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Finding Real Rosie the Riveters

It's a famous image--the red polka-dot scarf, the blue work shirt, the determined face, and of course that curled bicep. It's Rosie the Riveter. Here face and "We Can Do It!" message was the star of World War II propaganda campaigns. Rosie was a composite character: millions of American women spent years working in factories and shipyards producing equipment to be used in the War. They could 'do it.' In this interview SheilahKast speaks with one of the real 'Rosies.' Wilma Foster lives in Laurel and worked as a riveter at Fairchild Aircraft in Hagerstown during the early 1940s. 

Foster's daughter Ann Marie Miller is the President of the Laurel chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association. She is known as a 'rosebud,' a woman who is a descendent of a Rosie. She also joins Sheilah Kast in studio.

The two women discuss finding other Rosies in Maryland, and even treat us to a song--the Rosie the Riveter song, of course. 

Credit Hagerstown Aviation Museum
A 1943 Fairchild PT-19A, donated by Stan Crippen to the Hagerstown Aviation Museum.

You can see a PT-19, the type of plane that Wilma Foster worked on, at the Hagerstown Aviation Museum. The Museum's next event is May 4. 

Wilma Foster on what her grandchildren ask her about her time as a Rosie.
Wilma Foster tells us how she wanted to join to the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) after her time at Fairchild Aircraft ended.
Ann Marie Miller on finding American Rosie the Riveter Association state representatives and how the Laurel Chapter finds Rosies.
Wilma Foster on losing touch with other Rosies, and if she would have stayed at the plant after the War was over.


Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Jamyla Krempel is WYPR's digital content director and the executive producer of Wavelength: Baltimore's Public Radio Journey. She collaborates with reporters, program and podcast hosts to create content for WYPR’s online platforms.