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Rosie the Riveter

Last night I gave my Rosie the Riveter PowerPoint speech to a terrific audience. Marilyn Hindenlang brought the Certification of Commendation that the Navy awarded to her mother when she worked at Grumman. Her mother’s name–I. F. Norton –is on the certificate and she received it on September 2, 1945 (my first birthday!). The “I” is for Irene and the F is for Florence. Norton was her married name; she started work with her original last name–Kacinski. Thank you to Marilyn for sharing this important document; workers at only 5% of all defense factories earned this commendation. Her husband kindly scanned it and made a pdf file and a copy for me. During the Q & A, a feisty woman said that didn’t like the fact that “Rosie the Riveter” became the catch-all phrase during the war for women workers. “It was that song,” she said. “It overshadowed the fact that lots of us were doing other things–I operated a lathe machine and then a press and other machines!” At which point, everyone spontaneously applauded her. “Thank you for your service,” someone called out! Yes, thank you. This was my first PowerPoint in which I inserted video clips from WWII propaganda films aimed at recruiting housewives–happily they worked beautifully & added another dimension to the story.

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