Saturday, January 02, 2016

1915-2015. Rest in Peace Grammy

At 100 years young, Grammy T died on December 24, 2015 after a fall in her home. Earlier, she had been outside gardening and clearing yard clippings with her wheelbarrow. 

Grammy and me and my bro walking a 5k - she won the 90+ age group.

Grammy was a "Rosie the Riveter" during WWII. Here's her version of events, I'd transcribed it for her big birthday party last spring:

I worked at Armstrong’s Cork Company. It turned into an armor factory. I first worked riveting lights onto the wingtips of B-29s. That was shift work. I worked 11-7, 7-3, 3-11.

When I was riveting, I had to wear pants because I had to crawl into the airplane wing. That was really when women started wearing pants. There was no uniform. You had to buy your own slacks. Most everyone wore dark blue denim-like clothes. We all wore the same kind of outfit because there really wasn’t much else to buy. There were shortages and maybe there was only one brand of women’s pants. Women had never worn pants before, no one manufactured them.

I wore low heeled shoes. People didn’t have sneakers then.

We had to tie up our hair. I held the rivet in place with a bucking bar, really hard from inside the wing, while the girl outside used the rivet gun. I was smaller, and I was better at getting in the wing, so that’s why I did the bucking bar.

Everything had to be flush and smooth and go in straight otherwise the light would not stay put. And everything had to be inspected. There was one light at the very end of the wing tip and then two underneath. The one on the end by the wingtip was the hardest. It was the hardest because the one who held the bucking bar had to really hold it tight while the other person used the gun so that the light would stay in there and not wobble.

There were two men at the wingtip next to us. The one evidently didn’t sleep during the day because we’d watch him and he’d be dropping off. We always thought whomever was flying that plane would lose a light.

I can’t remember my partner’s name. She was a red-head, auburn hair. Very good looking and athletic. She was married and had a child. She hated to see me go, but my next job was much better than shift work. I didn’t mind shift work, but your grandpa was working day work so it was much better that we had the same shift.

And then I went and worked for the Navy, and this is terrible when I think about it, I went to work for the Navy inspecting 44mm shells. They had to be inspected so when they didn’t misfire or anything.

Other Posts about Grammy:

March 18, 2007: Birthday Interview with a Grammy

June 5, 2007: Grammy-san and the Art of Gracious Conversation

June 18, 2007: Oh Right, I think I Saw Them Waiting in the 'Don't Tell My Sister This' Ward

September 25, 2007: My Grammy Loves Me Series

October 1, 2007: Fireside Chats with Grampy T about the War

October 3, 2007: Grammy Lived through the Great Depression

October 10, 2007: Titans of Grammy, Touché

January, 2008: Why Brung Ya

June 29, 2009: Adventures in Why I Need a New Car

July 18, 2009: Favorite Things When You are 96 Years Old

November 25, 2014: Enjoying Thanksgiving Afterglow in a Good Pair of Pants

December 25, 2015: Under the Dining Room Table at Grammy's

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