Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rosie the Riviter Died

Rosie the Riviter died on May 20, 2009 at the age of 90 years and 14 days.

At the time of her death she looked beautiful and no older than her early sixties. She had gorgeous thick black hair, alabaster skin, manicured nails, perfect make-up and a brilliant smile. She was classy, intelligent, and full of life. She loved gambling and went to the casino often. She was a winner in every way.

About two years ago my dear Aunt Hazel and I began talking about her younger days. She told me for the first time about her experiences during World War II. Her story included the hardships the American people endured for the good of the country, including rationing and doing without many things we wouldn't sacrifice these days. Her husband, Art, was called to duty. He was gone for three years.

The most interesting part of the conversation was about her time as a Rosie the Riviter at an aircraft facility in California. One of her co-workers was a shy young woman with dark hair named Norma Jean Baker. We would recognize her as Marilyn Monroe. Hazel said some journalists and photographers came to the factory one day. Their boss noticed that the young woman named Norma Jean was quite photogenic. Not long after that day Norma Jean was gone and her career beginning as a model named Marilyn began.

Aunt Hazel and I decided we would work together on a novel or memoir about her experiences. We talked and shared. She was a member of the Oklahoma and American Association of Rosie the Riviters. Her story was published in a newsletter.

I have my notes, some photos, and other things to work on some sort of story or memoir. She was going to be my reader and check my words for accuracy. But, I no longer have my Aunt Hazel. My own Rosie the Riviter.

I guess I thought she would live forever.

I will write her story one day. It's too soon at this time.

Rest in Peace, Aunt Hazel.