Monthly Archives: May 2014
During World War II, when many of the men were involved in the fighting over seas, a group of women stepped up and filled the gap as welders working in the bomber plants. They became known as Rosie the Riveter, and there were thousands of them. It really became a movement of female empowerment, and I don’t know how the war would have gone without them. It was a movement of solidarity. They worked to keep the American Army Air Forces in much needed bombers. There were men who were riveters too, including my Uncle Bill Spencer, who was turned down for the service because of flat feet and a hernia, but most of them were women, and they included my Aunt Laura Spencer and my Aunt Ruth Spencer. It was a time when it was all hands on deck…our fighting airmen needed our help and support. One of those fighting airmen was my dad, Allen Spencer, brother to Laura, Bill, and Ruth. I’m sure it seemed to them, the best way they could help their brother, and all the other airmen.
The other day, I came across an article in the paper about the Willow Run bomber plant in Willow Run, Michigan. It would seem that this little slice of history is set to go on the chopping block. I suppose that not every historic landmark can be saved, but it seems such a horrible shame to tear down a building that marked such a heroic effort by so many people, to stand behind a nation at war, by meeting such an enormous need. Between 1942 and 1945, crews numbering tens of thousands built roughly one B-24 Liberator an hour…8,685 in all. There were women all over the country performing the work that had always been done by men, but at the Willow Run plant, one Rose Will Monroe worked alongside 40,000 other workers…mostly women…and soon she became the trademark…Rosie the Riveter. Before long, all those women were known as Rosie the Riveters…and they considered it an honor to bear the title.
Now, the Willow Run bomber plant is in peril. Those who remember the trademark Rosies, want to keep their history alive, but in order to do so, they need 8 million dollars. They don’t have much time to raise the money. They are at a remarkable 7.23 million dollars right now. To me it would be a horrible shame to let this little slice of history be destroyed. I feel like it is so uncharacteristic of this nation to forget the efforts of our heroes in any area of American life. It is my hope that this historic landmark can be saved, so that our children, and our children’s children can see what can be accomplished when we work together. More information on this can be found at Save The Willow Run Bomber Plant.
I know that everyone jokes about how awful their in-laws are, but I have to say that I have been very blessed in that category. Whether we are talking about Bob’s family, or my sons-in-law, I can honestly say I feel truly blessed. My younger son-in-law, Travis is a unique person. He is his own man, with his own ideas, and yet, he is totally in love with my daughter Amy and a very devoted family man. While he is very traditional in that way, he is unconventional in most other areas. I love his sense of humor. He is very witty and quick with a joke. While most people are still trying to come up with a response to something, Travis has already said it. I think most of us need someone with a quick wit around us, to keep things lively…and trust me when I say that with Travis around, there is never a dull moment!!
Travis has very definite ideas about how things should be, and he doesn’t mind telling you if you have somehow missed it. Unfortunately when it comes to football, my daughter Amy has really missed it…at least as far as Travis is concerned. Their house, during football season, can be…well a bit of a challenge. You see, Travis has always been an avid Chicago Bears fan, while Amy likes their arch rival…the Green Bay Packers. During football season, it’s open season in their house, with each one telling the other just how awful their team is. And each one will tell you that they are right, and their spouse is completely insane!! Personally, I think they could solve the whole problem, if they both became Broncos fans. Funny thing, they aren’t taking to that idea.
There are lots things they do agree on though, like making wine, travel…especially by cruise ship, and motorcycle riding. They like to get out on his bike and cruise around town, or head over to Sturgis for part of the rally. And now that their kids are getting to be all grown up, they have an easier time of just hopping on the bike and heading out on the spur of the moment. Their first cruise took a little more planning, but one stop that was a given, was Jamaica. Travis has been a Bob Marley fan for as long as I’ve known him, so the stop at his home was an epic moment in Travis’ life. Travis’ choices, when it comes to music do surprise me a little bit. I never would have expected him to like music like Blues and Reggae, but those are his favorites. I would have expected him to like rock, but everyone has their own ideas, and sometimes we are surprised by them. I really shouldn’t be surprised by anything about Travis, because he is very much his own man. Today is Travis’ birthday. Happy birthday Travis!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Many years ago, when things were much safer, there was a habit that a lot of people engaged in, that today, in our time, parents would cringe about and warn their children against…hitchhiking. Kids used to hitchhike to get to work, to a friends house, to town, or wherever they might be going. They didn’t have enough money to buy a car of their own, and it was a pretty much unheard of item to have, so I guess they assumed that anyone who had a car was a nice enough person, and they would hitch a ride from them. Usually they were right, and nothing bad happened, but later on, as this world got a little uglier, taking a ride from someone was something you did at your own risk, because you never knew what you were getting into.
Since my dad and his brother had a habit of jumping onto the slow moving train when they wanted a ride, even though they had a pass, and therefore had no need to jump onto the train, it would be my assumption that they probably hitchhiked too. Of course, they also had a real love for cars too, and therefore my guess would be that they were more likely to be the ones picking up the hitchhiker, not being the hitchhiker. Nevertheless, that isn’t really safe these days either.
I have been in a position where I had to take the help of a stranger, and I must say, I did not like it, but it was cold, the car had broken down, I had my girls with me, and it was still a long walk home. Thankfully the person I tool the ride from was a neighbor in the area we lived in, and we became friends with them after that. Nevertheless, at the time of the ride, it was a risky move to take that ride, and one I very much hated to take.
Over the years, Bob and I have picked up several people who were in a bad situation. They weren’t hitchhiking exactly, but like me, they knew that if they didn’t take the ride, they probably wouldn’t get home anyway. One was a couple whose car broke down, and the temperature that New Year’s Day at 3:00 in the morning was about 15° below zero, gratefully accepted our offer for a ride, and after driving the about 4 miles to their home, I have no doubt that they would have died that night, had we not helped them. Another was a couple who had slid off the road on snow and almost into the river, and no one had stopped in more that half and hour. We took them to town. Who knows how long they would have been there.
Hitchhiking in days gone by was not nearly as risky as it use to be, but any time you take a ride from someone you don’t know, or pick up someone you don’t know, in the old west, or today, you are putting your life at risk. So, while my dad may have done it, and probably knew the boy in this picture who was doing it, hitchhiking is not something I would recommend today.
Kids have always been…well, a little more open and free with their thoughts on things like the need to wear clothes. With summer upon us, people begin to think about things like the lake, the town pool, or for the little kids, the wading pool. If the kids are little enough, they can get away with swimming in just their underwear, and nobody cares. Of course, later on, things are a bit different…at least for the girls. The boys could practically swim in the underwear most of them wear today, because boxers look a lot like swim trunks.
To little kids, however, I’m not so sure that it is just swimming that makes them think that clothes are strictly optional. It seems to me that just about every kid decides that the moments after a bath are the perfect moment for them to become a little streaker. Back in the seventies, when I was in high school, some of the students even tried their hand a streaking. Of course, most of us either didn’t dare, or weren’t so inclined to running around naked. Little kids, however, have no such inhibitions…in fact, being in the buff is pretty much their favorite thing. I can’t say that I would like to be so free again, but little kids do have a great time trying to get away with as little clothing as possible.
I have known several parents who have talked about their own little streakers, and it would seem that at some point, every parent finds themselves with one of these little rebels. It’s hard not to laugh at them, even as you are trying to catch them. One of the funniest things though, is when your little streaker decides that the best time to make a run for it, is when you have company at the house. Even though many of these parents have been in the same position, they still can’t help but laugh when it is someone else in that position.
Of course, as they get older, most kids stop the full streak habit, but for many of them, it is real easy to stay in the partial streak mode…especially the men. I mean really, and be honest here, how many men still love to sit around the house in their underwear? More of them than will want to admit it, I’m sure. I guess the truth be told, there is a little bit of the Streak in all of us, but some of us just don’t ever outgrow it.