“The West Virginia Rosie the Riveter Project,” gathers stories of our “Rosies” with the goal of enlightening people today and in the future about their meaning.
West Virginia women were known to be eager and able defense workers throughout America during World War II. But, so far, no one has searched for them, gotten their stories, brought them together or said, “Thanks!”
A unified effort to find these women throughout West Virginia began on March 29th, 2009 with a full-page, color Charleston Gazette ad saying, “Help us find Rosies.” Now, 25 “Rosies” are interviewed on videotape. At least 30 more have given their stories by telephone, 25 wait, and 25 are expected to emerge. Story after story, the women’s human experiences transcend political, geographic and other “man-made” boundaries.
More than 70 West Virginia women who worked “on the home front” throughout America during World War II have contacted TPS (Thanks! Plain and Simple)
in recent months to give their stories. Within a year, TPS expects at least 90 “Rosies” to contribute their stories throughout the state,
which TPS plans to develop into a state-wide collection. To assure that people are attracted to West Virginia Rosies’ work and human experiences,
TPS has videotaped many Rosies” in their diverse settings, with he help of a WV Humanities Council MiniGrant. Part of the project is to produce a documentary.
To help you understand the direction of the film being produced here is part of the "Film Treatment" compiled by the producer, award winning filmmaker BJ Gudmundsson.
Topic = Work on the home front. Mood = Savoring the Moment. Theme = Thank you!
“Rosie, We Say, ‘Thanks!’” will tell what it meant to be a woman “on the home front” doing “men’s jobs” in settings from war factories to the offices of Washington leaders. From the voices of these old women is heard the theme of pride in their contribution. Despite their diversity from rich to poor, from sophisticated to “country,” from healthy to bedfast, a clear commonality is their ability to balance independence with belonging. They often say their work as “Rosies” made them more independent.
The old women’s’ voices are not alone; the film mingles the women’s stories with the voices of all ages and types of West Virginians who learn from these women, including veterans. Adults and children sing a song that says, “Thanks!” Always, the film returns to stories that combine the human side of the “Rosies” with historic accounts they have seldom been asked to discuss.
Patterns are clear. The film captures the women’s views of the role of women, the value of work, the pain of loss, worry about the future, changes they have seen in society, their commitment to family and what their “home front” jobs mean to them, even today. History is told as a flow of work to deal with human struggles, joys and the search for safety and meaning. Implied is their personal work to be the right kind of person in a place they feel fits them. “Belonging is an anchor in the next generation.”
A Sample Scene: Visuals flow - old women in easy chairs, old women putting work shoes on a “Rosie” manikin, old women smiling with no teeth, old women who look like movie stars, old women having fun together, old women crying, old women with old photos and articles, old women walking, old women hugging a young Iraq War veteran. As this sequence appears, background music fades in, “Allow us to tell you, it’s plain, it’s simple. We just want to say, ‘Thanks.’ From our mountaineer spirit, we want you to hear it, we just want to say, ‘Thanks!’. Now, you’ve got a brave heart, served with a good start, and you got a West Virginia smile ‘. . ..”
Photos of the women during World War II and of factories help keep a flow from past to future. “Rosies” who will have died by the end of production will be recognized near the end.
We are building this page. Please come back soon for more information on the Rosies, the Team and our progress..
Also, please consider helping us complete this project. Click here to read about the many ways you can help.
The Team: Project members have been carefully selected. |
They understand the human condition, appreciate Appalachian culture and are committed to showing respect to these older “Rosies.” One team member says, “They are so easy to love.” Another says, “They give me energy.”
The team aims for “Rosies” to be heard in ways that are meaningful to the “Rosies.”
Everyone hopes that many “Rosies” will see this film before they die.
The documentary’s title addresses one Rosie, to express that each woman is a memorable case-study.
Pauline Brumfield and Iraq War veteran, John Haulotte, discuss music at her Wirt Count porch.