First and foremost, thank you to all who have read my past blog posts and my book, “Homey’s Adventures.”
As promised, I am writing this book as a sequel to the happy ending of my first book. I recently started writing this book, and I have been inspired lately. I decided to share this with you. So, without delay here is Chapter 8 of my third book:
Chapter 8 – Gooney Birds
Like most children, I do not want to think about intimate relations between my mother and father. In fact, I think what went on between them is none of my business. Their loved produced me and for that I am grateful. However, I cannot imagine what my mother was going through while Dad was bombing Japan.
My mom was staying with my aunt in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. At the start of my dad’s missions over Japan, my mom was 3 months pregnant with my older brother. My mom also took care of my older cousin while my aunt worked as “Rosie the Riveter” on C-47 Skytrain airplanes.
In movies, newspapers, photographs and articles, the Rosie the Riveter campaign stressed the patriotic need for women to enter the workforce. On May 29, 1943, The Saturday Evening Post published a cover image by the artist Norman Rockwell, portraying Rosie with a flag in the background and a copy of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” under her feet.
More than 310,000 women worked in the U.S. aircraft industry in 1943, making up 65 percent of the industry’s total workforce (compared to just 1 percent in the pre-war years). The munitions industry also heavily recruited women workers, as illustrated by the U.S. government’s Rosie the Riveter propaganda campaign.
The Midwest City Douglas Aircraft Company Plant adjacent to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma constructed more than half of the ten thousand C-47 Skytrain U.S. Army cargo planes (nicknamed “Gooney Birds”) manufactured during World War II.
The Gooney Bird enabled complex wartime logistical operations. The C-47 is not the most glamorous or idolized aircraft of WWII. It earned the nickname “Gooney Bird” because its large, lumbering image mirrored that of the giant albatross birds found on Midway Island in the Pacific. Despite the goofy name, the Gooney Bird was critical to executing support operations that helped win the war.
My dad nicknamed my aunt, Shorty. I can tell you she was a 4 foot eleven-inch force of nature. She was the only person, man or woman who could stand up to my father’s gregarious ways. She also was always there when any of us needed her. She was 15 years older than my mother. While my dad was flying over Japan and her husband was also stationed overseas, she was working at an airplane plant taking care of her son and my mother.
Aunt Shorty was a force in my life too. She took care of me and my cousins and my siblings whenever we needed her. She gave me my first job as a dishwasher at age 14 in her restaurant. Both her and my mom had incredibly strong character. I believe that this influenced me to seek a woman of the same character.
I was on a vacation trip to Colorado recently. I was traveling across Kansas, and I stopped for gas and something to drink. I filled up a 64-ounce Styrofoam container with Diet Dr. Pepper and took it up to the check-out clerk.
As I place my soda on the counter she inquired: “Are you in the military?
“No, I can’t say that I am.”
“Do you have a parent in the military or was in the military?
“Yes, my father was in the Air Force during World War II.”
“Well, that’s good enough. I consider all family members of the military serve. I’ll give you our military discount.”
I received an 8-cent discount. More important to me was the concept she was presenting. My mom, my aunt Shorty, my older cousin and even my unborn brother were fighting World War II right alongside my dad and my uncle.
I cannot imagine how hard it was. My mom was pregnant with my brother while my dad was flying dangerous missions over Japan. My aunt Shorty was working as Rosie the Riveter on Gooney Birds and probably worried to death about her husband. These men and women were truly the greatest generation, and I am personally grateful for every one of them.
End Of Chapter 8
I recently started drafting my new book and I have a lot of research to do. I plan to share some of my work as time and resources allows. I am hoping by next Father’s Day, my new book will be completed and published.
I encourage anyone who had a parent or grandparent who flew in the B29’s from Tinian Island in 1945 to contact me. Without these heroes protecting our freedoms, we would not be able to celebrate our country’s founding on Independence Day.
Originally, I started this blog as an eclectic mix of what I was thinking during the week and book reviews. I will do some of that too. So, you do not want to miss what follows. Follow my blog to make sure you receive it.
If you do not want to wait that long and you have not read my first book. I encourage you to go to my website, www.homeysadventures.com. You can read the first two chapters for free, and you can also buy it. Or you can buy it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other fine retailers. Just search for it using the words: Homey’s Adventures by Jim Wish.
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I liken myself to the Vienna Violinist described in chapter 5 of Homey’s Adventures Too. I play (write) for your enjoyment and mine. Happy Independence Day and God bless you all.