This will be a post that has as much chance of bombing as it does of being worthy. Whatever, I just like to write things down when something moves me. Having an image or event bring up emotion or feeling in me can just as easily place me in a melancholy funk for days. My mind is so fractured these days . . . unable to process much of what I see happening around me.
I stumbled upon a cache of old photographs converted to digital media from Kodachrome slides taken by photographers for the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information. They are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations. I’ll single out two of then that have caused me to feel deeply about the women in my life . . . . all women really.
In my old age, I have developed a real appreciation for women. I could ponder for hours about Eve, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Nell Parks, my mother, my daughter . . . . and most important to me, my wife. Every one of these aforementioned women have a story to tell and have left or are in the process of leaving a legacy of triumph and heartbreak for all who follow. It is plain to me that women are not the “weaker sex” that some say they are. Women are strong in ways most men can only hope for. Some women . . . wives and mothers . . . have had the blessing of not having to work outside the home. They are able to be moms and grandmas full time, building for the future in ways so often unseen by the rest of us. I wish with all my heart that I had taken better care of “business” after Vietnam so that today I could have given my sweet wife of ten years the gift of staying home and raising her 17 year old daughter.
I realize that many women enjoy entering the work force and excel there. I also know that many who are in the trenches every day would rather be home. The reasons that women work are many, and are sometimes compelling. That brings me (finally) to these 2 images of women at work.
This woman is working on a “Vengeance” dive bomber at a plant in Tennessee, February 1943. Look at the nail polish. Why is she working? Patriotism? Children to feed while husband is off to war? No husband? A sense of pride and accomplishment? Did she feel that she had a choice? I don’t know, but I appreciate her effort and would love to know her story.
This group of women workers were employed as wipers in the roundhouse having lunch in their break room, Chicago and Northwest Railway Company, Clinton, Iowa, April 1943. Again, look at them closely . . . . nail polish and bandannas the only visual differences between this lunch table and another seating only men. Where are the men, by the way? Presumably serving in the Pacific or in Europe. These photos are amazing, and they cause a torrent of emotion to hit hard at my consciousness.
I love my wife, and I wish things were different for her. I am also very proud of my modern day warrior as she fights the good fight every work day away from our refuge . . . . the house we helped build together. She may not pack a rivet gun, but she is strong, and brave, and dedicated to her family. Our world is at war, and the enemy is everywhere, and very skilled. The women in our lives are on the front lines more than we men realize. From Mother Eve, to my angel mother, to my mate and partner . . . . thanks so much ladies!