Kelsey: Where were you born and
Doniloski: Actually, Mine Hill, and raised in Mt.
Hope, New Jersey.
Which is part of Rockaway?
Doniloski: Rockaway Township.
When the war started, were you married or single?
Where did you live during the war?
During the war I lived on Mt. Hope Road, Rockaway.
It used to be called Middletown.
How did you get into working in the defense
industry, and where did you work?
Doniloski: Carpooled. We used to live on the—going
to the arsenal, I used to get a ride from carpools.
Okay, so you worked at Picatinny?
Doniloski: I worked at Picatinny, yes.
And what did you do there?
Doniloski: I was working in the loading department.
And what did that involve, what did you do?
Doniloski: Well, I worked on various components, on
the conveyor belts. And I worked on some machines
and drilling and stuff, and inspection.
And what were you making, what was the drilling and
Doniloski: Ammunition—relays and delays, primers,
stuff like that.
That went into ordnance?
Doniloski: Yes, fuzes—went into fuzes.
And when did you start working there?
Doniloski: July 19, 1941.
And what had you been doing before that?
Doniloski: I got out of high school at seventeen,
and couldn’t get a job, so I had to wait until I was
eighteen. I was
eighteen in April, and I went in
July to Picatinny.
And then how long did you work there?
Doniloski: Until the war was over, and I got laid
off during the month of October, 1945.
And did you do the same type of job the whole time
you were there, or did you move to different things?
Doniloski: In the loading. Yeah, different
buildings, and different jobs.
And what other kinds of jobs did you do?
Doniloski: Clerical work also. Well, mostly
inspection and clerical work and working on the
line, and testing.
Kelsey: What things did you test?
Doniloski: Delays. And I carried powder from the
building to the building for the operation of the
So you carried black powder?
And how did you carry it, what did you carry it in?
Doniloski: Safety containers.
Did you just carry them in your hands?
Doniloski: In the container.
But you carried it in your hands, or did you pull it
Doniloski: No, no.
So you would carry one at a time?
Doniloski: Well, the powder would be in containers.
And one container of powder at a time?
Doniloski: Well, yeah, samples—just samples.
How big were the containers?
Doniloski: Very small.
Okay, like a canned good?
Doniloski: Yes. Yeah, something.
Did you think that was dangerous? Did you think
about it being dangerous?
Doniloski: Well, being young, you didn’t really
have any fear.
Kelsey: Did anybody get hurt doing
Doniloski: No. Well, there were people on the
lines that got hurt, but I mean accidents happened
all over. No, there
was no fear when you were young—there was no fear.
I know, you’re “immortal”. So when you were laid
off in 1945, then what did you do?
Doniloski: Had to get another job, and I went into
McGregor’s factory, that was right in Dover.
And what did you do there?
Doniloski: I was working in the prep department, at
clerical work, doing purchasing orders.
And how long did you work there?
Doniloski: A couple of months, and then I got
called back to the arsenal.
Oh, you did?!
Doniloski: Yes, just for six months when the boys
were comin’ back. And then they would get laid off,
and I went back
there again in ’51, and I stayed there a couple of
years, and then I was pregnant. I had a premature
worked Friday and he was born Sunday. So that was
it, and I was home for ten years, and then I got
Back to Picatinny?
Doniloski: Yes. That was years and years after,
but I wound up with thirty years of service.
Doniloski: I retired in 1988
So you worked at Picatinny for how many….
Doniloski: Thirty years.
Kelsey: Thirty continuous years?
Doniloski: Well, no.
Kelsey: Or thirty years from 1941…
Doniloski: Altogether, yes. Well,
continuous was twenty-three.
Kelsey: What did you do when you
went back and then worked the twenty-three years,
what did you do there?
Doniloski: I was working in the
machine shop at that time, working on the punch
press. Then I was working, drilling delays and
stuff. And then I got into the clerical work when
Frankford Arsenal came up. And then I went into
large caliber and small caliber, and I wound up with
Kelsey: So Picatinny kept contacting
you to come back to work?
Doniloski: Yeah. Well, they didn’t
contact me—the board was open and I went back.
Kelsey: I see.
Doniloski: They had an opening.
Kelsey: You went back and reapplied?
Kelsey: Did a lot of women do that?
Doniloski: Oh, yes. They worked for
a while, and then they raised their children.
That’s what I did. I mean, I raised three
children—with working and raising the kids.
Kelsey: That’s very interesting,
that you had a career, really, at Picatinny, spaced
out over a number of years. That’s
actually fascinating. All right, well, thank you very much. I think that’s a good
first interview. There’ll be more.
actually the first woman I’ve talked to, who has
mentioned that they were laid off and then went
Doniloski: Oh, yeah? Well, I had
to. There’s nothing going to go against me here, is
Kelsey: Oh, no! I think it’s
wonderful. Absolutely not—I think it’s wonderful!
Doniloski: I’m scared to even say
Kelsey: Oh, no, no, no.
O’Hagan: Not at all. It’s a
fantastic interview, it really was. For us, I think
it’s just something neat to have a chance to see and
talk to somebody that has done a different kind of
story. It’s neat to hear everybody’s different
experience. That’s fantastic. I think it was
great, a very good interview.
Doniloski: I wound up with the
auditing department. Well, that’s that, huh?
Kelsey: [Yes, thank you.]
[END OF INTERVIEW]