Saturday, July 30, 2005

A Job Well Done

I confess. I read the obituaries. In them I find inspiring stories about ordinary people who give birth to extraordinary accomplishments... people like Imogene Fagan.

During World War II, as more and more men joined the armed forces to fight the war overseas, women contributed at home, working in the shipyards and manufacturing plants. Their working these jobs challenged traditional notions of women's capabilities. Women in overalls carrying their tools to work inspired the song, Rosie the Riveter, in 1942. Norman Rockwell, one of America's most popular 20th century artists, painted this rendition, published as the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on May 29, 1943.

Imogene Fagan was a Rosie the Riveter. She worked in the Portland Shipyards as a welder during the war. The tradition was that when a landing craft was welded perfectly--with no leaks--the ship was named for the welder. If you follow this link, you will see a picture of Mrs. Fagan atop #939, Imogene Fagan...the ship she welded...perfectly.

Not only did Mrs. Fagan and the other Rosies contribute to the cause of their day by manufacturing the equipment and artillery needed by the military, but they also paved the way for women of the future by breaking down the stereotypes about what a woman can do. I am grateful on both counts.

We won't all get ships named for us and we don't always get to see the impact we make for future generations, but we can still be proud of work done well.

What accomplishments make you proud?

Tell us about a time the energy you put into something paid off.

Go ahead--be proud of your achievements.

I want to hear.

Wanda Tucker, Coach

17 comments:

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Jenn Higgins said...

Wanda,

this one has had me going all week.... I know there are things I've done that I am proud of yet each time I sit to write about them I go blank.... wonder what that's all about!

Wanda Tucker said...

Hmm...I wonder, indeed. I hope you will let me know once your memories come to the surface.

Cowtown Pattie said...

What have I achieved? Hmmm. and Hmmm.

I think my biggest achievement in the last few years has been to be brave enough to make a very major change in my life for the better. After raising four girls in 24 years with a bipolar addictive husband, I finally made the decision to cut loose those chains. I was never going to "cure" him, he wouldn't help himself and stay on medication, and my life was miserable. I felt all sorts of guilt and went through months of emotional flagellation until I found that safe place where the old unwounded me could finally come out.

Its wonderful out here in the ocean again. No. More. Sharks.

Wanda Tucker said...

Hallelujah, Pattie!

Good for you for jumping into the open water again. Isn't it amazing how the guilt can keep us paralyzed? I applaud you for moving forward and "cutting the chains".

"Shark-free" is very good.

Wanda Tucker, Coach

Jenn Higgins said...

Patti,

Good for you!

Jenn

Wanda,

Patti got me thinking....

I think an achievement I recently made was to move to Erie. Phoenix never felt like home but I stayed because my parents are there. I am starting to actually feel at home though I miss my partents a great deal. Leaving was a really hard decision, one that I fought for about six years. Phoenix was familiar and I knew that it would be scary moving to a new place. I think each day I make little acheivements by doing things here because my old me never would have done anything that wasn't familiar or comefortable.

Thank you Patti for making me see some achievements I've made.

Jenn

Wanda Tucker said...

Isn't it amazing how often we resist change...even when we know what would be good for us (and often why it would be good)? I applaud you, Jenn.

Those big life shifts--both yours and Pattie's--are something to be proud of, indeed.

Thanks, Jenn and Pattie, for sharing your courage with us.

Wanda Tucker, Coach

sar_girl said...

I have to say I love to read obituaries too. I also love to go to cemetaries. I like to day dream what the little - between their birth date and the day they died stood for. People who die young really facinate me. I think we do things everday that affect people that we don't even know we do. Things we can be proud of. Just a smile to a lonely stranger can do a lot. I think we are all self doubters and that is why it is hard to find what you are proud of. It is too easy to look at the bad you think is in you and over look the good. Usually their is more good in someone than they realize.

Wanda Tucker said...

Have you ever considered writing the stories that you dream of? The ones represented by the "-" on the headstone? I would love to hear some stories you dream.

Just think...a person's whole life is represented by "-"! I hope that the "-" on mine is deep.

Wanda Tucker, Coach

graceonline said...

Thank you for sharing the story of Imogene Fagan. My mom was a Rosie the Riveter. She worked in a steel mill in Indiana and had the time of her life. Like many women, she dutifuly returned to hearth and home after the war, but she never forgot her experiences working heavy machinery. It helped make her the strong, confident woman I love so much.

Wanda Tucker said...

Rosie the Riveter changed the world, didn't she? You are welcome. The Rosie stories always impress me. I have an aunt who used to work in the shipyards. I didn't know that until recently. I wonder how many more of my foremothers did, too.

sierra_madre said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sierra_madre said...

Had I been a little older at the time of World War II, perhaps I would have been a Rosie the Riveter, too. Instead, I contributed to the war effort by saving tin cans, aluminum, and waste fat; by pooling my ration coupons with the rest of my family to purchase food items that were in short supply — meat , coffee, sugar —, and gasoline and tires for the car; and by writing letters to the servicemen defending our country to help boost their morale.

I wonder . . . how would the members of today’s society cope if such a rationing system were to be imposed upon them during the present crisis in which we are involved? No more Quarter Pounders, no more mocha lattes or espressos, no more Dunkin' Donuts, and no way to get to the shops if there were any available because there is no gasoline in the tank and the tires are rags.

And yes, you did have other Rosie the Riveter relatives, at least one great-aunt that I recall, and probably some distant cousins.

Melanie said...

Happy Thanksgiving Coach Wanda!
I am the grand daughter of Imogene Fagan. I'm sitting here with my aunt, and several of my cousins and Imo's great grandchildren...and we are just so touch that you chose to write about our grandma. The second to last grandchild, Lindsey just happened across your blog and we just couldn't even believe it. We of course think she was a fabulous lady and feel blessed that she was further acknowldeged and remembered by you. Thank you for honoring her. Melanie and family

Wanda Tucker said...

Melanie and family--

Thanks so much for coming by and commenting. I was out of town for the holiday and am just now getting caught up on my postings and correspondences.

Where would we be without all the Rosie's in our lives? I am grateful to your grandma and all the rest.

Please, come again.

Lisa said...

I am so inspired and thankful for all the Rosie the Riveters out there. It really gives me the chills, and makes my eyes tear up when I think about the patriotism that these women displayed. Not only did all the Rosie's make a difference during the war, but they also made a huge impact and help change things for women in the work place today.
I am a female police officer, and even now I find being a female in this male oriented career is difficult. I get disrespected all the time just because I am a female in a law enforcement career. What helps me get through all the stress is thinking about all the Rosie the Riveters. I think about how tough these women were, and all the hard times they had to deal with. Through all the hard times these women kept moving foward. These women took pride in what they did and were proud to help in any way they could. I am very passionate about my career, and I like to think Rosie the Riveter helped inspire me to go this far.

Thank you!!!

Wanda said...

Thanks for your comment, Lisa.

And thanks for being willing to put your life on the line for the rest of us.

Women do so much. The extent of our work goes way beyond what anyone sees most of the time. They may diss you, but they can only make fools of themselves in the process.

Thanks for your job well done.

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