Posts Tagged ‘Lenell Smothers’

*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, as previously published in The Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

You’ve probably seen those “We Can Do It!” posters often associated with Rosie the Riveter. That bicep-flexing, bandana-wearing dame was a real woman … named Geraldine Doyle. Artist J. Howard Miller modeled his famous poster on a wire service photograph of Doyle snapped while she worked as a temporary metal presser in a defense factory in Inkster, Mich. The poster, originally drafted to discourage absenteeism and strikes at the Westinghouse Electric Company, was displayed there privately for just two weeks … until the image was re-popularized by American feminists in the ’80s.

Doyle was neither a riveter nor was she named “Rosie”—the real “Rosie the Riveter” was a cultural icon repping the 6 million women who joined the workforce during World War II. Rosalind Walter, who riveted F4U marine gull-winged fighter airplanes, was the inspiration for the song “Rosie the Riveter,” the first known cultural reference to this iconic figure.

The tune was a smash hit when actor Walter Pidgeon stumbled upon another Rosie. While shooting a promotional film about war bonds at the Willow Run Aircraft Factory in Ypsilanti, Mich., Pidgeon met Rose Will Monroe and a real-life Rosie the Riveter was too perfect to pass up. Monroe soon became integral to a federal marketing campaign, appearing in films and posters that encouraged women to work in support of the war effort.

Most Rosies returned to the domestic sphere when the boys came home. Not Monroe. She became a seamstress, a beauty shop owner, taxi driver, school bus driver and a realtor, eventually founding her own construction company, Rose Builders. Monroe had started at the Willow Run Factory hoping to be selected for their pilot training program, which taught women to fly armaments around the country. She was denied the job because she was a single mother, but at age 50, she fulfilled her lifelong dream of learning to fly. ‘”She was a member of the local aeronautics club,” her daughter, Vicki Jarvis, told the New York Times for her mother’s obit in 1997, “the only female member, of course.”

Monroe would’ve celebrated her 90th birthday on March 12th. For Women’s History Month, we recommend raising a Rosé the Riveter—created by barstar LeNell Smothers—in her honor, and for all the Rosies who kept industry churning during World War II.

Rosé the Riveter
1.5 oz Hendrick’s gin
5 ounce PAMA
25 ounce honey syrup*
3 ounces dry rosé
lime wheel for garnish

Shake with ice and strain into tall glass filled with cracked ice. Garnish with lime wheel and straw.
*Mix equal parts honey and water for this simple syrup. Do not heat up. Let dissolve naturally.



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