CHOCTAW — Every year, Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center’s Adult Day Program recognizes the Rosie the Riveter movement. More than 8 million American women went to work in factories while the majority of men were off at war.
Modeled after the iconic poster from World War II, “We Can Do It,” the staff and participants of the Adult Day Center dressed in costumes as Rosie the Riveter on March 7.
Two of the Adult Day Center’s participants, Mary Plumbtree, 89, and Clara Blair, 92, worked as riveters and mechanics during World War II. Plumbtree was stationed as a riveter in Texas, although she cannot recall exactly where. When Blair was asked where she was stationed, she replied, “I’ve been all over the place. I haven’t ever stayed put in Jones, Oklahoma.”
Plumbtree and Blair are very proud of what they did for their country. Not only was Plumbtree a “Rosie the Riveter”, but also she was known as a “Wendy the Welder.” She can recall working on the tail rudder of the P-51 Mustang, a long-range single-seated fighter/bomber.
Blair would tell you that she was only a mechanic who predrilled the holes so a “Rosie” could place the rivets. However, Blair’s role in the process was just as vital as any other Rosie the Riveter or Wendy the Welder. Without Blair, Plumbtree, and all other women who worked during this time period, the outcome of the war could have been very different.
The Adult Day Center at EOC Tech was established to provide a comfortable and engaging environment for senior citizens and the physically disabled. Each of the ADC’s senior participants has a unique story to tell. Since the ADC opened in 1993, the staff has honored the past, present, and future lives of their participants.
David Koonce is the marketing assistant for Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center.