Rosie the Riveter becomes calendar girl

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by JOHN SHARIFY / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @JohnSharify

KING5.com

Posted on January 1, 2010 at 7:09 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 1 at 7:09 PM

Eva Vassar and Lou Anne Charles never get tired of answering questions about their past.

How much did they make? "During the war, I got 60 cents an hour," says Lou Anne.

The work they did? "I was a welder during the war," says Eva. "I welded the different shops that were damaged during the war, like the Arizona, the California."

"I was a riveter and a mechanic," says Lou Ann. "A mechanic drills the holes and the riveter comes along and plugs it in. I was good. Yeah."

Yeah. Good at doing a man’s job. Or what had been a man’s job before the men went to war. WWII.

"Young girls, young women who had never been physical with their hands were getting cuts. They had to learn how to use their muscles in different ways than knitting and sewing," says Peggy Cook, who just celebrated her 85th birthday.

All those women working those factory jobs became known as Rosie the Riveter. Popularized by a song of the same name, the Rosies paved the way toward equal rights for women.

"Usually we could do a better job than the men. I’m not bragging. We did," says Eva.

Well, now Eva can brag about something else. Eva is Miss March. Lou Ann is Miss November. Two of the women featured in this year’s 2010 Rosie Calendar called Life Lines.

"“I love my picture," says Lou Ann. "I don’t look too hot," says Eva with a laugh.

You can’t help love the picture on the cover: A cigar-smoking Rosie.

"He said, here, Peg, come and have a cigar and a beer with me," says Peggy Cook.

Peggy posed for the picture, without the beer, twenty years after her Rosie stint. She was also Miss December in the 2008 Rosie calendar.

During the war, Peggy worked at the Bangor Naval Air Station while her husband was fighting in the war. She earned 87 cents an hour making submarine nets.

"We made the nets that went up and down the coasts so the Japanese submarines couldn’t get through. We were successful," says Peggy.

Every year there are fewer and fewer Rosies in our world. Eva and Lou Ann are 87. And happy to share their stories. We’re so glad they are.

"I think it’s history," says Lou Anne. "I guess it is history," adds Eva.

Washington Women in Trades published the calendar. For information about the 2010 Rosie calendar, and Washington Women in Trades, contact cpollyc@comcast.net or call 206-324-3372.

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