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.


...paul said...

I'm sorry to hear of your loss Winona. Never easy, no matter the age; and she obviously meant a lot to you.

Hope you get to write Aunt Hazel's story some day. It sounds as though it will be quite a tale, and will be a wonderful tribute to her.

One of my regrets is that I didn't write about my own Great Aunt Rose. She kept us young'uns amused for hours with her tales from when she worked in the bomb factories here in the war. And now I can no longer remember them.

Thoughts and prayers are with you.

Winona said...

OK, OK--I just realized I spelled "Riveter" incorrectly. My apologies,


Mindy Blanchard said...

Sorry for your loss Nona. Your aunt sounds like a truly amazing woman, and I for one cannot wait to hear more about her story. It'll get written in time. Thanks for sharing with us, love.