Tuesday, 05 March 2019 20:25

IWD 2019: My Mother Margie & Rosie the Riveter

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IWD 2019: My Mother Margie & Rosie the Riveter

My Mother Margie & Rosie the Riveter

by Joan Jobe Smith

In 1942, my mother Margie age 22 in World War 2

moved to Long Beach, California to work as a Rosie

the Riveter at Douglas Aircraft factory and though she

had been a hard-working farm girl in Dust Bowl Texas,

helped nanny her two baby siblings, carrying them when

she was 6 on her hips, had milked cows, picked cotton

and worked as a waitress since age 13, working in that

factory bending, twisting, lifting, grasping steel tools to

make 100s, 1000s of airplanes to fly away to bomb our

enemies, pushing and pulling overhead cranes with her

bare hands hurt her bones and even though she got paid

good wages, overtime and double time earning enough

to pay rent with 4 days’ pay and got vacation pay, too,

and restful coffee breaks and free bus rides, my mother

had to quit, the job just too hard even though years later

when my father left the Army and they bought a house

and she painted it and wallpapered it herself, mowed the

lawns herself every week, lay down floor tile in the den,

doing the jobs of 5 men, the blisters on her hands and

feet, those wrist and ankle and hip pains when she was a

Rosie the Riveter the worst she ever got in her life—oh,

and even that bandana she had to wear so tight to protect

her long black hair gave her a migraine and then in 1952

when she saw again that WW2 poster of Rosie the Riveter,

Rosie holding up her big hard bicep and fist, my mother, as

she sat in a comfy chair, smoking half of her once-a-day

cigarette with a hand the size of a pink half-blooming rose,

her white bicep soft as meringue, smiled and said, Oh, those

Rosie the Riveters, such tough brave ladies. Without those

women’s biceps and fists we might never have won the war.

Read 459 times Last modified on Thursday, 14 March 2019 22:44
Joan Jobe Smith Voss

Joan Jobe Smith's poetry was recently published in SCHIZZO; she last read in UK in 2017 at the Hull Literature Festival.