Happy Mother’s Day to my own Rosie the Riveter

Published 7:47 am Saturday, May 10, 2014

In this edition of The Post-Searchlight, you’ll see an announcement from the American Rosie the Riveter Association. This fantastic organization, of which I just recently learned, is searching for women who worked stateside and provided a vital service during World War II.
I agree with long-time broadcast journalist and author Tom Brokaw when he coined the term “Greatest Generation” to describe the men and women of that era. These folks are truly treasures and we are losing them on a daily basis.
One very special lady in my life was a Rosie the Riveter and, in my eyes, is the greatest of the “Greatest Generation.”
My maternal grandmother, Annette Eddings, is a 90-year-old ball of fire and is the best person I know, and most likely will ever know. She is “Maw-Maw” to me and 15 other grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren, and two great great grandchildren. She is just “mama” to her six children, including my mother, Janet.
Maw Maw has lived the vast majority of her life in Elmore County, Alabama. She was raised on a farm and graduated from Holtville High School in 1942. I graduated from the same school, in mostly the same buildings, 45 years later.
Soon after she graduated from high school, and with World War II fully involved, she went to an employment office in Montgomery, Alabama and received an offer to move to Warner Robins to “turn screws” on aircraft in support of the war raging all across Europe.
She recently described her job and how the “man that inspected our work” didn’t have to worry about her production because “after working on the farm, I was strong as a bull and my screws were always the tightest.”
When she turned 90-years-old last March, she told her children she wanted to make the three-hour trip from Millbrook, Alabama to Warner Robins to spend a weekend. She just wanted to revisit the place where the real life Rosie the Riveter worked 70 years prior.
So, my mother, aunts, and an uncle loaded up and made the trip to Warner Robins. Maw Maw is at the stage in her life, and has earned the right, to get pretty much whatever she wants. Although they were unable to gain access to Robins Air Force Base, they visited the Museum of Aviation. While there, Maw Maw bought a model replica of the airplane she worked on during her time there.
Maw Maw retired years ago after a 40-year career at the Montgomery Police Department and spends her days now doing good deeds for other people and working in her yard — she loves working in her yard.
About three years ago, she had a health scare and had open-heart surgery. She was 87-years-old at the time and the doctor asked her if she really wanted to have the surgery. At her age, there are lots of risks involved in surgery and the recovery would be very tough, the doctor said. The other option, he said, was to treat her condition with medication. Her response was typical Maw Maw, “What are you waiting on Doc? Let’s get this show on the road and get to operating.”
Some months later, my uncle had to confiscate the lawn mower from her house because she was a threat to cut her own grass. Needless to say, the recovery was smooth and she hasn’t lost a step.
I love my very own Rosie the Riveter and I hope she has the best Mother’s Day yet. And, to my mother Janet, my wife Stephanie, my mother-in-law Kathy and to all the mothers in our community, Happy Mother’s Day.

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