Saturday, January 06, 2007

Women Recruited for Work During World War II.

When My husband was drafted into the Marine Air Corps During World War II, we lived in a small house in a small Georgia Mill town near my husband's parents.
Every morning I dressed my two children, and we walked to the Post Office where I mailed the long letter I had written to my husband the night before. Then I picked up any mail I had as well as the mail for my parents-in-law. The Post Office was also had, what could be called "the Company Store" of grand-ol'-opry fame! I purchased any grocery item I or my mother-in-law needed. We had ration books and were limited in the amount of staples we could purchase.

On the way back home, I stopped at the home of my husband's parents for a brief visit and to give them any mail or information I had from their son or about the war.

They had another son, Grady, who was a tail bomber for the Air Force in the European Theater. We were all "at war." Our hearts and prayers were with "our boys" in service and with the few women who were also serving as WACs or WAVEs. Women were not drafted, but many joined to serve in one of the Women's Corps.

Calloway Mills was making cloth for the growing needs of our defense troops in Europe as well as in the South Pacific, and soon cotton looms were running 24 hours a day to make tents and uniforms for the soldiers.

With so many men away in the Army, Navy, Marines or Coast Guard, Calloway Mills began to recruit more women workers. Then they noted that in order to make it possible for able-bodied women to work , child care was needed.

One day, a Calloway official came to me and asked if I would take a job supervising the night shift of the Children's Nursery they were establishing. When they were looking around to find someone, they told me, it had been noticed how I cared for my two little children and would likely be good for that position.

Calloway Mills, under the direction of a "Nursery Expert" had taken one the the large houses in the community, gutted it and rebuilt it with play and sleeping areas for children in the community.

I accepted the job and the salary each month -- perhaps the only easy money I ever made. Each night, I bathed and got my two little girls into their pajamas and we walked the short (about a quarter of a mile) distance to the nursery. My children and the few other children who came were put to bed soon after their arrival on this night shift.
The Nursery stayed open less than a year. This kind of public "Child Care" was new to our generation. Most of the young women who needed child care while working for Calloway had a mother or an aunt to take over in their absence from home.


Carol said...

Aha! This is another story I don't recall ever hearing before! Thanks SO much for writing these stories. This is absolutely fascinating for me to read about your life as a child and a young girl, wife, mother. However, don't stop there. Tell us about later times, too - living in Griffin, Ellijay, Rome, etc.

janice said...

I love this story, mother, and don't recall hearing about this before, either. Fascinating! I am NOT at all surprised that everyone thought you were a good mother. You were and are! We are so incredibly blessed!!