\ 11/12/42 - Women in the War BY-WAYS - 11/12/42 - Women in the War - November 5, 1942

This column is going to be but a stump today - for I have spent most of this last afternoon trying to compose a poem called "A Woman Goes to War." But the "tanks" and "destroyers" got out of hand - and the meter was wobbly as a centipede with a wooden leg. The "poem" was about woman's part in the war - and they (the women) are going to have to play a bigger and bigger part before the war is over. Your reporter decided to enlist before she is drafted. You wouldn't believe how many thousands of women are already going to work - or have gone to work - in war plants. Last spring I announced that, a soon as I was able, I was going into a war plant. Well, my sons never let me forget it. Especially Charlie. His father says he (Charlie) will be a good provider - that he will always provide his wife with a job. Two weeks ago I picked out the plant that I have the most faith in - the Warner & Swasey Co., who have already won the Navy "E" and also the Army and Navy "E" for excellence in production. I didn't know whether or not they were hiring women in the factory. I just went down to find out. Yes, they were - definitely. I waited over three hours for my interview. The place was packed. Every type of person - from the cultured and artistic wife of a university professor on down to the humblest negro boy. Imagine my astonishment at seeing the immaculate organist of our church - there in his shirt sleeves. For him that was being shamefully undressed. But he is getting quite a kick out of it. The big poster on the wall shows two mud-spattered soldiers carrying a wounded buddy off the battlefield; one is trying to read a letter from home. He yells to the fellow in front. "They're having a helluva time at home, Joe. Pa can't get new tires for the sport coupe - and the kid brother has to work on the third shift." That poster is a silent but eloquent rebuke to those who would kick at working at night. Well, I've had an awful time proving that I was born. And that is one of the things that they are very strict about. But my good Aunt May out in Colorado - now 88 years old - came to my rescue. A young interviewer (male) tests your spunk and determination; a young woman tests your mental and mechanical ability; a highly-trained personnel manager tests your patience and sincerity; a doctor tests your heart, blood pressure, etc. A policeman takes your fingerprints; a sweet young girl takes your picture. And you're hired.

When you read this, just picture your home-loving and fairly feminine correspondent in the glamorous garb of blue overalls, and a red bandana around her head. The reactions are varied - and interesting. My men folks seem quite thrilled. My favorite response came from the young meat-cutter and salesman de luxe at our local super-market. "David," I beamed across the counter, "I'm going to war." He looked puzzled. "I don't quite get you." (David is really going to camp very soon - although he is his mother's sole support.) "I'm going into a war plant." "Naw! No kiddin'?" "No kidding. Next Monday morning." "Atta girl!" (Imagine) And he leaned across the counter, his brown eyes flashing. "You make the bullets, and I'll shoot 'em."

Yours for victory,
Florence B. Taylor

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