Thursday, March 5, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Bay Area ‘Rosie the Riveters’ honored

rosie1W

Phyllis Gould, 92, center; her sister Marian Sousa, left; and Agnes Moore, 94, visit the White House for Thursday's ceremony. AP photo

By
From page A7 | April 06, 2014 |

By Carolyn Lochhead

WASHINGTON — Applying for a welding job at the Richmond shipyard during World War II, Agnes Moore dressed in her best black suit, with matching kid gloves, patent leather shoes and a hat with a veil.

She declined an office job. “I want to be a welder,” she said, and soon she was wearing leather overalls, a leather jacket, metal-toe boots and a bandanna to hold back her hair.

Moore, 94, of Walnut Creek, along with five other Bay Area women who were among the first to break the gender barrier in the American workplace, were honored by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, and five other members of the Bay Area delegation Thursday at Pelosi’s Capitol office, following breakfast with Vice President Joe Biden and a meeting with President Obama on Monday.

Phyllis Gould, 92, of Fairfax, who worked as a journeyman welder, instigated the visit by 12 years of writing to four presidents, and finally, in her last letter, to Biden, seeking recognition for the women who kept heavy industry running when the men left to fight in World War II.

Gould said the sign at the union hiring hall at the time said, “No women and no blacks.” She persisted and became a Navy-certified welder, a job unthinkable for women of her era.

“The reason I was writing was because this whole country has monuments to the contribution of military veterans, but nothing about us,” Gould said.

She and her friends, volunteers at the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, are all in their late 80s and early 90s. “Our time is limited,” Gould said. “We won’t be here in 10 years, so I just was persistent.”

Marian Sousa, 88, of El Sobrante, Gould’s sister, took a drawing class at UC Berkeley and became a blueprint draftsman. Priscilla Elder, 93, of Pinole became an electrician, Kay Morrison, 90, of Fairfield, a journeyman welder, and Marian Wynn, 87, of Fairfield, a pipe welder.

Wynn came to Richmond on a Greyhound bus from Minnesota, one of 11 children, to help her father support the family. He earned $69 a month at the Works Progress Administration.

“I had a job,” Wynn said. “I had money.”

At the shipyard she earned $1 an hour, twice what she earned in seasonal work at a cannery back home. She worked every weekend she could get, making $1.50 an hour on Saturdays and $2 an hour on Sundays.

Poor children were teased at school, Wynn said. “It leaves an impression,” she said. “To this day, I’m self-conscious.”

But this week, she said, “this little girl who only had two dresses to wear to school, here I am going to the White House. It’s unbelievable.”

During the ceremony, Garamendi thanked the women, and others like them, for more than the role they played during the war.

“You sacrificed enormously and your work propelled this nation a major step toward justice,” he said. “I will continue to fight for a basic principle that you made amply clear: Women deserve equal pay for equal work.”

Morrison, a native Californian born in Chico, said she could weld “anywhere, any place.” The work liberated women from the home, she said, and “got us out in the world.”

She went on to raise a family and have a 30-year career at Bank of America, where she rose from safe deposit clerk to bank manager.

Morrison enjoyed a moment in the national spotlight Monday when she kissed Obama on the lips at their White House meeting.

“It think it was fine,” she said, her eyes sparkling. “It was good for me.”

— Reach Carolyn Lochhead at [email protected]

Comments

comments

San Francisco Chronicle

.

News

Mother pleads not guilty to lesser charges in baby’s death

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
‘The Liar’ will have audiences in stitches

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Hibbert Lumber honored as an Owl Wise Leader

By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Bob Dunning: Is there a fair way out of this?

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Boots help dogs deal with cold

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
High court hears Obamacare arguments

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Get crackin’ for Yolo Crisis Nursery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Taizé service set Friday at DCC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Climate Lobby will meet March 11

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Be featured in Woodland’s water-wise landscape tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

UFC speaker series gives ‘A Winemaker’s Journey’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Speaker will illuminate universe’s dark side

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Fiesta dinner, auction benefit Chávez School

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

World Language Fair brings nations to Davis

By Krystal Lau | From Page: A3

 
Divorce options covered in Saturday workshop

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Author events coming up at The Avid Reader

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Community forum with police will address hate in Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

.

Forum

No real reason to stay

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Drought stresses California’s trees

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
Initiative carnival coming next year

By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

Hunting has many benefits

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
This river needs our help

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Vernal pools are in danger

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Migratory waterfowl threatened

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Dog in shopping cart concerning

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

Blue Devil boys mash Marauders

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devils’ big inning is the difference in baseball opener

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS golfers dominate Elk Grove

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Davis softball offense explodes for first win

By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS boys track team has high aspirations

By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
San Antonio enjoys home cooking to rout Sacramento

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Youth roundup: U15 Knights rout El Dorado Hills

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Youth soccer: Barker lights it up for Blue Thunder

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Sports briefs: DHS swimmers speed past Herd

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

DHS sophomore honored for volunteerism

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5

 
.

Arts

 
UC Davis bands perform on March 11

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

Wealth of Nations plays Saturday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
‘Witness for the Prosecution’ to be screened Sunday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Hear EZ Street Saturday at winery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Resler releases memoir, ‘The Last Protégée’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Athens Guitar Duo to perform at Davis Arts Center

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, March 5, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B6