A Rosie the Riveter Takes Aim During Reading Air Show’s WWII Weekend 2013

by Matilda Butler on July 17, 2013

Post #48 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Rosie the Riveter Reenactor

Kendra and I fill orders from our Rosie the Riveter Legacy Gear all year around. Of course, Halloween is our busiest time, but there are so many other reasons and occasions to wear the Rosie bandana, Rosie employment pin and Rosie zipper pull, to sip coffee or tea from our Rosie red and white polka dot mug, to pose in front of our DIY Rosie Poster, etc.

And we sometimes get an email to let us know how our Rosie the Riveter products are used. Last night, I got a wonderful email from Ken C. He purchased our red and white polka dot bandana as a surprise for Celia C. Here’s his note:

Fortunately, I was able to surprise Celia. She didn’t know she was attending [the Reading, Pennsylvania Air Show's WWII Weekend] as a reenactor until we were in the hotel room the night before the event and I gave her all the stuff to wear. I even made a custom ID badge for her. It has her picture and “North American Aviation 1943.”

Celia standing by B-25 Mitchell Yankee Warrior

Celia standing by B-25 Mitchell Yankee Warrior

This was Celia’s first time at Reading and she was worried that no one would know who she was supposed to be. But from the minute she set foot on the airfield she was immediately referred to as “Rosie” by everyone from little kids to WWII veterans.

The group we were with had a Browning machine gun that they allowed her to fire during a demonstration. It was the first time she ever fired a gun (go figure).

Thank you for your assistance in making a great weekend for both of us.

Kendra and I loved the video and thought we’d share it with you. Celia’s expression is priceless.

Thanks Ken for sending us the photo and video and for letting us see one of our Rosie the Riveter bandanas used in a reenactment.


The Real Memorial Day

by kendra on May 30, 2013

Post #47 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

On May 25 -27, Americans celebrated Memorial Day with a three-day long weekend. Memorial Day has become our unofficial start of summer. Backyard barbecues are fired up, retailers tantalize customers with sales, children start counting the days until school is out, and the owners of seasonal businesses pray for warm, sunny weather.

But lest we forget, Memorial Day has far more serious roots. Its origins, while a little cloudy, seem to lie with women in the south spontaneously decorating the graves of their Civil War fallen–hence what was first known as Decoration Day. In 1868, General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, officially proclaimed the day. And on May 30 of that year, they decorated the graves of soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery (both Union and Confederate). Within a few years, states were joining in, honoring all American soldiers who had made the ultimate sacrifice.

By 1882, Memorial Day began to creep into the language although it didn’t become common until after the Second World War. Also in the twentieth century, that remembrance expanded to include the fallen of all American wars. After World War I, President Wilson proclaimed November 11th to be Veterans Day to honor all who have served, reserving Memorial Day for those who gave the “last full measure of devotion,” a phrase that comes to us from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Incidentally, November 11th is significant because in 1918 World War I ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

But our officials were not finished. On May 26, 1966, President Johnson named Waterloo, New York, to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, also making Memorial Day the official name. And the following year, as part of legislation to make several long weekends of Federal holidays, Congress moved the date from May 30th to the last Monday in May…although Waterloo, New York, still celebrates Memorial Day on May 30th.

Not everyone is happy with the decision to move Memorial Day, and from time to time resolutions and petitions are presented in an effort to return Memorial Day to its original date. But these are mostly symbolic efforts.

This year, Danville Paint & Decorating in Danville, California, posted a series of four articles on its Facebook page. Along with a sale of Benjamin Moore paint, the owners DeWayne and Barbara Ryan honored the fallen but also made reference to Rosie the Riveter. You’ll find a couple interesting posts about the role of Rosie serving on the California home front. It’s interesting to note that with World War II coming on the heels of The Great Depression, the gearing up to manufacture planes, boats, vehicles and ammunition is often seen as a Second Gold Rush for the state.

And there’s another interesting tidbit in these posts. Apparently Ryan’s father who had been 4-F and didn’t serve on the front lines signed up to work at the San Diego plant of Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation. There he trained the Rosies to rivet. Vern Ryan, who is now 95, said that among his crew of hard-working women was a team of riveter and bucker who were faster than any other.

This all serves as a reminder. It doesn’t matter if we celebrate with hamburgers on the grill, a beach holiday or a trip to the mall to cash in on bargains…as long as we take a moment to remember the men and women who gave their lives to protect our freedom. And if you want to include a nod to Rosie the Riveter, well that’s okay too. Just as long as you know the real meaning of Memorial Day and never forget.


Rosie the Riveter Bandana on Her Head and a Rosie on Her Arm

by Matilda Butler on February 15, 2013

Post #46 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Rosie Would Be Impressed

For the past few years at work, I have dressed up as Rosie the Riveter during Halloween. It started just as a fun, comfortable, cute costume, but over the past two years it has become more serious to me than that.

As you can see from the picture I have her tattooed on my arm and she symbolizes to me the hard working, beautiful American woman. I got the tattoo to honor all of the Rosie’s out there as well as all of the men and women they supported.

So every year at the office a lot of my co-workers look forward to seeing me dressed up as Rosie especially since I have her authentic bandana. I will continue to dress up as her every year and wear her bandana and her picture on my arm proudly.

— Jennifer Strafford


Modern Rosie the Riveter Wins Music CD

by Matilda Butler on February 11, 2013

Post #45 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Winner Announced for “We Can Do It! - Celebrating Women in WWII” Music CD Giveaway

On January 31, we announced a contest with the prize of a new CD featuring the vintage songs of WWII, performed by military bands. Altissimo Recordings has just released this CD and offered to give a copy to one of our commenters. In announcing the contest, we invited readers to tell us “what you like about Rosie or what you admire about women who worked in WWII or why you like the music of that era.”

We got some really great comments. We wish we had CDs for everyone, but we had to select just one. Our congratulations to Robyn Womac-Fortin. She seems to embody the modern day spirit of Rosie the Riveter. We hope you all agree with our choice. Below is her comment.

Be Sure to Get Your Copy of the CD

You can all be winners when you purchase a copy of this CD. Just click on the image to the left. Amazon lets you sample the songs. Then you can purchase individual ones or even the entire set as MP3 files. Or, if you prefer, you can purchase all 20 songs on CD. Either way, you’re bound to enjoy this nostalgic music.

Winning Comment

Congratulations Robyn…

As a young army wife of an active duty solider it is difficult when my counterpart is sent off to boot camp, then selection, and numerous training schools. At the beginning of 2013, he left for our first deployment.

We live outside the city surrounded by acres of farm land and I am out here all alone save my three dogs. When my husband is gone it always seems like my fortitude is tested with a crazy turn of events. The week he left, our truck broke down and I didn’t have the money to take it in. Instead I watched some YouTube videos and figured out how to replace an alternator on my own and fixed the truck!

Next, coyotes attacked one of my dogs mangling her to the brink of death. In the daytime I tend to her and at night I’m spotlighting to thin out their vicious pack.

When random things break around the house, and trust me they have, it’s on me to fix it. So I roll up my sleeves, give myself a pep talk and say “I can do it!” Last Halloween I bought myself one of your bandanas [through this website] and recently I find myself wearing it when doing yard work and repairs. Like refurbishing the old 1920s tobacco barn on the back of our property. Or sanding down my old doors for a home project.

I know it may sound crazy but when your all alone sometimes you find your strength through things you normally wouldn’t. When I put on that polka-dotted piece of cloth I feel like I have the motivation and will to take on any obstacle. I think back on what it must have been like for all those women to be outta their comfort zone, learning a new trade to help keep our nation functioning and our men alive through all their efforts on the home front.

I have always enjoyed music from past eras, Ella Fitzgerald is my all time favorite singer. If you ask most girls in their 20s today who Ella Fitz is, they most likely have no clue. The music during that era for some reason has always spoken to me. Before my husband left he bought me a going away present, even though he was the one doing the leaving. The present is a replica gramophone that uses no electricity just the acoustic construction of the horn to play music off iPhones! You place your phone in this hole and sound funnels up the base through the neck and is amplified out. It even makes new music sound like an old record.

I would love nothing more than to have the songs of World War II play through my gramophone to help time pass till my husband returns.

–Robyn Womac-Fortin


Give-Away: Music CD Celebrating Women in World War II

by Matilda Butler on January 31, 2013

Post #44 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Leave a Comment and Enter Our Give-Away Contest

After writing the award-winning collective memoir: Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story, Second Edition, Kendra Bonnett and I found that we had fallen in love with Rosie the Riveter and all things Rosie. We even developed a whole product line (red-and-white polka dot bandanas and mugs, Rosie collar pin/employment badge, a polka dot bag with rivets, a Rosie the Riveter cookbook and more) that featured Rosie.

Rosie’s World War II Music Give-Away

Part of the fun of all of this is that we get to meet such interesting people. Of course there are our customers who also love Rosie. We’ve shared some of their stories on this website and have more we’ll continue to share over the coming months. But we also get to meet other people who are interested in Rosie and have products of interest to our readers. One of these is Stacy Flankey. Stacy emailed us a few months ago. Her company, Altissimo Recordings, was working on a music CD with songs from World War II. But it was more than just the period. It was a CD dedicated to Celebrating Women in WWII. How great is that!

Stacy was interested in findings stories about women who worked during WWII. We wrote this up and urged readers to send her stories. We thought that would be the end of it.

But about a week ago, Stacy sent us a pre-release copy of the CD and we fell in love with it. Songs include Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Begin the Beguine, I’ll Be Seeing You, Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree and more — a total of 20 fabulous 40s musical offerings. The music is played/sung by the US Air Force Airmen of Note, US Navy Commodores, US Army Jazz Ambassadors, among others.

When we thanked Stacy, she came up with a great idea. She said that she’d contribute a CD to give away on our website.*

Just Leave a Comment and You Are Automatically Entered In Our Contest

So if you love Rosie the Riveter like we do and enjoy the music of her era, then we invite you to leave us a comment below. Your comment automatically enters you in our contest. Tell us what you like about Rosie the Riveter, or what you admire about the women who worked during WWII, or why you like the music from WWII period. It doesn’t need to be long — just a couple of sentences.

Then on February 10, we’ll choose a winner to receive a free copy of this fabulous CD: We Can Do It! - Celebrating Women in WWII.

Second Edition of Rosie’s Daughters Now Available

It is great fun for us that we get to announce the release of the second edition of our award-winning collective memoir: Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story, Second Edition at the same time that we announce the release of Altissimo’s We Can Do It! - Celebrating Women in WWII.

I conducted the interviews with more than 100 women who were born during World War II, the daughters of the iconic Rosie the Riveter, in 2002. Although the book was initially published in 2007, Kendra and I realized that these women — Rosie’s Daughters — had gone through the decade of their 60s, a period that were just anticipating at the time of the interviews. Now they were already anticipating the decade of their 70s. It was time to revisit them, to look at the experiences of the past decade, and to see what they were anticipating for the next decade of their lives. We were surprised by their responses and decided to share our findings in an all-new chapter in this collective memoir. We think these women’s stories will inspire you as you look forward in your own life, independent of your current age.

If interested, you can order through Amazon or if you would like an autographed copy, you can order directly from us.

We Look Forward to Your Comment and Will Enter You In the WWII Music CD Give-Away

We wish you luck and hope you win. But if you aren’t the lucky one but love this music, be sure to get your copy from Amazon — just click on any of the links in this blog. On Amazon, you’ll see that the music is available on a CD and also as mp3 files. Each song is also available separately. Of course, you can preview each song by clicking here: We Can Do It! - Celebrating Women in WWII.

*Note: We are giving away two copies of this CD. The second copy will be given away on our website featuring memoir writing — Women’s Memoirs. If you like, you are welcome to leave a second comment on that website and you will be entered in that contest as well.


Rosie the Riveter’s Been with Her for Six Years

by Matilda Butler on November 12, 2012

Post #43 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

The post-Halloween time is always fun for us as we begin receiving photos from women who “became” Rosie this year. Here’s a recent one from LaDonna that she sent along with these words:

Your scarf and employment badge MADE my costume.

We thought you’d enjoy her response when we asked for permission to post her photo showing her in the Rosie the Riveter Legacy Bandana and the Rosie Employment Badge/Collar Pin.

Certainly…I don’t mind at all. Rosie has been my constant companion for 6 years…I have her likeness tattooed on my right shoulder! She has inspired me for years.

Thanks for keeping Rosie alive!

Our message to every woman is to indeed “keep Rosie alive.” Her message is one of empowerment and we need to pass on her story and her history. So we say back to LaDonna, “Thank you for showing your inner Rosie all year long and your outer Rosie on Halloween.”


Walking in Rosie the Riveter’s Shoes

by Matilda Butler on November 6, 2012

Post #42 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

This is the year that Kendra and I decided to launch our DIY Rosie the Riveter Kit. At first, we were going to include the large (24″x36″) poster (just waiting for you to pose in front of it), the Rosie the Riveter Legacy red and white polka dot bandana, and our cool Rosie the Riveter Collar Pin (which was actually her employment badge). Nice kit.

But if you follow our blog, you know that we have a hard time saying enough is enough. So we created an authentic Rosie the Riveter Ration Book. This is based on a ration book that my friend
has. She was born during WWII and received the ration book in 1944. Her family kept it for many years and now she has it. She shared it with us so that we could create one — complete with ration coupons — to add to our DIY Rosie the Riveter Kit. We like authenticity and it just doesn’t get any more authentic than this.

But that didn’t seem like enough. So we created a Rosie the Riveter Cookbook — complete with World War II messages and recipes that were used during those years. We tested them to make sure that if you want to have a party and make some authentic dishes, you’d be happy with the results. We had these printed and there is one of these fun cookbooks in each DIY Rosie Kit.

Wait. Wait. Rosie was a riveter. We decided she kept rivets in her pocket — just to be ready. But to make them fun, we put rivets in a red and white polka dot bag. Really great. We tuck one of these bags, complete with rivets, in each DIY Rosie Kit.

And finally, Kendra and I so love our Rosie the Riveter zipper pulls (we wear one on our jackets and vests) that we have added one to the DIY Rosie Kit. It is just like the Rosie Collar Pin except it is a little smaller and has the hook to add to your zipper.

Now we had a Rosie kit that seemed just perfect. But we didn’t know if others would think it was as great as we did. The results are in and the answer is YES. You’ve already seen the poster in some of our previous posts. But today we want to share two photos that just came in from Jaime. Jaime purchased the DIY Rosie Kit for Halloween. Here she is:

We love the message she sent to us.

Jaime A.K.A Rosie

Thank you again for offering this kit. I can’t believe the response I got! I want to be Rosie forever. Now that I walked a day in Rosie’s shoes I feel like I can conquer the world!

I wore this to work, and I think I’ve earned myself a nickname. I’ll bet you $5 I’m called Rosie from now on.

In this second photo, you’ll see Jaime wears her red and white bag with rivets on her belt and has her ration book tucked in her pocket.

Jaime, thanks for sharing the photos with us. We agree with you that you can conquer the world. After all, We Can Do It.


A Budding Activist and Rosie the Riveter

by Matilda Butler on November 3, 2012

Post #41 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

If you were out this Halloween, you just might have seen Rosie the Riveter. She stands for strength, courage and empowerment. We have many women who love her look and her message. They sometimes have to explain who Rosie is, but often friends just complement them on the great costume.

This year, we’re especially delighted with all the young women who want to be Rosie. After all, that really was the point of the slogan we developed: We Can Do It…Pass It On. We want the younger generation to know how much they can do with their lives and the real contribution they can make to society.

So today, we’re sharing the story and photo of Haley, another young Rosie.

This great photo was sent to us by Haley’s mother who wrote:

My 11-year-old budding civil activist daughter spent her own 10 dollars at a fair a few months ago on a ‘We Can Do It’ metal sign. She was already aware of Rosie and had mentioned wanting such a poster. After her purchase she soon decided that was who she wanted to be for Halloween. I’ve attached a picture of her from Halloween night wearing the bandana we got through you. I thought it was such a good picture that I had to share!

Thanks. We think it is a great picture too. And Haley, we know You Can Do It — anything you put your mind to. Thank you for honoring Rosie this Halloween. We think she’d be proud of you.


A Do-It-Yourself Rosie

by Matilda Butler on November 1, 2012

Post #40 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Rosie the Riveter Makes a New Appearance
It was just about a year ago when Kendra and I looked back at our 2011 Halloween season. We sell our Rosie the Riveter bandanas all year long, but have a real rush in the two months leading up to Halloween.

When we reflected on the requests that we got for a Rosie the Riveter Collar Pin and saw the number of photos where the famous Rosie poster had been drawn on white boards and card board, we decided it was time to expand our offerings.

Making an official Rosie the Riveter poster — minus Rosie — wasn’t the easiest task because we wanted the highest quality and accuracy possible. We wanted every woman to have the opportunity to “do the Rosie” under the words We Can Do It.

So just in time for Halloween 2012, we rolled out our DIY Rosie poster and kit. We’ll share some of the photos that are coming in showing women wearing the Rosie the Riveter Legacy Bandana and standing in front of our DIY poster.

We’re thrilled to help pass the word about the strength, courage, and empowerment of women.

Here’s Jessica Ross as Rosie.


Cheers for Thirteen Rosie the Riveters

by Matilda Butler on October 31, 2012

Post #39 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Our Hats (Well, Bandanas) Are Off to You

We’ve just concluded our busiest season of the year and we’re still excited. Why? We love that each year more and more women (of all ages) want to be Rosie the Riveter for Halloween. We think Rosie would love how these women are eager to show their strength, courage, and empowerment.

As some of these women share their photos with us, we’re going to share them with you. They are so great that we don’t want to be the only ones to see them.

This photograph just came in from Marcie Obrenski with the following note:

A heartfelt thank you for supplying us with our MADE IN USA Rosie bandanas and the Rosie Employment Badge Collar pins.

Here’s our group of 13 IBEW proud women in our Rosie costumes for Halloween!

Marcie — Thanks for sharing. We love seeing all of you “doing the Rosie.”

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