Sunday, January 22, 2012


I blame my mother.

Any lingering doubts I'd had about going to work in the Boeing factory were squashed last week like a cigarette butt under the heel of one of her peep-toed shoes.

I'd been feeling at loose ends for weeks, rattling around the bungalow waiting for a letter from Bob and wringing my hands over the bad news that seems to fall endlessly on our heads like January rain. I tried to fill up my time reading (I'm halfway through Raymond Chandler's "The High Window," which is wonderful), civil-defense classes and housework. But I don't have much of a head for enemy-aircraft identification - it's a good thing I'm not running the Army or we'd be accidentally shooting down our own planes faster than the Japanese ever could. And there are only so many times you can wax the floor.

I've never had a job in my life. I know nothing about airplanes (see above) and haven't the faintest idea how riveting is done. Our flyboys might be a whole lot safer going up in ships built by people other than me. But I just can't take sitting around waiting for events to happen. The Japanese took away my husband and all my plans for our future, so it's time I made new ones.

When I told my mother about my intention to sign up at the new vocational school here, she completely blew up. She carried on and on about how I'd disappointed her no end by dropping out of college to marry a lowly architect. How she raised me to be a "lady." How dirtying my hands in some noisy, smelly factory alongside noisy, smelly factory workers would destroy my (or is it "her?") reputation forever.

Well, that's it. The Japanese may be dictating what I do, but not Mother. I'm going to do my bit for the war effort no matter what anyone says. If Bob can put his life on the line for freedom, I can put myself on the factory line for him and the rest of our brave men.

It helps tremendously that my friends from the neighborhood are with me. We're enrolling in the trade school together for company and moral support. I never would have guessed two months ago that four girls as different from one another as we are would become friends, but I'm sure glad of it.

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