had to get in tad ptl^** 

Oi comse, itfs one thing to give aiidc^ anid qjjoitse aiioita'^ 
have ionti om Wm % $61 ti^ surprised to see ierln lnie at liincih 
(4.^0 AM*) iMs mojmihg. Her married ^ughiir^ l^bia^ was 
with her. 

They gave her a job "Expediting." 

"Sounds important," I said. 

"Every job here is important," she informed me, "Elaine is 
working on the wing section." 

Elaine gulped down a bite of doughnut and grabbed her 
coffee cup. "I'm the original Rosie the riveter," she said. 

We only have thirty minutes limch period, so we had to talk 


*^1^^t Is ocpediting? " I waiStedi to hmw. 

^W<^ you got me iJjere,'* Maigiieiite said; **Wliait fin aistti^ 
ally doii^ is coimting and i^ pa^^kstgi^^^ 

As long as they don't change one of our hinch periods we 
will meet each day in the cafeteria. Whoever gets there first will 
stand in line for all of us. It will be a little more fun than eating 
in my stockroom alone. 

luly 17, 1943 

One of the problems, or perhaps I should say one of the ad- 
justments we are going to have to face when this war is over, is 
the equality of races. Where we have lived, we have had no con- 
tact with the colored race, and consequently it shocked me when 
at rest period today a six foot, husky, black Negro stopped in 
front of a demure, timid little blond as she was Ughting her 
cigarette. He didn't ask for a light, simply bent tmx atisE ^ 
cept^ c^e as she was lighting iM^r oi^, he lunbled on td^wn 
^ widi wo wliite mm, she I<Qoked m oior ajrioxuMlited laces 
and explain^ 'UlEe woiks in my position.'^ 

More and more colored people, both men and women, are 
coming into the plant. They are workii^ side by side with the 


Digitized by ^ 'QIC 

Origirai from 

whites, aiMi'i^o is to say they are not doing theiit ^liufe in iitiQ&ii^ 

We have at odoie^ teaai wdr1ci% m ^ liaxne section* One 

hips. She always bends forward sks she works, and one can t hel^ 
thinking of a little boy with a sling shot. The other is rather young 
9a4 very pretty, with a slender boyish figure. They build their 
assemblies perfect in thirty-five minutes, which means that every 
forty minutes we issue them another group. We keep their jobs 
pulled ahead so they don't have to wait. 

One day, the young girl didn't show up. The older woman 
had to work with a white girl. They were slow getting their as- 
semblies finished, so I kidded the colored woman about it. 

"Oh, these slow white trash," s^e ^d. '*Th©^^ just plain 
lazy." That shoiild hoM tneior a whUe^ 


Thtst k & mga about: two feet wide and three feet high in the 
office. I noticed it first M niormng when 1 went for suppUes, 
At the top is a victory plec^e, living space loir several hvitdred 
s^natofOh, I read it and signed then a giil handed ttM; a card 
with the same victory pledge on it. It is signed and in My purse 
with my id^tification card. It reads: 

"Realizing my importance as a Victory worker to my country 
and it's cause, I solemnly pledge that to the utmost of my 
abihty I will: Allow nothing to keep me from my job. Make 
die fidiest j^rodncdve lise of lime, tools, mateciaL Use my in- 
genuity to develop shortcuts speeding vital output. Guard 
my own health and safety and that of my fellow workers. 
Co-operate with our Employee-Management war production 
drive cOniMi^Eee to aid my departm^t loid my plant in pro- 
dmimg on time and m plteot^ cbe weajpons of Victoty." 

July 19, 1943 

We ha4 a mttc]^need@d Lead conference today. Albert called 
it In a sinaE mom mm ts» the dispensary. He sat at ^e head of ^ 
taM% h(Mt% vexy tmx^ like a judge. We &l.eads, f oar men 


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mi eight wiKOieii, pii^d ii#titid Jhe ^tile on Beos^ies. ^b^}^ 
B4^d and « couple of IdQom I Mci^t Imow ^qz#. 

iQ^iacii^es passed itid tile f oooi tool: cai t lia^ 

hue. That vm fm what I n@edeiy b^liig a xioti^okef ffi^lf . ^ 
least it was quiet, tihie room being sound-proof. 

We all told our names, and then Albert said, "I think it might 
clear up a question that everyone is asking if we would all tell 
what job we had before the war." As we started around the room 
we soon got the significance of his idea. Who were these leads 
who were running this huge factory? What were their quahfica- 

Abert had been a beer salesman. That accounted for his neat 
appearance, his straightforward aiid Impressive speech, his knack 
of h^dling people; P^iiraps soAii of the o^r Mds could be 
analyzed die £^e ■Vf^y^. but jujilde it to say tbtat they were doing 
good wof j^-^BcordxcqBf i» tibie way i^e Jne kept joaovlng^ 

They reprinted most every lof buslaie^s you could 
think of— except an aircraft factory, 'flhey former ranchers, 
hotelmen, real estate salesmen, grocers, shoemen, beauty parlor 
operators, milliners, teachers, and housewives. 

All the training they had was either given them in a few days 
at the factory school, or picked up during the time they had 
worked here. Most of them had worked in the plant more than a 
year. I managed to get by without telling them how long I had 
been there. 

Most of the complaints were about shortages. How and why 
they occurred. Inspections was another topic which shocked us. 
We all thought we could do better at inspecting parts. Too many 
errors were slipping through. The parts that are made here as 
a$ tho»s wi get f rota ^ le^ tte j^ t^efully i^Eaanined 

by inspectots^ They must, be rij^t before the^ come into the 
stockroom IJowe^er, how ^d ^et^ we do mtda> errors* Those 
we send to sa|vage» We have forty acres of paj^ (Oood {mts, not 

I also found that women Leads have more worker-trouble 
than men i<eads. It seems women woyld rather work under m&i» 


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There is an old saying thit joxe half tibe l^rld nev^ knows 
Hrliai: tJie odiet is doing, tlmt is mm in fc^4 to a Cr-Lead. 
I am undezstaiid now why I neiireF saw Dd^y sitet sM sixfpptd 
the once to ask me if I needed anything. R.P.6A needs no h^p* 
All three shifts are here every day. Nothing gets behind. R.P.6C 
needs a great deal of help from a C-Lead. They have more stock 
and serve a large; production line. R.P.6B also needs help, so there 
you are. 

I spend most of my time in those two stockrooms, although I 
still do my bookwork back in 6A where my bench remains. I am 
doing whatever needs to be done and ignoring the fact that most 
eif the girls nss^t me. 

I think Jane is going to cause nie th^ tnost tjfonMe. Si^^ 
Hie to come mm bet $t0d^%M}m ^ ^oli^u^« I mtM in, df 
course, bcKaftii$e t Imt niy checklt^ m fiegailltess. 

"I'm goii% tight to ttieoMce and ieport you to itm Sup<^- 
¥isor," she announced and stalked off toward the office. There was 
$0 much noise, she didn't know I was ri^t behind her* She 
marched stiffly up to an imposing-looking man at the supervisor's 
desk, and then she saw me. "You can't come too," she said. I 
winked at the fellow behind the desk as she turned to him. "Mable 
insists on coming into my stockroom," she told him "and I have 
told her to stay out. I've been here longer than she has and I'm 
not going to take orders from her." 

"Jane," I interrupted, "I don't believe you know Mr. Smith," 
then very formally I saidr *'|ane, may I present Mr. Smiths He 
ka't the supo'visoxv ym know^ M is from ^[mfes.*' 

Ja^ tnttied said fl^ badk to m:oc]No6m. 

"That was v&cy tsmy of me»-* I told R^. Smith, "and I'll fs^ 
fox it, don't you foj^et kl But I'm getting so fed up tryK^ ta0» 
smooth the feathers on some of these old hens." 

He laughed. "That ought to hold her for a while," he said. 

But of course 1 did wrong. She'll really have it in for me now. 
The worst part of it is, we were so friendly before I was made 
Lead. I did Uke her very much, and I thought she Uked me. 


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Original from 

Wiieti t tefi^##ls^O£i]ii% (1^ nlgbe), 1 cavf lit the swing* 
shift crew hiiiling 4 hd£n%er control asseaih^*; 

"What goes on here?" I asked. 

One of the girls said, "Just leave it there; we!U jfinish it to- 

Most assemblies, especially the larger ones are carried on 
from one shift to another. That is, one shift starts where the other 
leaves off. When anything goes wrong, one shift always blames 
the other. Evidently swing shift didn't hke the looks of yesterday's 
work, so they started their own. Graveyard isn't working on that 
assembly so days will get th^ oivii work to finish. Wonder il 
they'll recognize it. 

July 25, im 

^beft iiiarched up to ilie cotsal^ ^bi^ morning escoittiag a 
very cl^snawg Ittle lady who €^]f teisushed to Ms j^tidcd^ 

^Malile,'* he sffiid^ ^"Wmh Mis. Lisbon, Vm goixig to leave her 
witi you a few ds^* SiOW hor tihe fOp£s.'' 

Her few gf^y hairs gave her a touch of dignity which her 
laughing gray ey^es bdUed. "Just call me Libby," she said. "All my 
friends do." 

Worldng with her is going to be a joy. She has no reason to 
resent me, no axe to grind. She hasn't been here longer than I 
have, and she doesn't know a thing about stockroom procedure. 
There is a fly in the ointment, however; she won't be working 
under me iied^ t^ey lay off some one or transfer somebody. My 
stockrooms! are eom^etently manned. 

July ^,194$ 

JCsxTf c^e M slo^^xosNai as vsmH i^ Mstii^ 
ii^ ott ^nall iusembliis. He is ^ Bea^ii SiiiQinEiel of the ^Imt. 
The smooth type. Not tall, dark, and hancbcaiie» hut rather bloiid-» 
ish, with wavy hair that makes the girls want to run their fingers 
through it (so they say). He has direct blue eyes that look straight 


Original from 

at you, and his clothes are full of color. Yellow sweaters and lav- 
ender slacks (blue, of course), red sweaters and tan slacks. 

Like all Leads on production, it is his business to see that the 
assemblies are built ahead so the line will never have to be held up. 
He came in to see what the other two shifts had built. 

His ready smile left his face, and pure unadulterated fury 
filled his eyes. In a bin directly in front of him were the metal 
fiaxftes used under the bomber doors. He grabbed one in each tail 
and tttmed to mt. "Who the liell put roiiiid head rlrets in theise?^' 
he explode^ ^*Any stupid idiot would latow aibor eOtiUo^t dose 
W^BSs tlie rivets were fiiii^i^^ 

Ail the $we£r«'Word5 I have ever heard mi i letir beside 
filled the air as he stamped out of the stockroom. I yanked out all 
the assemblies and piled them on the counter. About half .of them 
were wrong. Those I took out and put on a bench for rework. 
They had been built on "Daze," and stamped O.K. with a lead- 
man's stamp as well as with the inspector's stamp. 

Larry himself expertly drilled out the round heads and re- 
placed them with flush rivets, all the while painting the air blue 
with what he thought of everyone who doesn't work on his sliift. 
Larry is quite a guy. 

August 3, 

Victory gardens are certainly flourishing now. Wherever 
there is a vacant lot, or part of one, it has been planted with vege- 
tables. Here and there you see tomato vines growing on a trdl& 
where flow<^ used to twine, carrots making a lacy border f&t the 
waPsL C^ee^ oiildsis springing up Rsem&Ie Ctdoese ilHe& 

What with the Army-Navjr, L^-Lesse^ and so forth cat^ 
ii^ a food shores^ we ^e Yiktf grateful to live where we can 
raise our food. My husband is pi^gl^ent of the Exchar^ Club, and 
they have obtained a plot of ground one block long and half a 
block wide, which they have planted with carrots, turnips, and to- 
matoes. The members of the Club take turns weeding and cultivat- 
ing it. The children of the neighborhood also delight in pulling 
weeds. The products are being donated to the various hospitals. 



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Origirai from 

There is really an alafnii^ shortage of Jboiffiizig h^Tw. Sj 
imUmmci contmuaUy cqpiir^ to thecc^^ work iii t^i>e ialt^sra^ 
laccones fliid the^b^ysua^. Trailer ps^ls are fringing up every- 
where, but even they can only take care of d $Sall p^^r^ents^ of 
the people. Those who have a down payment on a home are for- 
tunate, as the monthly payments would only equal rent. In the 
end they will have something to sell if they return east. 

Louella, In R.P. 4G, said her landlady asked her to share her 
daughter's room and leave her own vacant for another person. 
"You work graveyard," she said, "and my daughter works days." 

Louella, a lovely little person, her red hair turning white, said 
she would think it over. But to me she said, "I just c^*t 4o it 51ie 
giii % m^ dm^ mmgK She only baeh^ oc^otMi% aoJi I was 
flight at tec certain parts olths shoxaM washed daily." 

^trniotxGvirk Mai^erite^bijtfiday, li^^ to cefe- 

tM^te^ llave Itmch toget^ter 4t loilr l^hkty iL.M> v& the e^etaxla? 
Wm ^ clo that day* t ask W^lif why oeleiatt^te^ Bat 1 
lotiow why^ It is h^tise we have woven a ilmead, ol €0lor tibxough 
our lives that shines out twice a year^ CHft her bipftfitiay and on mine. 
A color that is bright with happy memories. Memories of her 
babies and mine growing through adolescence. We can no more 
break the thread than we can end our own journey. This war is 
just one more obstacle that we are going to hurdle. It looks dark 
and is discouraging. Far from won. 

But we have faith that God is on our side; surely it will end 
soon. So many of our young boys are being slaughtered— so many 
of the enemy boys. Innocent youth, with a desire only to live, 
love and be happy. 

Spiiaitlm^ I ^Ink we should setid all ikt politldaiis^ and 
moiiey^j^i^#ste> tfae&^ Peihups t.few of o<ar%isteri- 
cal :iie^i{iS|»apef and cotnni^ftat^. It ^msis to lie greed for 
money or p&w&t 0jf bot& that i^iise^ most of the unhappiness in 
the world. 


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Elaine just dashed up to the coonter. "They're having a sur« 
prise party for mother in her department," she announced. "Four- 
thirty— you and I are invited. We'll have to hurry, but who 


A birthday party in thirty minutes. I would never have 
thought of it. 

Marguerite had quite a party this morning. All in thirty 
minutes. A huge table was made by quickly pulling several count- 
ess together. She was cedly surprised, and mcu^ $q when she saw 
Elaine and me jn^ In. Tears filled our eyes as we jrealized how 
quickly we had to stmdk tite few plauni?^ we could, for ^ottm* 
row W6 mif be bombed. We are lSivhg £som day to day. 

We had a covered-dish luncheon, each bringing a dish of 
food from where she had hidden it, and we all were seated, includ- 
ing the Leads and the Supervisor. Everyone gave her a lovely 
handkerchief. I expect she will put them away and keep them to 
dream over. I had to be different. I gave her a large bar of bath 
soap on a pink silk cord. It was meant for a joke, of course, but 
Marguerite said, "It's a pretty good joke, when soap is so scarce 
and hard to find." I wonder where we will be a year from now, 
or if we vdll be, 

Septen^^ i2, 1943 

We liad^ g baby fliowef lor Larry today at iuacfi penod^ He 
was cer&uidy iu$^sre4 Hi$ quesdonmg bh»e eyes seiirdbed our 
hc^ for an explanat;^. 1 4oii*t l^w where 1^ is f lodi, but he 
surely had never heard of a baby shower. To be truthio]^ 1^al:%tihe 
first time I ever heard of giving a baby shower for a man. Every- 
one got quite a kick out of it. A few months ago he married one 
of the girls from the department That was really why they gave 
the shower. 

We made him unwrap all the baby things. "What's this for.?" 
he kept asking. "You'll find out," we answered. 

There were a lot of new fangled gadgets: paper diapers, elec- 


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Original from 

tfie ^acmers, nighde^ li^tli strings iit i^e sle^^ snd bot-^ . 

{fe took It good-^timm^d^i hv^lmg u evety^ubg lie op^tied. 
SuddeMy M stopped laii^hi%^ ht iiixmdtm^^ %<]i^m I 

going to get these things out of the plant?" 

He got all kinds of advice about smuggling them out one at 
a time as we had smuggled than in. He shook his blond head 

We aren't allowed to bring anything into the plant, but we're 
just like a bunch of kids— we always want to do the things we're 
not supposed to. It's fairly easy to smuggle small packages under 
our coat. The cops at the gate have so many hundreds swarming 
tiM^h at ^e same time that it's impossible to watch them alL 

Lar^ ^ally phoned jius \i^e» and she met hto^ i^t timnel 
wi^ tiKeir eai*« I^u^ had been iidiiig the bti& 

September 13, 1943 

Eveiyone has been trying m find out how l^ry got his 
pa<^ges cmt He wcMo^tteU. I snppo^ some imda^st^ 
irisdf 0.k.*ed them %r ImsL If wt mmL m bring sdme^yi^ in 
im tmoi^tx fNseSOilt we dbeck it at the gate and pick it up as we 
go out. However most people exchange things at their cats in the 
parking lot. 

.September 16, 1943 

I don't know how we are going to handle Louise, the girl in 
R.P.6C. She is a very intelligent woman who reads a great deal 
and understands what she reads. She can discuss 'most any subject 
at length, but she has made up her mind that she is here to serve 
production and that's what she expects to do^ That and ilolMng 

She fHit^ her s^c^ awa^r, and h^ds It out agaioi whi^ pitxlac- 
don presents m ^suanee for h, ^ sayf ^e Leids are 
xidici^oiulf ^mple mifidtid, and she simply wHl not follow any 

We have orders from higher up to inventory all stock. That 


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setm Wie sl legitiniate fCMpiesit ibiy storekeeper t^cMiM hmw 
yifim stock 1^ on Jboidt I utidijcstpad now wity' Albert said <$A. 

% xmddLi^ochsoibm. Mi thiiete $iults do a p«etpetiEilitwm>^ 
txixy ss wt wem lim^^ to do. We mvet got bilii^; 

As C-Lead I jm^^pected to pass <»rders on to esdi sioi^oom 
clerk. One of ^e first things I learned on this job was tliat you 
can't tell any one of them anything. They have be^ here longer 
than I have, so they naturally know more. They won't acknowl- 
edge that things keep changing almost daily. So when I get an or- 
der to change something we have been doing, I have learned to 
laugh and say, "Well, papa has a new idea for us." Sometimes 
it works. 

I have pitched in right from the start to help put stock away 
wherever I was needed, so have tried to help Louise whenever 
I could. I see she resents it, but she would never get through with- 
out help. We are now supposed to tape things in convenient 
bntidles aecordtnl to how w at a time. No rnore in 

twenties w« have b^eii^^ It ^v^ #ne in pulling the jobs 
and a]^ at inventoiy^ t(OluJse gl^ts v^ j^^^ out becaose tbe other 
shifts tape what ^ey takep. She doeaa^t'w^tthi^ tapid,^ 

Today 1 started in out heavy stafcieis: **R^F.<5C hasfift beeti 
completely ihvenioiied,*' I znention^ "so I better hurry and hdp 
yon." I didn't say it hadn't been inventoilfsd 9t all, which was 
the truth. She calmly turned her back on me and started pulling 
out bin boxes, dusting them, and pushing them back in again. She * 
was working hard so there'd be no time to count stock. 

After a few killing glances, she said, "I don't see how they 
expect me to find time for inventory." 

"Oh," I laughed, "I got orders to help you." 

She stooped to pick up the evening paper she had brought in 
with her, and which she hadn't been able to read because I was 
there. As she straightened up to put it on the counter she glanced 
at ttt bead lines. Just ibith Walter, a new Lead, stopped at t^e 
counter. It coiildn't have been timed better. 

He tc^d her straight from the shoiiidi^ that ite had a coniplpat 
that^he was teadingthepia^^ers on compaiiyiai^ Instead 


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cam of die stodc, "BeccaftasT,'* lie^44 m&tt reading during 
Working hotm. Lee's get: M Inventoi^ fidblied/' 
Of coui^ I got bkmedior •*tattlmg." 

September U,l$43 

Albert is a real diplomat He stopped ma in lAie ^Mt 1^1$ 
morning and said, "Mable, your protegee (meaning Libby) has 
taken in a lot of parts. Would you mind helping her book them 
up?" Of course, he knew that I knew he meant, "Get the hell over 
there and give her a hand." I am trying the same method with my 
girls, but of course it isn't the same. When I say "Albert wants us 
to do so and so," they usually act as though they're not going to 
do it, but they always do it if they think he said so. 

I'm glad Louise is here today. I had quite a day yesterday 
with her being absent. I had an idea she had quit. I ran 6C by my- 
self.' It r^^r is a bu^ stoekroom, although I probably can't pull 
an ass^bly as fast as Lotiise caii. She has been M the one $tocik- 
iO0m about a year, wJbite t am |u$t ki and out. 

Ah old fellow coming in on day shift studc his head around 
the bin box and said, "Where's Louise?" 

I told him she was absent, and he said, "Where is yOW het(>s- 
paper? Why aren't you reading the news?" 

"Should I be?" I asked. 

"Well," he answered, "Louise always tells me all about the 
news when I come in. It saves me reading it." 

September 22, 1943 

To Stockroom B-Leads— Third shift. 

Subject: Stockroom inventory. (Passed on to me.) 

Stockroom inventory: It is now the responsibihty of the third 

shift to maintain the stock inventory. 

It will be the i^esponsibility of each stockroom girl to rruuii- 
tain a perpetual inventory at all times. 

£§e^fe at oiice» detetnune how long k will ta^ l<Mr each 
stock girl to inventoty her ItR (taking iiito <:0nsi^ratlon the 
tiine requiied in basic stocteom tetstimis) , and see that aQ spare 


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tiioe is spent la indiifauikg, tfae stodcroom liiveitiN>i}r* 

It 1^ be iieoesauy to Ice^ » 6citi$t«|t !check <>a the progress 
of the inventoiyj diedciii|p ^ pTOgiess ugainst the ezp^jted 


No stockroom girl is excused from this function, and any 
inactivity (where inventory is not complete) will be questioned. 
Signed by Ass't Day Supervisor and third shift supervisor. 

September 24, 1943 

I've been so busy with the different stockrooms that I haven't 
had time to get back to Louise other than to leave her a copy of 
the office request about the inventory. I suppose she thinks it was 
written especially for her, and maybe it was at that. 

A girl from the Supervisor's office heard her tell the Super- 
visor yesterday that she was going to quit because Walter had 
iiisiiited her. I don't know what impression she gave the Super- 
visor, but It didb't sbuiid so fO0^ si seeood hmd* Waller is a 
^ca%htfoif$(^d young is^ a rocind h&^i^ hcc md a pleas- 
ing sn^ He speaMk»viiig]i7 of Im ti#e and hahy. He woiild b# 
the last person I would expecst t&heal^ltisnilt Loilis^Js tibldi, 
tall, and nearly fifty. She has a very cutting tc^ig&t, 

Virginia, in R.P.6B and I both heard the conversation a few 
days ago when Walter told her how she would have to quit read- 
ing on company time. I suppose that was what insulted her. Being 
me, I had to put in my two-bits worth, so I marched up to the 
office and told the Supervisor what I thought of Walter. "You'll 
look a long while before you find a more gentlemanly Lead," I 
informed him, "or a more conscientious one." 

Be$$mim My 190 

Shortages are a it^ pi^hlei& lrhere Is^t^^ general impression 
that^e Leads do tio -worh If It were not for Bil^ who k stM ttiy 
ideal for a jOead, production woidd smp i great wmy iiEne& He 
claims he has built ten ships without any parts. You see, if we run 
out of forty inch segments, he takes a forty two inch one of the 
same material and cuts it off. If he runs out of a very long one he 


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Origirai from 

takes two small ones and splices them. If a certain type skin is 
sbor^ lie niakes another one to fit. Of couise that f^ys 1^^ with 
&mMa ispunt, if we don't keep a cciii$M; trstt^ 

September 30, 1943 

To all employees 

Subject: "E" Award ceremony 

On Thursday, September 30, the Army-Navy "E" Ceremony 
will be held from 3: 15 to 3:45 P. M. on the flight ramp. All em- 
ployees on all shifts are cordially invited to attend, and will pro« 
ceed ss follows: 

1. First shift employes will clock out at 3:05, (can you 
visualize several hundred employes all punching a time clock 
at five mlnytes past thteef) f^oceed to the flight ramp and 
leave the plant at the conclusion of the ceremony. 

2. Second shift employes will be admitted to the plant 
prior to 3:15 P.M. and will proceed directly to the flight 
tamp. At the terminatical t>f wie ceremony, they will go to 
riieir departments, clock in^ and begfn work. 

3. Third shift employes are requested to enter the plant 
through the south tunnel, proceed directly to the flight ramp, 
and leave the plant at the conclusion of the ceremony. 

Altihdtigfh first sl^ employes wiH cloi^ out early and 
second shift will clock in late so that they may atlb^d tihe 
ceremony, such employes will suffer no loss of pay. 

For the day of the ceremony, all second shift plant- 
bound busses will be scheduled 15 n^utes early. Similarly, 
all home^bound busses for die first ^iift wMl be dmyed fiftei 

It is hoped that all personnel will attend the ceremony 
since the "E" award represents personal achievement by 
every main aiid W<Hnaii of this pknt. 

Signed !Plant Manager 

This is qpte Jm honoi't bllt I litiagiiie many "grave- 
^ders** breeAai^ t^ilieir <lsy to mks lim tiip* Makes me weary 
to tibuik about it. 

Sunday, October 10, 1943 

New dim-out regulations taken from the Independent: 


Digitized by ^ 'QIC 

Origirai from 

"Headquarters Western Defense Command. 
"Guide to New Dim-out Regulations. Proclamation No. 
19 prepared by Office of Civilian Defense. 

"The former area of restricted lighting is now divided 
into three zones with graduated requirements. 

"Zone A. A strip adjacent to the ocean appro^diilafedy 
fifteen miles wide, with the exception of limited areas near 
San Francisco, Los Angeles, Columbia River, and several 
coastal bays where this zone extends inland to about thirty 

"Zone B. Only those parts of zone A which are vi^le to 
the sea, but in no case more than ten miles from sea. 

"Zone C. All the former area of restricted lighting lo- 
cated inland from zone A. 

"A comparison of old and new regulations. Zone A. 

"Interior lights. Proclamation No. 12: All shielded to 
horizontal and from sea where visible to the sea. Proclama- 
tion No. 19: Only those Ughts within six feet from window 
require shielding (in residences, can be cJose to window if 
shielded by lamp shade). All sliyUgh^ to be shielded from 
direct rays from light sources. 

"Zone B. Same as for zone A but also shielded from sea 
where Viable to sea. 

"Zone C. No restrictions. 

"Exterior lights No. 12: All shielded to horizontal. 

No. 19: Zone A. All shielded to horizontal. Zone B. All 
shielded to horizontal and from sea when visible to sea. Zone 
C. All light over one hundred watt size (or equivalent in %ht 
intensity) to be shielded to horizontal One hundred watts 
or under are unrestricted. 

"Illumination on outdoor areas. No. 12: Limited to not 
more than one fbot-caftdk. No. 19: Zone A. Limited to tim 
more than one foot-candle. Zone B. Limited to not more 
than one foot-candle. Zone C Now more than five foot- 

"Outdoor Advertising signs and display hghting. No. 12: 
Prohibited. No. 19: Zone A. Prohibited. Zone B. Prohibited^ 
Zone C. Permitted unshielded up to one hundred watts (or 
equivalent light intensity). Permitted with shielding to hori- 
zontal up to a limit of five foot-candles on surface. 

^'Street lights: Shielded in all instances. 
Trafiic Signals: No. 12— Shielded. No. 19— Unshielded. 
Auto Headlights: No. 12: Restricted to two hundred fifrjf 


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candle-power in areas visible to sea. No. 19: Zone A. Unre- 
stricted. Zone B. Reacted to low or depressed beam of regu- 
lar headlights in areas visible to the sea. Zone C. Unrestricted. 

"Recreation and sports lighting. No. 12: Limited to one 
foot-candle. No. 19: Zone A. Permitted to amount necessary 
vrhea sMei|e4 jibtizontal; Zone B. Prohibited if within three 
miles of tii6 sea. Permitted same as zone A if more than three 
miles from sea and shielded from sea. Zone C. Same as zone A. 

"Effective Hours: No. 12 Sunset to sunrise. No. 19 dur- 
ing winter months from October 1 to April 30 effective 
hours are from one half hour tit^ oMdsl stmset to om half 
hour before official sunrise. During summer months from 
May 1 to September 30 effective hours are from one hour 
after sunset to one hour before sunrise." 

This is very dry reading, but in after years it will remind us 
of the weird, ghostly streets, the phantom headlights, the mad 
scramble to find black material to cover our windows and to 
some of us, the one blackout room where we spent our evenings. 

Proclamation No. 19 is encouraging, but I wonder, is it wise? 

Omber 18, 1943 

To: All employees of the department. 

From: Supervisor. 

Subject: Plant tour on birthday. 

In oirder lhjit employees not in groups which eQU^e tUma to 
niove Abotit 1^ inay get a betlQ^ ^ the imiofteilice 
of the parts they hapdle, die wrieix i^ ^dptldie policy ^ per- 
son^y condiictii^ eai^ eoiployee ^r@Qgh the fs^ricating iind 
assembly department on his or her Ufdlday. 

Please advise your Leadman of any approaching ^irthday so 
that we may schedule this tour for you. 

Signed Ass't Supervisor Parts Supply. 

AoQQrdOpa^ to runtof sure experiencing a double romance. 
JUite fxere at die plant woiM ht unb^umM^ #11 if we let oilr 
iniitcb dwell on dieJhoztois ol wair, the liiniger ol {K0|^, istnd ibis 



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darned old rationing. Points for meat, points for canned food, and 
points for shoes. No gasoline, no butter, no soap. 

So who can blame us if we add a bit of glamour to a few ru- 
mors of xotaaiice? Who can say it is wicked ^ we add a touch of 
iNir iniaginidc^ to eacli iceiQ befdte we pass it on to see i( ent- 
laamd^ttd by m^^ber? 

Now we are h^i^E^ « double roaaiance. A fmasome, Hie two 
couples come in and out of the plant together. (Probably t j^haupe* 
the-iide group*) They lunch together at the cafeteria. Tlhat much 
is true. But to get on with the rumors. They are all four married 
but not to each other. One has a divorce in process (not verified). 
One couple is a supervisor from another building and a girl on 
production. He is a chunky fellow, about fifty, with a shiny head, 
not the least bit romantic-looking. She is probably twenty-five, 
and average in slacks. Working on production, of course, what 
hair she has is covered with a red bandana. Now make a romance 
ont of tliat if yon can. 

llie o^er cson^le t heat tatt^ in ^e iMe go hick mi 
foiMk m #e oMce. He was a Lead| who al {»)ceseii£ tinie is bek^ 
pnshed bade and fortib ficoni $psixes id Sli^ftapbS m€ ba^ to 
Spares. She is a round-faced, pl|iin|)gifi |j^fmi#e oM 
her blond hair cut short hke a man's. 

I speak of the ofiice because that's where the desks are and 
where our Supervisor is. It is really just a big open section in the 
center of the building with about twenty desks. I don't know who 
occupies them. Also there are several cabinets where blueprints, 
shop orders, and records of various types are kept, and a huge 
black board, about twenty feet high, where all shortages are 
listed, hangs across a wsS I msS^ don^t see what good it does. Bnt 
to get bstck to tlie fiimois. "liiose are jtisi the newcsr ones. We 

Thei^^ aj^^e ones ab^t sendluig t^ y^m^ mm tssi tcsaoJ^ 
or dkectly into sendee widiont traiitung, Theie "mSi onl^ be old 
men and women to do war work. 

By the time that dies down they are going to do away witfi 
all women Leads. Men are the only ones capable of direaing piro- 


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&m ^ the t&oiisatid workei^ h$m$ It lite oi^- sin^nsiiig: 
diing is ihsLt It d^em't turn out worse than it 4oe$. 

November i, 1943 

Everyone has been poking fun at Helen because she GOtnes 
in kte so often. R.P.6E is quite a distance from the office, so Bto 
one sees her who might call her on it. However, if we clock in one 
minute late, we are docked fifteen minutes. If we come in one 
minute past fifteen minutes, they take a half hour off our pay 

She and her husband have been dashing in quite frequently a 
few minutes after the whistle blom. 

The other day I jokingly told her t would s£art j^oniiig iter 
at eleven o'clodc eadi tdgh% hefo^ I left home. 

She looked at me vecy serloti^y lor a mmmx* *^o/^ she said, 
'Itwotild he too mucli tronhle f or you. ' * 

I was laughing, of course, but I assured her it wouldn't, and 
it's working out fine. I live twice the distance from the plant that 
she does, so before my driver arrives, I phone her, and she has time 
to dress and get to the plant on time. 

They don't have an alarm clock and I do. You can't buy one 
for love or money. Helen deserves a better job if anyone does. 
You couldn't blame her if she resented my being Lead, yet she 
shows it very little. She has been here six months longer than I 
have, and works continually from the time she starts until the last 
whistle blows. While some girls are passing the time she h 

coun$iiig hec stode and ixinf her bpxe& Not only thfH, but 
she lea^, a great deal ah^t fim and procedure from 
husltand. She Is very serious about getting ahead. 

^e speaks rather abruptly and emphatically. If she says it, 
it is so, and that's that. Perhaps that's her handicap. In handling 
people, I have learned, you have to use a lot of blarney and never, 
never be critical of the other fellow. They just won't like you if 
you do. I always say, "You can catch more flies with honey than 
you can with vinegar.** 


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The Dime-a-Wcek club is growing rapidly as we become £|#^ 
customed to having the dime in our pocket. Monitors pa« 
around a paper carton (sealed) each week and we all put in one 

or more dimes. 

A dime doesn't seem like much, but ten of them make a 

One of the girls received a letter from her husband in which 
he said that each enlisted man aboard ship was given a carton of 
cigarettes with gift alrds inseafced at the plant. That makes m feel 
good v/hm wp him pi S^a^m we ktlow actually getting the 
pacioige. Caris whauM sre im3me4 hm at ^e plW have beefi 
returned to Jyoned Serdces fieoj^t Ftmdi li^m BngW^ 
North Africa, Italy, Iceland, Ao^tiialia^ i^e Solomons, India, and 

In many of these war theaters, cigarettes are next to impos- 
sible to buy, and in many places they are strictly rationed. 

More than a thousand dollars have already been put in a spe- 
cial Christmas fund for candy and cigarettes for the U. S. Naval 

November 23, 1943 

According to production schedules, the one-thousandth B-17 
will be produced sometime in December, and it is planned to give 
the flying fortress to the Army Air Force as a Christmas present. 
Posters and a huge chart were hung yesterday in buildings twelve 
and thirteen. Those who work on the Fortress, as well as others in 
the plant, are buying extra war bonds apart from the regular pay> 
roll savings ded^cdons. 

The twQ largest ptireltaseis m ^Sim e^h bought fpm thou^ 
$mA doUais "wotch^ The piicchttae price of a taab^ tib)r«£ hyn- 
dred thousand ^oUais, There Is a i% hmk ia ilie aUce which "wSS^, 
be hung in die plane. We are all signing om: name and writing a 
lew words for tdie boys to read. I have written: 


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To THE 1000th B-17 

Here's to you. O Fortress fair, 

O mighty warrior of the air, 
Here's to you and may God please 

To guide you home again "at ease." 

November 24, 1943 

Yesterday I went to town from the plant. I'm sure I could 
have made as good time as the bus if I had walked. Then about 
half way, we had a peculiar accident. The bus stopped to pick up 
three people. As they pushed their way in, another woman tried 
to get off. She caught fijer he&liaiid hetil fiisC ©fif ilie bus. We 
ii& hsA to give our name mi aiMresKi b^f ote we tiould go on. 

Tlte hm m&siimtL is getilog ^oise idl tlii! lime. Cac diii^Nils: 
are a$ke4 to pidt up tror^ors who ate wearing tlie plant liadge^ 
Hie <|09flpany which l^rstierly operated over thirty buses to the 
plant now has only twenty-five, because of the ^rtage of repair 
parts and mechanics to install replacement parts that are available. 
Many buses are making two trip. I'm very thankful that I have a 
driver to pick me up. 

Christmas, 1943 

On an impulse I hurried up to the Supervisor's desk at 3:10 
tJus morning. "Did you ever notice how m^ii^ morning I get here 
early.'" I asked. 

"Yes," he said, "and I have noticed that you usually go to 
work when you arrive, instead of waiting for the whistle. What's 
the idea.5" 

I didn't tell him T had to go to work or to sleep, but twelve 
o'clock midnight is a poor time to sit around. Rather, I said, "I'm 
trying to jSiet a good example.'* 

He looked at sne ^u^diously^. **Y0im not going to ay^ lor 
the tm of t^e moi<iilt}g off he aejc:use4 

That was my euei. ^dh no," I laugM* **l^in onljr goil^ to ask 
for the next fifteen minutes off." 

"Granted!" he said. 



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Evfer 4fiCe I arrived at 11: 30 it had been going over and dver 
in tny nttnd, how tire ^oHM jpossihly have a Oiriittoas party in 
thirty minutes. As I down^ ^t^^^ get things ipd)r I 

thoi^^ I heard ^^MaMet** above the lioise 0 the ina^^d^ I 
$lOpped and bolted aroiind. The girl froin RJ^43 caught up w|£h 
me. "They're putting a moving picture screen right where you 
planned the tables," she shoiited. 

"I rushed over to the men. "Must we have a picture ^ght 
-here?" I asked, "we are planning a big Christmas party." 

The two men proceeded to set up the machine. "We're show- 
ing a picture because it's Christmas, and we want to entertain 
you," the taller one said. "That's all we know about it." 

"Wait just a minute," I snapped, with all the authority I 
could manage. "We'll have to find another place for you; ovu: table 
is going to be there." 

The precious minutes were ticking off as I rushed on down 
the aisle looking for a space big enough for a group to see the 
picture. I was glad I Imd Mked with the Supervisor. At irst I had 
considered ignoring hun^ thinking I probably woutdn^t he no* 
ticed as my |ob l^^ps ma rum^ig back and forth. Now 1 hsul d 
feelihg of securi^^ There are very few vacant spaces in the bmld- 
ing, but I found one that I thought Would do. I rushed back to 
bluff it out with the men. I don't know who they thought I was, 
but they were packing up their equipment. 

"You can move it down here," I pointed, "about a hundred 
feet. Come back after the picture and we'll save you some 

I rushed over to Bill and Lew. "For the love of Mike," I 
shouted, "can you help me clear this table so we can push it up to 
the other one. We want one long table." 

"For the love of Mable," Bill answered, "we will." 

Lew said, "You want tMs other one over here?** 

"Sure^ why noti- 1 laughed. "But make it snappy." 

In iess tifne than it takes to tell, we had a table fifty feet long, 
covered witlt white paper (^!«i^d irom the npholsl^ depait- 
ni^>|HelM brought some poi^tdas for decotirion, and we had 


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poinsettia paper napkins left over from the swing shift party. The 
food was lined up in three stockrooms, so I had most of it on the 
table before the whistle blew. We pooled our ration points, and 
six girls b^lced the meat Mves. This is the daflEest Chfistpias M 
hi$coxy« Fai SQ]^ being over. No ei^ ol 

miixim3LMti&Qr^^ )wt w^% hi&0, ptray. 

When tim whittle btew tba!e& shorn and si iongt the noise 
stopped, and men and women were drawn as if by a magnet to 
die table— each carrying something to sit on in one hand and a- 
diermos bottle in the other. 

As I watched them, I thought, "This is just one department 
on one shift. For a moment I paused to thank God for the health, 
the energy, and the privilege of doing my share along with all 
these fine people. 

January 8, 1944 

Just a year since I came into the plant. When will the war 
end? Little did I think a year ago, when the instructor took that 
first piece of metal from my hands and threw it in the trash box, 
that I would be here a whole year. It seems but yesterday when he 
looked at me and snapped, "Which is your basic side.'"— and I 
didn't know I had a basic sli^ 

I can still recall the iemfied shifters I li^ wlien be said, 
**irQii'tt neyer se^ ano^r liiret gniij I iiof* 

Well, Tire seen hnndx^eds of them Ch^ 
and btici^^ bans, lit hands of yonth and in iht hand^ age* 
Strong hands, dependable hands, determined hands. 

I've learned that there is a place for all types of hands in the 
fight for liberty. Every day ushers in new workers. Some big, 
husky, and ready to tackle the world. Others, slight, timid, with 
the same frightened look I must have had a year ago. 

We have been hearing the rumor that Graveyard is ending. 
That is good news. It can mean one of two things. Either we are 
getting enough trained, skilled workers and tools to do the job 
on two shifts, or the end is in sight and we will taper off on pro- 

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Digitized.. -.^w UNlVERStTY OF WISCONSIN 

January 72, 1944 

The moving picture machine started again last night and we 
all grabbed a box or stool and our lunch and llished over to enjoy 
die picture as we ate^ 

We were showii aaotlier Atiny felease. We $ee tlie actiial 
fighting. It is hoffible, I suppose the psyhcology of sM^m^ 
is to liiakeiis WOrk h^ buy: more tKm^ 

Before 1^ pfOgzam is oyer, they usually lighten it with a 
eoiQedy. It 10^(1^ scraijge to hear the laughter instead of tJ)e 
usual roar of machiiles. 

January 28, 1944 

Communique from the office. 

"To All Third Shift Employees. 

Because of a instnarkable increase in effit^encjr demon- 
strated by the personnel of the B-17G Project, it is possible 
to maintain production requirements at this time on a two- 
shift basis without overloading any department or operation. 

If first aild second shift personnel ca«i be fi^dasiced, 
C»Oordination problems will be considerably less^ae4, and the 
overall efficiency of the project greatly improved. 

In order to accomplish this it is desirable, insofar as 
possible, to transfer all third shift employes to the second 
shift. It is appreciated that such a move may inconvenience 
some employees and may require some sacrifice on their 
part. However, B-17G workers have repeatedly demonstrated 
their sincere desire to further the war effort and will recog- 
fiize* I am snre^ that this proposed Inove & |ust one ityore step 
toward the greater production of Fortresses and an early Vic- 

Your fine cooperation, past and anticipated, is greatly 

Sigmdi BamsmmmmHT M7Q fmjsar. 

Ttiefe k mki^ that communique Insofar ai§ 

possible^ we ai« all going ool S^;(^ld|^ i^ifc^ It Will ad|t^l3n^S^ 
for itit young people. Hiey will h^ve to do ^eie partying 
nudnight: But Ibe r^ har^^p wOl be oil die wotoi^ who hm^ 
small children. Graveyard has given dte father die opporciij^iy to 
be with the children when the mother was working. 


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To me it will mean that I will see my husband only from 
midnight to 8 A.M. As tired as I am when I get home, that really 
means that I won't see him at all. How long, O Lord, how long? 

Febtmry 4, 1944 

The ky'^lf of graveyard completed 'Tomq^m^ l%ht k 
om kst ^ht, N0[ keiio^ the iscore as yec Ais far is we can 
dece]ffim<^ no one Is heit^ liid c^. Jnsit ttmimxfSL to days or 
swing. Most of our production is going on swing. I am to be trans- 
ferred to days, and so will lose sight of 'nu>st e$%^fone I have met 
and enjoyed. 

The last six months have been a bit trying, a matching of wits, 
a case of the survival of the fittest; yet, we are all pretty well in 
the swing now— everyone, of course, but Jane. 

Since Louise quit, and Bell and Flo are working in 6D, we 
have had harmony there. Helen, Mary Ann, and Louella have 
cooperated, more or less, since they discovered there was nothing 
any of iis cotiid do about my being a Lead. Virginia, of cottrse, 
was adMiii^ freanihe abd ]ii)r adopts |Jb»tr^ hass hdj^tei^ 
the 1^ hours her earful anile and Iw^fol tnismter ev^ 
aruse ^ came into ^e pictiicet 

I will always chemh the man^ mce things written in my 
memory book. Among thenii a note ftpm my favorite Leadman, 

"First I'll wish you a lot of luck on another shift, as this is 
next to the last night on Graveyard. Wish you had one of my 
stockrooms on Swing, as I sure will miss arguing with you. What 
ever you do on Days, don't let it get your goat. Ha! 

If I had the power to carve or paint 

Your future, Dear Friend 
It would be ever bright, 

Unbonnded to tlie end/^ BiE 

Hien from Lewi *^ejre is hoping I find a stockroom Lead on 
Swing as cooperative as you, Mable. hos^^ of lun^ on Day* %Wtc 
(You'Unccdit) m tttLew." 

From Libby: mi &m Mf ^^ ki tiie deparoii^t wotild 


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not have been successful had it not been for the training you gave 
me the first few weeks after entering the department. I hope our 
friendship will not cease by having to be separated by the change 
of shifts. Libby." 

From Virginia: "Mable dear, I feel that it has been a privilege 
to wpik "mi^ yosU I ha^t enjoyed it very much. Hope some day 
we slhaU work togedier again and will see ym <sii&L Vkg^ 


"Here's to Mable from little BelL 

Where we will land no one can tell. 
But our old graveyard is no more; 

They have moved us out and closed the door. 
Bat we'll btiild oiir planes and build them well 

For the boy^ who are so swell. 

The stock girl BelL 6D" 

From Mo: "Remember our date* Februai^r 3, 1949^ Here's 
hoping it will not be lunch period or ui3rtfaii]^ but a monory of 
B-17's. Flo." 

(We kept this date and had a fine lunch and visit at Bullock's, 

Los Angeles.) 

From Louella: "May you like your new job on Days and find 
pleasant companions to work with. Louella." 

From Betty (the prettiest girl I ever knew) : 

"Dearest 'Gerkie,' hope I shall see you often, and I hope your 
new job will be very-very-O.K. Your candy is wonderful and 
you are a very swell person. Glad to have known you. Betty." 

Kdthing, of coutse, i^om Jane in BuPi4A« After she reoiFiied 
my carefully chosen Qiristmas oird which iSaid: 

"With all the world aflame, and war and hate filling the minds 
of men, this holy season offers a message of hope that some 
day the world will return again to tolerance aoia compassion 
and that the gentle guiding hand of the phince of peace vidll 
lead us all to happiness and security. 

May God bless you and keep you safe and may you enjoy 
a merry Christmas and a NeW Year brig^ht witti the hope m 
better times come," 


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I realized she was determined to hate me to the end, so I have 
completely ignored her, the same as she has me. I wonder how old 
she 1$. Hie past year has not dealt kindly with her. She looks 
much older than when I first iset Iier. For that matter, I suppose 
I kfok older fod>. I*m getting a new phase tom&cs&m vs&tmng at 
^m ^-diock. It is not wi^ the same nisj^vlf^ I M wimi X 
accepted C-Lead. I an^pated tfOi:d)i!e ahe^ ^ea. I knew how 
the girls resented Dolly and I knew they would resent me all the 
more. However, I am supposed to have a lead job. "They" tell 
me that my salary will not be cut regardless. Still I have a feeling 
lliat Day shift will resent anyone from Graveyard. 

conmmmque from the &0ee> 

To: All Personnel Transferring to First or Second Shifts. 

The last few days have been hectic ones for all of us. I 
would like to express my thanks and appreciation for the 
spMt and cooperation you have shown in making the neces- 
sary adjustments in your working hours. It is realized that 
some or you have had to make drastic changes in your home 
schedules to conform to the change and your sacrifices in this 
respect are deeply appreciated. It is through such sacrifices 
A tliat tiie home If ont waf effort is what it & today, and mx 
efforts here have a direct bearing on how long it will take to 
win this war overseas. Thank you again. 

Signed Ass't Supervisor 

That is the final message from Graveyard. It is a "thank you,*' 
and a challenge. We must put our best foot forward, our shoulder 
to the wheel, and get this war over. 

February 1944 

What a surprise I had this morning at seven o'clock. My 
first day on "Daze." Jimmy took my arm, and said in his broad 
southern accent, "Come with me!" He guided me down the aisle 
to a receiving point in the extreme south end of the building. The 
farther south we went the noisier it got and we stopped at the 
last R.P. 

"Honey child," he shouted, "I stayed over to see that my girls 
were taken care of." 


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"Yeh?" I questioned dubiously. 

**yo1i won't be a Big Lead, but you ^nM. be in charge of twt> 
Of tlyr^e stockrooms." 

Be mtjMtmd m to the gills k E^^94' ^'ths Q-Lmi hm 
km vsmiimi* tm sm^maidw ovtt w^ft^^ir 

I was taking her ftkce IsmfK^faxlLy, pmaan^dy, or not at ^ 

The girls in the stockroom soon put me straight on that. I 
explained to them that I had worked on Graveyard over a year, 
seven months of which I was C-Lead. 

"Well, you've got a lot to learn!" the tall blond girl said sar- 
castically, and I knew they weren't accepting any Lead from 

I'd rather be a janitor and sweep the floors than go through 
that again. 

*Tm here to do whatever is necessary," I said, trying not to 
shoat, and ]^ be Hesti^d, '*and of ^^^^ to t#ll me 

wiiat tlit 

tt didii^t take to fii^ 
rumor before was actually the truth. The real work is done on the 
day shift, and no wonder they call it "Daze." The terrific noiie 
recalls the threat that Albert made the first night I was C-Lead. 
He said to Jimmy, "I guess I'll have to put Mable at the south end 
of the building where it is really noisy and she can't ask me when 
she gets stuck." 

Albert has been a fine Lead. I wonder where the shift from 
Graveyard has put him. 

Just outside the stockroom, I spied Vidtes. Slie was Hiveting 
segments. Shi^ wavtsd to Hie, hM it wasn't un<£ rest |>et|(^ thatt 
got to speak Id he^» All Saf $^d^ at one position. 

•*So this k wh^re jfOu have beefi^** I isaXki to het, 

*Si^n light hetie dll ibttlkm," shie answered^ 

With her wofking a libfferent shift, I hadn't seen her since 
the night she came to my counter for me to identify her. She is 
an old friend. Being with her at lunch and rest, periods will cheer 
me up. I haven't heard what happened to Marguerite yet, but it is 
too far for me to go to the Cafeteria and get back in thirty 


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minutes. As Swing shift started filtering in, who should come 
by the counter but Dove. "Why Mable," she exclaimed, "fancy 
finding you here!" 

"I can echo that," I said. "I've been a year on Graveyard." 

*Tve got you beat," she laughed. *l*ye beea a year and two 
I&i30& <»} Swing." 

She woridng oa tlie oexc ajsl?^ biaid% asscinblies {o^4it 
B-lfmd tlw A-2j$;tM d£c0dise I only se^ li^as s^e c^oesln 
because ivlu^sl^ jyovevsnxio^twomsai past 

middle age who dbesn't need to work— anoth» woman who is 
doing her sjhoi^tOiGidilthe war. Her folks were among the DoniKBr 
party that was so nearly wiped out. Her husband's people gave a 
park to the city years ago. It is now one of the nicest parks in the 

February 12, 1944 

We certainly keep busy on this shift. The last two hours of 
the day are the longest two hours I ever experienced. We were 
used to working six hours an Graveyard. W# work eight hours on 
I)ays. We liave to rs^ fo fiM oimifli atsseMbpes to keep the 
department going. Most of wdrkess Itatit been at ilie same 
positicm long oio^b to put oift a job isi temti time; 

The stock is all strange to me, and sure enough, the two girls 
in this stockroom are going to let me shift for myself. I can sink 
or swim as far as they are concerned. I'm too tired to see anything 
amusing in an aircraft factory on "Daze." The one saving grace 
is that we use the same records on all shifts. 

Pulling an assembly is the same on one shift as it is on the 
other. There are just so many more of them. Then, more stock 
comes in from purchased parts, from the feeder plants, and from 
the fabrication department. It is easy to understand why Grave- 
3rard was expected to keep up the inyaxtofy!, I wdndef what will 
happen to it IMW, 

The noke is tenM Its^ms to get louder every day. No one 
tries to talk. We have to keep $K^p|»t^ or be $t^|i|)ect m> 

I ^tnered Bill and Ixw motpkig aiiidl ii^std ^'$m thmt 


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bringmg my bench bade to R.P.9A. '*lt^$ your bench,** Lew 

and Bill added, **Wc built it for you, remember?** Then he 
laughed. "Fli b<^ yon don't do any sleeping on it." 

March 8, 1944 

We took pictures of Don as he boarded the Pacific Electric 
for Fort McArthur this morning. My first son to enter training. 

"Just going away to school," he called to me as the train 
pulled out. His wife and baby waved goodbye to him. We were 
all laughing. You would think we were happy to have him go. 

How I know how a inodier M$ wt^ her son goes to war. 
Ever met my husband was appointed on the Sej^^ve Service 
Board he has dreaded the €ky when he woidd haVe to s%n up his 
own son. It ^dn*t wotic tlut tibat !«^y» 

March 10, 1944 


We have a very attractive colored girl working on production 
now. Hfer warn is overseas and she is working and saving to help 
with a new home when he gets back. She stopped me in the aisle 
today and surprised me by asking, "What kind of girdle do you 

"What makes you ask that?" I countered. 
"Well," she hesitated, "You're so fat, but you don't look it." 
I didn't tell her I'm taking a beauty course, and have lost ten 

March 12, 1944 

I nearly missed seeing Don leave for Fort Knox this noon. 
I wonder how many young wives would have bothered to get in 
touch wi^ ^ehr tnother-fin-Iaw a^ter i^e fatherrin4aw k 
touldnt be dxxAiL My b^by. Be may never eome ba^ I tmy 
never see hlttt a^uxt. 

It wasn% ntitil it was an over «nd we t^i^ eatefl lutidi Wlih 
him and followed 1m train as far as the road led, that I knew how 
close I had come to not seeing him leave. 

He had phoned his wife. They had ordeis to leave and would 


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be in the city two hours. She phoned my husband. 

"You couldn't get Mother out of the plant," he had said. "I 
don't think they would let her out, and I wouldn't know how to 
go about it." 

^•Wcll," Wanda Belle said, "I'll bet Mother would quit her job 
rather than not see Don leave." 

She i^ei^ed imy tsiSk^ iAmst bpWg tm€l^^ mi$ S^&esm 

I was eSs% m the j^ne m ilie oMc«. My husband's vdce 
greeted me. **iDl9 yoQ tbyk you can get off to see Don leave?" 

"I'll meet you on the corner in front of the plant right away," 
I answered, and hung up the phone. 

"How do you get out of this joint?" I asked the girl at the 
desk. She told me where to get a pass-out slip. 

We drove by our house and I sUpped into a clean slack suit. 
As much as I hated to have my boy remember me in pants, I 
couldn't spare the time to dress. 

Again I ask, "How long, O Lord, how long?" 

April ly 1944 

I was speechless this morning when a strange young man in 
a dark business suit stopped me in the aisle. "Isn't your name 
Gcrken?" he asked. 

Now what have I done? was my first reaction. It was 6:45 
A.M. The machinery had not yet started, and his voice seemed to 
carry to the world* 


'*Yoit have $ Son ^orldi^ kt Hoiyirod^ Mv^^ ym0^* be 

My jbeare Slood 'What's happened to him?" I gasped. 
Glen Jr. was working on a very "hush-hush" project We be- 
lieved it was something to do with radar. He evaded any question 
his father or I might ask. His wife was even more evasive. 

"Oh, nothing happened to him," the young man assured me. 
"I just happened to work with him before I came into the plant 
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*'Oh!** My heart starred beating again. 

*'I guess yofi. kncfW W$ m his way ba^ to Botstipiti i$lch a 
very seem bhie paskt, 1^ has to phcme lOi^ distance bacik to ih& 
office evexy time the train stops. They wouldn't let him fly because 

the airways are being watched. He's quite a Big Shot, you know, 
and when he gets back he'll have something that will end the 
war right away." 

I was furious. "If you've been here a week," I snapped, "you 
should be familiar with the signs: 'BUTTON UP YOUR LIPS'." 

And they talk about women talking. 

Maybe he was the F.B.I, pumping me. 

I tudbed ffiTOimd itm cottntor lids mortubo^ atmiKst into tlie 
arms of tall, silent M^mrt. t Mn't JM for 'wecks^ and I 
didn't know what shift he wss worMi^ on, 

"How do you ijOke the noise?" he grieeted me. 

"This is where you threatened to send me," I bantered, "Qun't 
say as I like it." 

"How'd you like me to take you out of here?" 

I threw him a quick searching look. He was dead serious. 

"That I would like!" I said emphatically. 

"Well, get your things and let's go!" 

"Bye, girls," I shouted as I grabbed my coat and purse, "I'll 
be back for my bench." 

Albert was grinning as I trotted along beside him up the 
aisle to the north end of the building. "This fenft Ijie job you 
are quaMed for/^ ht explained **bm it is mce^ and <|iite^ Md the 
igkls you will work with aipe a Jot of Iimu" 

*'Fun on IDaze'? I have ahnost lo^otlen how mndi ftin I 
had on Graveyard." 

"No authority goes with the job, but you will have chaise 
of your ovra stockroom. Nothing to worry you but the swing 
shift girl. 

I'm going to like Ila and Veena. They received me with open 
arms. And warned me about the Swing shift girl. My stockroom is 


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at the south end of theirs and opens into it. The only counter I 
have is on production side, so I will have to receive my stock 
through their stockroom. 

May 1, 1944 

My troubles with Swing shift were short Hved. They have 
removed the shift from this department. We can handle every- 
thing on Days. It is very monotonous. Same assembliies every day. 
HcdhuigMtub^long tubes, sliorti^lN^ tiscatt^b^ idie tiiNBs, 
straight tube£^ cimksd fSaibe^ of IN: te;y #^es 

in the s^jk 1%!^ itlwa^fs have «o be wa^uedr^-^sa^ same 
soap and Vfiis&triif M^ 4^f^ 

May 4, 1944 

Albert stopped at the counter this morning, and gave me a 
quizzical look. "Are you so very unhappy?" he asked. 

"Yes," I said, "I am. I can't stand sitting still in one place. 
For all the good I'm doing, I may as well check out." 

"I suppose you don't realize that you're the only person 
pulling tube assemblies for the B-17." 

*1Sd what?** I w^sm^ to Jmow; 

-So every B-lf We sioid over Oerom^ of jfapmi h3& a tiabe 
assembly j0«i)ia'<^ilM4ed <m*t^t^ wotih soiiediij^, Isit't 
"Yes, yes^ it is," I^. ^*Tbt rejd^ is somechjiig.'^ 

June 2, 1944 

Today was open house at the plant. All employees were given 
tickets for their family. All week we "cleaned house." Straight 
new bin boxes replaced the bulging old ones. New bin cards care- 
fully written displayed our best penmanship. Our floors and 
counters were immaculate. We are proud of our daytime home. 
It isn't a factory to us; it's a big house, and we are all a big loyal 

June 8^m4 

I happened && a very soletrni^ooMog a£Fair yesterday at 


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laiicii pei^td. I Itad taim spee0ag over |o see Mizpi^te 

but,, a$ t bidU^ twi)» I fan into a group of aiotit t^vs^tjr 

WOrkt^ standing in a Circle. No one was eating. A tall, attractive 
brunette was facing me. She looked on the verge of tears. Her 
low, musical voice drew me closer. "I know how you all feel," 
she drawled. "Many of you never did Uke Minnie, but, as long as 
she died in our midst, I, for one, think we should do something 
about it. Whether we liked her or not, it's a cinch we will miss 
her scurrying in and out of the stockrooms.'* 

They must be taking up a collection for flowers, I thought, 
so I edged up closer to see if I knew her. In a plant this large there 
are several Minnies. Just ^en tile Lead Mi sanntefed sooiiad a 
large jig, str^d^ung iu$ neck to see wl^iifc was going on, ^^eii^ 
ril be dmmt^** he spitterei. 

The five minute ix^acning bdS and e^eey seatteted. 
On a work bench was a tiny coffin put together with scraps of 
metal It was lined with fine metaUic shavii^ At the head and 
foot was a spray of flowers made of bolts, nuts, and spacers, some 
covered with bright stockroom tape. In the center lay Minnie. 
She was a mouse 

June 22, 1944 

Editorial from Airview magazine: 

"War is costly in money as well as lives. Before a soldier can 
participate in combat, the Quartermaster Corps estimates it 
spends $440 in simply feeding and clothing him for a year. 

"When the soldier is ready for combat, he must be equipped 
with certain basic weapons such as: .30 caUber semi-automatic Ml 
Garand rifle (cost $80), a bayonet (cost $5), and at least four hand 
grenades (cost $6.24). 

**A soldier may iise a fianierthrower (cost $9^0)* mf i»c 
part of a gun crew, woriitig a l5l*i|)iii. hoiHtzer {cost $il,OQ0)«. 
of tep m coinmvinicatiiin odier units by ^iv^m of a waiQde- 
talkie ($200). 

"Heavy bombers cost about $250,000, medium bombers about 
$110,000, and fighter planes about |50»000' To make one medium 


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bomber takes about 13,000 man-hours. Food from 20 acres is 
needed to feed workers who build one bomber. Laige bomben 
take 27,000 man-hours. 

"Bombs weighing up to 4,000 pounds cost about $875. Oxygen 
masks for the crew of a Flying Fortress cost about $40. To each 
mask is attached a regulator costing $60, and a $25 oxygen cylinder 
from which the flyer draws his breath of life. 

"To land the units for an invasion, highly specialized boats 
are put into action. The smallest type of self-propelled "croco- 
dile boat" costs about $18,500, and the highest model costs $27,000. 
An dcean-going landing barge lofis to dAioaf |2 niilKott 

**l£&n .SQ caliber inaf^fiie giimMng at a inaxtaiiii tt^ of Jlcip 
for two Iboijurs mdi ive iiiniiices ipbtdd iise tmt suiion roiuads of 
aixMniclom It lakes i^SM woEiieis to jproctuce imb^f «^ 
rounds In one d^r< 

one Mm- of Jfi^ig, sl 7S^nm, field nun expends f ,250 
pounds of copper, 3,000 pounds of zinc and 42,750 poimds of 
steel. A 105-mm cannon can shoot out more than 3 tons of steel 
in one hour of firing. The cost of the cannon, without its shells, 
is about $13,000. 

"In the Sicilian invasion, each mechanized division required 
18,000 gallons of gasoline for every hour it was on the move. 

"Even when an invasion force wins, it loses materiel. The 
cost of reaching the mainland of Italy, including the prelude of 
North Africa and Sicily, was 1,800 aircraft lost. In Sidly, 13 per 
cent of all the 155-nim. howitzers were lost, 8 per cent of die 
ine#qm 13111^ II jpcar centoft^ 37-i^^ guns. 

**Mmxi^tmai^s^ aiime of a. solfo #t^ei$eas r^piires ibont 
65 pounds of ^upH^ per tm^L dnjf. 

*nChk n om 'WmWs up to eadi oite of lis to ight wb<i»t 
we^'re needed inos^^mdi aU our might, all the time. Thgt will 
call for a certain amount of self-discipline and self-deoiaL And 
here again is a battle station for each of us— the weapon: otir 
pocketbook; the objective: To help pay, to the best of our ability, 
part of the astronomical cost of planes, ships, tanks, guns and 


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Things sure happen unexpectedly ^oimd ilJbeit 
km ti^e stodkirpom moniliig bringing Eneseyie "w^tlt li^ 
**T^1bis is to be yoiif hoinie no;«^"^^^^^ to feer. 

*^t: no," she objected, tm halve Mable^S mxMomm. 
Are you checking her out?" 

I stood there holding Piy breattL It was the first I had heard 
about being let out. 

Ernestine pranced up and down the small stockroom. "What 
I can't understand is you being a Republican and Mable being a 
Republican, yet you let her out and give me her place. You know 
I'm a Democrat." 

Albert smiled patiently. Turning to me he said, "What do 
you say, Mafele?" 

*^^^^€ ever you say;" I mmrmM. **^^'J» tJie bo»i^' 

'^pofc^ Wktt a tnie EepublicaiL 'Wioktw ^a^r I Hke tti^ 
girls to talk/' he said, taking taf arm su^il gglding me to the next 
counter. "Maybe I have a better job lor a B^ublican," he called 
back; then to me he said, "I had to |iot you in a sttockrooni XKfhere 
you could jump around." 

Veena has been promoted to Production control dispatcher, 
but will spent part of her time with Ila and me. 

OmobsrW, 1944 

Veena came to work Monday in an attractive two-piece gray 
checked slack suit. "Oh," Ila exclaimed, "Where did you get that 
suit and could you get size 18 for vm?" "Me too," I said. "Size 250,*- 
itmex^Yf -m three girls m Itf2^ w^ dresSed aB^. 

Albert stopped quick md locked us <jvet. **W$%" be wMt *^ 
g^iess I wc^t get y^u milted up. One is looser one jijst agW/ imd 
as he Iook)»l at mCj "om %litv*' fU bajre to Jose a few pounds. 

November 10, 1944 

Well, election is over. Also the tension. For the first time in 
history we have a third term president. According to the Republi- 
cans, America is sunk. We have a dictator we will never be able to 


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get out of the White House. According to the Democrats, we 
have another Jesus Christ. Another Saviour of Mankind. 

It is surprising that after so many heated arguments, we are all 
friends. Only in America can we act like ferocious snarling dogs, 
tearing at each other's throats one minute, and be as a lion and a 
lamb resting together the next 

It was surprising how many wene nbs^t ^ «ile€tioii 4^7* It 
wottld he hsi&^ieisdiig to Idnow how mmyt brides wa^U woi^ced 
on tibe tledam limid. 

Npvmber S€[, 1944 

My diary is being neglected; THcJPe IS plenty tici w^ot^ %i&titfyt 
time to wtlte It^ The holidays ar^ lieEf i^aiii,v and we act stiP at 
war. iDrd^ sdit chatted from day m d^. The dews is 
good one day bad ilie next. We have to cajpry on. 

Christmas, 1944 

Another Christmas is over. One more dark, more terrible 
than the last one. There was to be no celebration. No day off. The 
line must be kept moving. We were allowed no Christmas trees, no 
mistletoe— but of course, like the children we are at heart, we 
got them into the plant. Some one brought a small branch of ever- 
green in the center of a bouquet of flowers. There were always 
flowers. Stripped of the flowers, the evergreen was a miniature 
tree. It was tied in the comer of the counter, and sprinkled with 
almninum shavings— long silver-like strings. From dmd to t&ne 
throughofit the moitUng, someone plaeed a s^aodr or ring coveied 
wi^ stb^ocmi taj^ of re4 y^liow^bitt^ ftiid No one kiiew 
how tihte tree got thej^ Of who #coilaied it. 

ikboilt noon, Albert found it hfe duty to object, **Who is 
going to take that tape <M Itjad see that the parts are not de- 
stroyed?" he asked. No one answered. 

"There will be a guard along soon," he said, "and he will 
give you your orders." 

I followed him out into the aisle, "Honestly," I asked, "How 
many trees have you seen in the building.'" 



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The §ami i^fpmed, -Itm^ hmt m Mee t^t tret #wii!^ 
"Yes, I know," I answered, **We're going to gif^at it^n** 
An hour later the guard was back. "You'll have to take that 

tree down," he said again. "It's against the rules." 

"Yes, we know," Veena answered. "We're swamped with 

pulls right now, but we'll get at it." 

Albert came along about that time. Before he could say 

anything I said, "Can't you get us some help; we can't seem to get 

caught up enough to take this tree down." 

His eyes twinkled as he said sternly, "There must be an 

awftd lot of people absent. Kd one se«si)s m ind tune to ^e any 

tree Jowiu*' A girl from production was listening. All at once ^ 

"wt^Ss&l mm md IdmM Mbm, lie was ^^dliiig ijpier s^<g 

nMetoe. (Why didn^ I s&i 

cheditad out tods^^ We^ took ^ & ^Ueetioxit and 1 Wis 
asked to buy her a purse. Instead of wrapping it, I left my purse 
home and carried it in. I thought I was quite clever until I opened 
it at the gate. All I had in it was my coin purse. No badge, no 
identification card. The guard gave me a sharp look and said, 
"You'll have to get in hne over at the window." 

If you forget your badge, they give you a temporary one, 
but if you don't have an identification card, that's another story. 
I was escorted to the poUce department to remain until my super- 
visor called for me. I couldn't check in, so of course I wasnit 
getting pal3» 

I had waited; ^liri^ niioiites Whaii * well-^tssed young aaaii 
stepped 1% 1«30M ^t>tuid, and tuiiiied to l0am Hu^re was no one 
there but me« ^Say," I odlisd to Wan, "Yon wouldn't be looling 
for ttie would you?** 

-•Are you M^bte ^erken?** he nsked. Then we both laughed, 
biscause he was new in the department and I didn't know him 
from Adam. He didn't know me either. I explained the situation, 
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Mtarch IS, 1945 

The carpenters are agala Azio^i^ diaoge, Thsy im 
boilcliiaif ft three-foot fence around the office. They made just 
one gate at the south end on the main aisle. It's amusing to see the 
men and women from the north end of the building. Rather than 
walk around, they swing over. The tall ones do it easy. I haven't 
tried it— yet. 

Ila was so mad this morning. A man from another depart- 
ment bawled her out because her bin ship-short didn't balance 
with his. Albert came through about that time, and she said, "Al- 
bert, I'm so mtdi the inaddief I $it here the longer I get.'^ 

Needled to say ^ i;irasii*t mad any longer. 

March 17 ^mS 

Sl Hktiiclc ivain't fotgotten in the plant todays is ^ 

spattering of green blouses, ties, and ribbons. Also some very 
unusual decorations. Van came into the stockroom early. "What 
do I have to do to get a piece of green tape.^" she asked Veena. 

Veena grinned. "Well," she said, "it's nice that you ask for 
it. It sme does annoy us to have someone swipe the whole roll. 
How much do you need?" 

"Oh, about six inches." 

Veena looked her surprise and Van laughed. "I'm going to 
make a V on the front of my blouse." 

Later another girl tittat im wi^ five curly greent ^ps similar 
to a pop bottle: cap. They are clamped oval i^e tub^ to keep the 
dv$t out imtiOi thsf af€ used. §be wdoi^ z,ikBt gt eeu ta|»e lor 
le^vis and sterns. She M 4t3ite a Gd]?ai|^ 

March 22, 1945 

Here's a little personal incident that probably doesn't belong 
in an aircraft story, but on the other hand I guess it does, as it 
shows one more thing that we women have to go through after 
we have put in eight hours at the plant. 

It was raining the proverbial cats and dogs as I arrived home. 
I turned the key and pushed open the front door to hear the most 


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hak-fCa^liig soim4 It wis as tiumi^Ii a flood of luster were 
down a hill. After a hard day's work, it sounded like Niagara 
Falls. I threw off my raincoat as I made a dash for the bathroom. 
I could see it wasn't the kitchen. The odor of damp wool greeted 
me, and I found the hot water pipe under the wash basin, pulled 

Water was shooting straight across the room, splashing against 
the tile bath tub, and squirting back towards the wash basin. It 
covered the tile floor, and was running into the hall and both bed 
tooms. I waded through, and put my hand over the water pipe. 
Hie force ^iwis so S&ong it puslied tfity hand away, making a VfQ^ 
of gushing ^i^er iMsb. ^o^eired kite. I grabbi^ a wai^ dotiii to 
foki&ium the pipe, btrt tliat di4n*t trofk» I was spakei^ irom head 
to foot, aiid ilie vm&t had statted jraiiti^ iato the #ilt^ ^oom. 

I rushed to the phone and dialed my husband's office. A inan 
answered and said "Mr. Gerken isn't here." "Well, someone will 
have to get over here at once," I shouted, "the water pipe has 
broken and the house is flooded with water!" 

As 1 started to slam the receiver on the hook I heard a voice 
say, "Who's speaking please?" It's a good thing I didn't hang up 
quicker, or I might still be trying to stop the water. 

I rushed back to the bathroom and managed to get the pipe 
back where it belonged. It wasn't broken, just pulled apart. Per- 
haps a slight earthquake had caused it. 

I heard a car stop, and realized tihe 4QQt had locked wliect I 
closed it, so I dropped the pipe and dMied tc> die doo£. l^e water 
shot out l|^|IL 

**Voii ]ook Wk^ a dto^vned ta^'' the sM gteeled nae. He i&md 
the Outside wsmt ^kmo&i atid totiiied it I commeiioed to bieathe 

of dinner being ready as usual, my husband found me 
dippmg water with bath towels. I had three heavy towels, would 
drop one in the water, pick up another, squeeze it into a bucket, 
drop it and pick up another. 

He took up the soaked hall rug, lifted the trap door and found 
the furnace submerged. The water must have been running most 


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of tbe dxf. After bailkg 

I was "squeezing it up" in bathroom, we fiiialh^ saw bottom. 

The hall and bedroom rugs had to be sent to the cleaners. 
We lifted the edge of the dinii^ room rug and poked papers 
under it. 

My husband fixed the pipe. I would sleep easier if a plumber 
had done it, but just try to get a plumber! They are working in 
aircraft factories or shipyards. 

Ila received a letter from her husband today. She is up in the 
clouds again. When she doesn't hear from him, she is in the depths 
of despair, and when she does, she walks on air. She is especially 
hilarious today because he said, "Don't be alarmed because I am 
sending my clothing home." She will probably watch the win- 
dows and dooxs f roiii iioi^ on tuttil he ^ves. It wovildn't sixr^dse 
me n bit ll sh^: chedb xmt. Jytid dien wiU ibe test of tts ha^e i^ 
work? BoyJ 

April 12, ms 

Swuig 0it sntged into the plant this fsimm^ adlit^ ia 
emy one, '^Have you heard the dreadful news^ President Roose- 
velt just died." The word sped through ail depa^^eiits in hiish^d 
voices. No one had actually heard the announcement— some one 
had told them. It came by way of the grapevine; yet, accustomed 
as we were to all kinds of rumors, we felt instinctively that such a 
thing would not be started unless it were true. 

All during the past campaign and election, there had been 
heated arguments for and against Roosevelt. There are Republi- 
cans and Democrats in every department. However, as the word 
spread of Roosevelt's death, there were no wjsec^cks* N^^ 
ing the cruel, link&id wishes i^t li^ Woidi lie, that that waS ^ 
only way we would ever hstve a ffee peoftle i^gamu No repeattog 
i^t the^ "w^ vm hist If Tiioman ever had to ^e ovei^ Notlna^ 
but a hushed silence tltat made the noises of the plant more 

Leaving the building at 3:30, the loud speaker was giving us 


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the news. "It is with deep regret and sorrow that we announce the 
death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt." That was all. Over 
and over again it was repeated as more ^d xnore workers swarmed 

out of the many buildings. 

They paused to hear the words, then walked on with bowed 
heads, through the tunnels into the parking lot, to their cars. 

April 14, mS 

There has been a great deal of speculation as to what would 
happen if Roosevelt died, a great deal of concern and doubt as to 
Truman's ability to carry on. I'm recording here the text of Tru- 
xntaa's Mourning prockma^o^ t^eii from the Apnl 14, 1945 

Wasbingtont April 13 

**Tb •me. ^»ple of the United States: It has pleased 
God in his infinite wisdom to take from us the immortal 
spirit of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the 
United States. 

"The leader of his people in a great war, he lived to see 
tlie a^^iraitce of the vii^toiy but not to ^sxxtt 'vl He Mved to 
see the first foundations or the free and peaceful world to 
which his life was dedicated, but not to enter on that world 

"Hfe feUoW- countrymen will swely miss his fortitude 
and faith and courage in the time to come. 

"The peoples of the earth who love the way^ of freedom 
and hope will mourn him. 

"But though his voice is silent, his courage is not spent, 
his faith is liot extkgttii^ed. The courj^e of great men out- 
lives them to become the courage of their people and the peo- 
ples of the world. It lives beyond them and upholds their pur- 
poses and brings their hopes to task. 

**Now, therefore, I, Harry Truman, Prisddeht of the 
United States of America, do appoint Saturday next, April 14, 
the day of the funeral service for the dead President, as a day 
of mourning and prayer throughout the United States. I 
earnestly recommend the people to assemble on that day in 
their respective places of divine worship, there to bOW down 
in submission to the will of Almighty God, and to p^y out of 


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full hearts their homage of love and reverence to memoiy 
of the great and good man whose death they mourn. 

"In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and 
caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. 

"Done at the city of Washit^on, the 13th day of Aprils 
in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and 
forty-five, and of the independence of the United States, the 
one hundred and sixty-ninth. 

Signed, Harry Si TlcOMM^ 

Here are a few headlines from the same paper: 
"Vienna Falls; Russ Capture 130,000 Nazis" 
"Allied Flyers Smash Japs' Suicide Corps" 
"Yanks Nearly Cut Germany In Half" 
"Truman Assures World on War Aims" 
"Roosevelt's Body Begins Journey To Washington" 

Yesterday was V.E. pay. Victory in Eiin^., The w&M 
ioolts bn^h^i; today, Eveijoii^ Is exdted vtMi mtidfSL^m, ll^ 
auditors hxve moved ttm 2^ josepimtkmf asdsfeuit, dir taiMtt 
I am hers. Personally, I feel like a fat, squatty Pekinese dog tag- 
ging along behind a thoroughbred blood hound as we chase down 
the origin of each part. We take the number of the part from our 
bin box, the assembly it goes on, and a sample part. Then we go 
out on the line, and find how many parts they have in process 
and how many completed assemblies. 

We take Lonnie, or Elmer, or Jean— whoever happens to be 
Leadman on that particular job, so they can show us where the 
assembly is on the plaiie. 

Softie ajre m l^e cockpit, some iii ttle bomb bay room, and 
some In ikt taMQ smm. We haire to f m em krieiss mA 

crawl under the plane to get Iodide cma% secdioiis. Theii^ of 
contse, we to get badt ^t dhe same way. It's 9 g^diod iliii^ we 
have to wear pants. 

After we have located all available parts, we count what we 
have in our bin and what's in overstock. The entire amount is 
then added to the number of the next ship to be installed, and that 


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gives lis oiir "sBf^shoft*^ la o^er wofds, tiie mm&itt of Gtst 
tMp that be ixritttont Hm fMU^cukr pm. 

We found several funny errors, but I think the hose was t&e 
funniest. We checked the male hose first and found them a 
hundred ships short. Then we checked the female hose and found 
them three hundred ships over. Josephine looked at me inquir- 
ingly, "Do you suppose the females multiplied?" she asked. "No, 
I think not," I answered, "I think when we check them over care- 
fully we'll find some of the males in the wrong box." 

May 29, 294S 

Ernestine and Ruth are helping invoice R.P.28A. I glanced 
up there today and saw them laughing hysterically. Finally Er- 
nestine caiiie down to R.P.26A, *% ttuiik I have heard you say you 
were going nuC¥/*die gasped befKr^ giggles, **Hdw what do you 

She placed two sacks ^ the eoanter, bot& marked 100 pieces. 
Oiie sack was about twenty times as large as the other, *'T5iey both 
C£uaie out of the same bin," she explained, "and we have been four 
hours counting the little sacks before we aoticed the big ones 
were also marked 100 pieces." 

"How'd you ever happen to open the big ones?" I asked, 
looking in both bags. When I saw what was in the big one, I, too, 
got hysterical. We laughed until one of the Leadmen saw us and 
came over. 

"What's going on.'" he asked. 

Emesatme calmed down long enough to explain. "Either some* 
mpGrntt cmm% or we cmiV B^ath M to hel^, "M ^ere are 
l QO |Heoes la these Ittie sacl^ th^ jitiist be a tii<^iisa{id or more in 
those.'* Bo tl^ tpemd iim laige one audi found l6(} of the |mrts 
that belonged in the bin, att |»r^perly stamped with the right num- 
ber. They had been counting 100 tiny round micardo discs. 

The Leadman looked disgusted. "I'll bet you don't even know 
what you were sacking," he snapped. 

Ernestine admitted she didn't. 

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nut. That's the hole that was pushed out when the part was nui^ 
It should have been discarded in building four. It should neater 
have been in a stockroom." 

Ernestine and I still think it's funny. 

June 14, mS 

Albert handed me my transfer to building one, department 
385E. It read: "Production Control Dispatcher. $1.10 pr hour." 

"You can run over some time this afternoon and look it over," 
hb said. (A lot of good that will do me.) 

I am to wcidc put «»f B^P.&. Idii, an A. stock dexlCt jteeeivied 
me Hke i liKig Ibst aster. She is a very chasdni^ p^csoo* 1^ 
feddi^ brown haiff oit fatii^ short and curled about ler eai& She 
has a deep dimple in her ielc dieek- She calls it her manufactured 
dimple. I'll have to lettfti more ^out that. Wonder what I'd look 
like with a dimple? 

June IS, 1945 

Albert checked out today. One of many to check out. 

June 21, 1945 

We sure had some excitement this morning. Two big guards 
came stalking into the department, and escorted Jerry out, Jerry 
is quite a character. We have been expecting something to happen 
to her, but no matter how much you are prepared, you're always 
shocked when it does happen. Jerry is almost as large as the guards. 
Her bleached blond hair was cut short Wke a man's and didn't 
look though it would recognize a comb if it were inerodueed. 
Of t^urse rumors flew. all kndw Jerry is a ^^esdca?. She (A 
hei$elf «i fjroleisional. It Seems ^e had a %h^ ksst w^i^ 0k- 
liquored ths^ tmtsmgj, and came to work. She m^t the ty^ 
aiiyooe caii hide uti4<er a cctunter imiil she spbefs up. 

June 28, 1945 

I ran into Angee in R.P.821 this morning. I found her all 
in a dither because they had put her in a stockroom with 


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another A stock clerk. She was resented. Same old story, |^ 
house big enough for two families. I am saved that trouble so 
far by being termed a dispatcher. Ida is an A stock clerk. She 
seems quite happy because I can do whatever she asks me to. 
However, an A stock clerk was let out when I was transferred. 
We hardly know what is best for us to do. Should those of us 
who do not have to work, quit? Or are they laying off the 
sliirkers and are wc needed more than ever? Well, surely it 
be irin^ l^ag^r nom 
gm Raised at mmti femt<^f* She*s not: feeling so good 
to^iafi She tretit 10 Lost i4i,0O h^^sg ^ ym, md 

|22iO0^ bettiiif 10 show. $2.00 wmmfw^mitfL 

June 30, mS 

Wi%i;fmtsx^t^hm ^ i^initfoday', The Idijfef jtm 1$^ik 
here ijie taid: yon fadm "Siwlaf sh^ sent tubes to overstock, 
and dated the entry two days previp]:i& That led me to beHeve the 
ones received today had not been entered. To be siiK^ of course, 
I had to take inventory from ship installation to stock room. The 
Leadman on production told me they were stored in R. P. 813 
after being completed. I went to 813. There was no stock girl 
there, so I started counting them. They were two inches in 
diameter and stacked two feet across and three feet high. I was 
looking at the ends of them. The rows were crooked and I was 
having trouble counting them when a man stepped up to me and 
^iid, "Why 4Qft*t you take the ship-^hoxf ftoBt the \m ea^d;^■' 
He was d ^eait-p]|» iniddl^ leUow willt Iron gray hair, steel 
^es, and t ^y^ssmtrnM^^ had no idea whetihef he vm Gmeeal 
Hoosit, the FJBX^^^ the dc^-up man. "You otn't trust a bin 
card!" I stated emphatically. 

His eyes flashed and his mouth became a tight straight line. 
He looked mad enough to slap me. "Where'is the stock girl?" I 

"I'm the stock girl!" he announced. 
I had to talk fiast to get out of that one. 


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July S, 1945 

Betty, beautiful as ever, still smelling of roses, slid through 
the wire gate into our stock room. 

"Imagine meeting you here," I joked, "after a year or two 
or a hundred.** 

"You're just the gal loQldng for. I have good news." She 
smiled, and l^tmxes^ and donl>t slipped 

away, andi I Jemeidbeft^ t^^^ list day (or night) I saw herw I 
diinlrl shall alwajfs Jtemaonbtac h(^M she caate down lliie aisle from 
the supervisor's desk vk her purple slack suit, yellow blouse, and 
bobby SOX, and a yellow rose in her hair. To me she was and will 
remain a breath of clean fresh air in an otherwise air-conditioned 
universe— the promise of spring in the midde of a desolate winter. 
It was January of 1943. Was there ever a more desolate, more 
desperate, more precarious time? I relived the scene in a flash. 
Betty had introduced Martha and me to Bill, the B-Lead man on 
the skinning jigs— Bill, with his tight ringlet hair turning gray pre- 
maturely; Bill, who showed us how to put the skin on the bomb- 
ers, and told us we were to be called '*S|dnfieiSi** 

Where is Bill now.' The last I h<^d was in the IMUies. 
And, forth»t malEei^ whefte is Maii^ tod where are her lour 

Betty's voice brought 3^e back to the present. Her eyes were 
twinkling. "You want to go home?" she asked. Those were the 
words I had been waiting for. She turned to Willie, the shortage 
man. "You watch the window," she ordered, "Mable is going 
with me." 

I smiled to myself as I remembered writing in my diary, "I 
think the real supervisor of our department is Betty." She is 
handling this checking out as though it were her own idea, getting 
the war over efficiently with no one left over. She has truly proven 
wrong the old saying, "Beautiful but dttmb/' 

I Was bursting with questioiisi is we wstli^ down the noisy 
to the pMce^ **Whexe h 0$yid ^Wl'* was ^e first m/t. She 
iam^y hadn't $ien Ihita for over a year« I wittched her fa^ 


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for a sign of grief or disappointment. She was all smiles. "And the 
tiice young chap wii^: hung over youf desk between ^iift?*' 
shemughed, n inained Mm*" 

1 sat ott 1 bmdi m tibe tj&oe yest^ola^ Wlille iiifee^ people 
Wet^ being interviewed. Then I was asked a few questions dxid 
was told they would notify me. I went back to the stock room. 
As yet I wasn't laid off. This "lay-off" rumor is getting to be a 
joke. We've been hearing it for weeks. The gates are going to 
close! The company will have hundreds of planes on hand! The 
government itself will be broke! Our war bonds will be worthless! 

I really wonder how many employees are being let out each 
day. Everyone is bumping or being bumped. The little fellow 
widi the least seniority is terminated. More and more A-Letds 
are becoming B>Leads» JB^|^ead§ are becdsnoii^ OLeads, and 
C-Leads are going to wotk 

July 13, mS 

The loud speaker blasted out today that production on the 
bomber is to be halted immediately. Three thousand employees 
are being let out. Paradoxically, it announced that two other 
plants are in desperate need of more employees. Rumor has it 
that the B-17 is obsolete. Can you imagine that? One of the na- 
tion's outstanding war planes. It was a major instrument of the 
bombing of Germany into defeat. Obsolete. Again the rumor: 
other plants discontinued the B-17 some time ago to concentrate 
on the larger 8*29. 

July 27, ^'^iiLSJ 

The plant is fem©v£e^ i^ Cdmqufiiige vll^^ 0om 
the mock village oiia tx»p of tibe to^ifs cif 1^ b iad a)bro$s 

the streets. The apartments, roads^ ti!e^ and shrabs are disappeaf- 
ing as if by magic. There will be no more jokes aboiit renting an 
apartment on the roof to be close to work. No more sending new 
employees to the office for rental agreements* 


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August 8 ,t i W 

News of Russu declaring war via tlie j^pevine. Then the 
loud speaker declaring, "Pr^d^t Truman announced 'Russia de- 
clares war on Japan.' " Everyone took it calmly. You'd never 
know from the appearances of the workers that we had been 
tense over Russia for a long time— that there had been much 
speculation as to how long it would take to finish us if Russia 
joined with Germany and Japan. 

Public speakers were prophesying, "Watch Russia. As Russia 
goes, so goes the war.*^ We were watching Russia. But Hitler over- 
stepped when lie tangled wMi Slsdin. Russia is on our dde lof ^ 
presem; I wonder how long? 

August 14, 194$ 

The war :i$ dV<^, The wat is oVir. ^EIm^ w»r is over« t jumped 
out ol nty^^hait'^lii-ti^" mt tocbiy iiifc<»it oli^e ^oe^ stoie^ 
Mi& Eden shouted «t iiie before my feet Mt i^ gniimd* ^^e war 
is over," she yelled, "The war is over— The war is over." 

She grabbed me and we danced around aud round singing, 
"The war is over— The war is over— The war is over." Then I 
remembered all the rumors of the past. "How do you know?" I 

"President Truman just announced it over the radio; I heard 


I rushed to the phone and called the plant. I got our depart- 
ment "The war is over," I shouted. "The war is over." Just like 

The evening paper says **Two^y holiday for all phmt 

August 11 y 1945 

I returned to work at seven A.M. The loud speaker kept 
repeating "Instructions are on your time card. Read them care- 
fully. If you do not understand them, see your Supervisor." 

On my notice it said, "We regret to inform you that due to 
the necessity for a reduction in the number of employees in your 


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job classification, you will be subject to layoff at the close of your 
shift on Friday, August 17th, 1945." And, this is August 17, 1945. 

If they only knew how happy it made so many of us. You 
could see it on every one's face. Men and women were pushing 
here and there through the streets between the buildings and in the 
aisles inside. They were laughing and joking, recalling the fun they 
had had together and promising to meet each other again. "We'll 
never forget," they were saying, "We'll never forget." 

Men and women were lined up at all department offices wait- 
ing their termituiic^ 1 met Dotty, who ws^ idso a pfodiftiQiaoii 
contrd dispatcher, luid we uiibled over i& Biuiding One wlt^ 
our offiice Wtim tibeie wt vtett mit to BnilcBt]^ Twdirti to 
check 6ttr baidges, idb:itS|^|i6ii cardSi ^mI icoolsi 

Several desks were set tip in the big open space that had for- 
merly been B-17 fuselages, so we had no waiting. Then we walked 
out on the flight ramp, and took a last look at the row of planes. 
We snooped around the huge new transport that had just been 
completed. The first one off the line. Then back to building two, 
past the last stock rooms I had supervision of. Two girls were 
counting parts. One of them was Ernestine, the girl who had ob- 
jected to taking my stock room away from me so long ago. 

"Hi, Democrat!" I waved to her. 

She wavedf ba^ yoiirs^, Repuhlicaii!!* $lie ariswefed» 

She tm!^ had imiei^Qod why AffisNSit tmd tier my 
stock footn, in^ttoii as fm wai a^ E^pcibiicaii i^d so was t and 
she was ft Democrat* l^hom were Hectic dayi^ last Kovember, but 
politics really had nothing to do with my transfer. 

As I paused at the wire gate, I saw myself that first day in 
Building Two. I was perched on top of the ladder where I wasn't 
supposed to be, checking a small assembly, when the A-Lead 
swung through the gate, and said, "Mable, can you check a part 
from ship to stockroom?" 

"I guess I can," I had hesitated. It was a new building, a new 
ship, new stock room, new stock, and new personnel. But what 
the heck? 

**Well, it's a good thing you can," he aimomce4 **b«SiUse 
yam tiave charge of ILPv 123 and 125/' 


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And now it is over; 

Dotty and I sauntered over toward jBliiii^^ng Kkie wh<ere M-^ 
visions were roped off according to departments. A huge AJLCLD* 
etc. hung on round signs under which were listed our department 
number. Department 385 was under B. It was a small line, perhaps 
fifty people ahead of us. Many lines were five or six times as long. 

We were handed two checks as we gave the girl our time 
card. One was for last week, the other for three days this week. 
We had Wednesday and Thursday as holidays without pay. 

We strolled on through the tunnel for the last time, shaking 
liaodis iutld l>!dding t9&ymt goodbye. There was somethii^ 
X9^er sad idNwt^t^ minxttes-saying a final goodbye to 

fximds whb were j^ing fo scatter to til ends of liie «ar^ The 
farmers back tO ^eir Mehiaska or Kaiisas faftm^ m^diapts bai^ 
to a little Iowa or Dakota town to realize their dream of a SQlall 
business of their own; dairymen back to their cows; milliners back 
to their hats; even the housewives, back to their perpetual sink of 
dirty dishes. 

Now it is 1949. Six years from my entrance into a war plant. 
We women are all six years older. Six years doesn't mean much to 
those who were twenty to thirty years old then, but where is the 
woman past seventy who sat daily at the electric wire spool 
measofing and cutting accurately the wires that went on the in- 
strument board of tixet B-17? Where are the women past fifty and 
sixt^^ Wni they, if another war devd^is^ be able to cstrry im 
again? Or will they sit badrand let those who were too yo^ng to 
work Iti World War Two caxfy the bt^Efd^ 

I can answer only for myself itid these widt whotn I have 
kept in contact. It is like the answer that our boys are giving. 
"God deliver us from ever having to, but, if there is danger of 
losing our freedom, our privilege of deciding for ourselves 
whether we pull the cart or ride and let our feet drag, then you 
will find the American women once again surging earnestly across 
the parking lots, through the tunnels and gates into another fight 
for freedom." 


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