Saturday, April 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

W.Va. Rosie just wanted to help war effort

Mabel Humes

In this Friday Oct. 19, 2012, photo Mabel Humes holds a 1942 photo of herself at her home in Martinsburg, W.Va. Like so many of her generation forever immortalized by the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter, 94-year-old Mabel Humes, of Martinsburg, answered the call for service in her country's time of need and, in doing so, unknowingly became a part of a special group of women who became an inspiration for women in the workforce for decades to come. (AP Photo/The Journal, Edward Marshall)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Like so many of her generation forever immortalized by the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter, 94-year-old Mabel Humes, of Martinsburg, answered the call for service in her country’s time of need and, in doing so, unknowingly became a part of a special group of women who became an inspiration for women in the work force for decades to come.

Originally from the tiny town of Bayard in Grant County, Humes boarded a train bound for Baltimore, Md., in July 1942 to answer a call for workers at the Western Electric Company and to do her part to support the war effort.

“I went down and got on the train. It was that simple. I had a sister that lived in Baltimore, and I went there and spent the night. I went out and caught a bus, or a trolley or whatever it was, and went to Western Electric and signed up. I didn’t have a bit of trouble getting a job at Western Electric. I went there and just a few days after I signed up I had a job,” Humes said.

Humes, who was just in her early 20s at the time, never had such a job before, let alone any experience using a soldering iron at a manufacturing plant. She proved to be a quick learner and became extremely skilled at her new trade. Humes said she and her other female co-workers helped build panels the size of piano benches, soldering resistors, condensers and other parts into place.

“We had a whole big long table full of workers practicing with their soldering irons and so forth. I put them on so nice and neat, and so it wasn’t but a few days that they had me making the panels. I could read the blueprint. How I knew to do those things I don’t know, but I could read the blueprint,” Humes said.

It was a big change from the small town she hailed from, but Humes said she enjoyed the work. She was so good at her new-found job that she soon found herself transferred to the engineering department, where she helped engineers make any changes that were needed to the panels that were being manufactured.

“I was good at it if I must say it. It wasn’t too long – I think it was in August when they put me in with the engineers. They took me out and put me up with the engineers,” Humes said.

Known by workers as simply “the cage,” Humes said it was a big room filled with engineers.

“They locked me up there with them and anything that had to be changed I changed it for them, because I could get in with my soldering iron and make a nice job out of it. I didn’t make a mess,” Humes said.

The one thing the women who worked to manufacture the panels weren’t told was what they were to be used for, other than what they were building was going to help the war effort.

“They never told us. They never told us what we were making, so I just made them,” Humes said.

According to documents detailing the company’s history, Western Electric manufactured a number of important items for the war effort, including specialized communications equipment used in radar systems. Most of Western Electric’s products for the Bell System during the period were radio and wire communications equipment for war use at Army and Navy bases and defense contractors across America. The company also produced equipment for overseas use to keep up with the needs of America’s military installations there, as well as cable and wire, switchboards and other equipment, documents show.

Humes is a humble woman. While her generation of Rosie the Riveters inspired countless women for decades, she said that she felt she was just doing what she could do to help.

“With so many serving in the war, I thought, it was the least I could do,” Humes said.

She would remain at Western Electric for several months before meeting her future husband. She then left her job at Western Electric and the couple moved to Paris, Texas, where they married in August 1943. Her husband was later drafted to serve in the war and served overseas until 1946. Her two younger brothers also served during World War II in the U.S. Navy.

When her husband went to war, Humes moved to Martinsburg, graduated from beauty school and went to work here. After his return, Humes’ husband, who had been a school teacher before the war, went to work for the VA and the couple remained in Martinsburg. Humes eventually opened up her own beauty shop in Martinsburg, Rosemont Beauty Salon, before retiring in the 1960s. She still lives in Martinsburg today and is the mother of two daughters.

“I felt I was just doing my part to help during the war effort. I’m very proud of myself that I could do the job,” Humes said.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano unemployment inches downward

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Transplant recipients talk about their best gifts

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Implementing Common Core: A work in progress

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

Fairfield council candidates weigh in on crime

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Police release name of woman found dead in Fairfield canal

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Spering, Bertani spar over fighting crime

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 7 Comments | Gallery

 
Congregation invites public to Easter music, message

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Five homes featured on Symphony Home Tour

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
 
Local woman helps spread Easter joy

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B12 | Gallery

Weather for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B13

 
.

US / World

California farmers to get more water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Teen sentenced in Oakland toddler’s killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

More Latino than white students admitted to UC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
From Clinton to Obama, many parallels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
PG&E to be arraigned in fatal pipeline blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Mom and son who died in San Francisco fire ID’d

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
3 alleged gang members convicted of murder

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Easter on 4/20, pot holy day; pastors reach out

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

Colorado deaths stoke worries about pot edibles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
NASA’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down as planned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Atheist national conference aims at Mormon church

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Man who avoided prison is overwhelmed by support

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Teen suspended for asking Miss America to prom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
White House updating online privacy policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

SpaceX making Easter delivery of station supplies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Sudden movement raises alarm in Wyoming slide area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Some countries get Obama, but want his wife, too

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
In Egypt, a corruption watchdog hit by backlash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Military scales down, modifies Guam buildup plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Captain of sunken SKorean ferry arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Diplomacy doesn’t move insurgents in Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
57-nation OSCE plays key Ukraine monitoring role

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Ukraine crisis: The turning points

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
.

Opinion

Cheers, jeers for the week of April 13-19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A11

 
Time to fix a law the courts have mucked up

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

Editorial Cartoons for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Here we go again in Sacramento

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Seniors, it’s never too late to do something about your health

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 19, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Prince reaches agreement with music label

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

‘The Boondocks’ back for final ‘offensive’ season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

Stratocaster still a favorite at 60

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
.

Sports

Hertl has impressive playoff debut for Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors and Clippers take dislike to playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Big innings lift Mustangs over Indians

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ross, Padres beat Cain and Giants 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

A’s come out swinging to beat Astros 11-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors to start O’Neal for Bogut vs. Clippers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

NBA playoffs looking more wide-open than expected

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Source: Grizzlies’ G Calathes suspended for 20 games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Avalanche sweeps down Everest, killing at least 12

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Mets trade 1B Ike Davis to Pirates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

TNT’s Sager to miss NBA playoffs due to leukemia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

A’s lefty reliever Doolittle gets 5-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
’40-and-up club’: Ageless Hopkins after more belts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jimenez shoots 65 to lead Greater Gwinnett field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Solano scores in ninth for 2-1 BVC baseball win over Yuba

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Choi leads rain-delayed RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
NBA’s Silver wants age limit change, no rush on others

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

Judge says American can’t end retiree benefits yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Mazda recalls 109,000 older SUVs for rust problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

5 features an Amazon phone might offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Obituaries

Sealwyn Shirley Brucefield Shepherd Malkiewicz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Home Seller 04/19/14

Summerwood features 8 new homes in Suisun

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2

Average US 30-year mortgage rate falls to 4.27 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3

Real estate transactions for April 19, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3