Rosie the Riveter - the Home Front during World War II (Catherine Pitts)
I worked at Fairchild for 19 and a half years. I liked the job. The work was a little hard, but I liked it. It was a very pleasant job really. I had good bosses. I am used to the work I did and I loved it. It was sort of dirty work, but still I liked it. I did riveting and bucking, and bucking is when you put a rivet in on the other side of the metal you have to put a bucking bar there and buck them. I drilled. Also I washed A10 wings down.
Why did you go to Fairchild?
They had an ad in the paper for people to come to work, and that was during the war time, that was in '42. And when I went to work there in '42, that was war time, my husband was in the Navy at the time. I was expecting my first child and my son always says he was a month old when I went to work there. Then I got a leave of absence when he was born and I went back to work after that. My mother-in-law kept the baby, so I went back to work.
Then during the war we had to keep things dark at night time. We had food rationing, that was sugar, coffee, gas, oil for your heaters and a couple of other things but I have forgotten what they were. I was uptown one time and a black out came and there I was in the square with my baby in the buggy. I was scared to death that day. When they made all clear I got home.
What did you do before you worked at Fairchild?
I worked at the Hagerstown Laundry and the Hagerstown Shoe Company. When I saw that in the paper that's where I went. In '42 we only got 75 cents an hour, you couldn't believe it but that's what we got. 75 cents an hour to start. More than we got at the laundry, about 5 or 10 cents more, it was good, and then kept and each time they kept raising the pay. But this last time when I got laid off in '83 I was making pretty good money. They were making the A10s then.
What other planes did you work on at Fairchild?
Oh the C123 and the C119. The cargo plane was one of them, the main one, the C123, the big ones that you could drive cars and stuff like that in to, and that's the one they used during the war too for the troops when they left them off on the beaches.
Were there many women working at Fairchild then?
I don't know. There was more women there than there were men because men was in the service. But I don't know how many, more than hundreds of the women. Then when the men got out of the service they came to work there.
Were the women fired?
They laid some of them off and then the ones that was there if they wanted to stay they could, so I stayed. My husband did, he came to work there.
Was there a union at Fairchild?
There was a Union. And they were pretty good, the union was. You had to join, because if you didn't you'd be out of a job. I knew that. And they said we had to join or in thirty days we'd be out of a job. And so I joined it, and Dave Boyer, no not Dave, Bob, Bob Boyer was my Union steward and he was very nice, very nice guy.
How did you describe the war to your children?
In a way it was scary, cuz, you never know what was going to happen. And now you don't know what is going to happen. Anyhow at the time I was kind of scared but I know that the Lord was with me and that things that went on they had the president would always make his decision with the cabinet or whatever they are. And then I wasn't really scared after that. Because I knew that things would turn out ok.
How about VE or VJ Day?
That was fantastic. They all had a ball, when peace came, up in the Square. I didn't go, but up in the Square they said they had dancing, and jumping around and carrying on.
Washington County Free Library
Aircraft industry--Maryland--Hagerstown--Employees; Fairchild Aircraft Company (Hagerstown, Md.)--History
Western Maryland, 2004