ROSIE THE RIVETER

TRANSCRIPT OF AN INTERVIEW WITH BERTHA CADY


 

October 20, 2005

6:29 minutes

Interviewed by Ann Kelsey

Filmed by Michael OíHagan

For the County College of Morris, Learning Resource Center

Randolph, New Jersey

Rosie the Riveter Project

Transcribed by Jardee Transcription, Tucson, Arizona


Kelsey:  Where were you born, Bertha?

Cady:  Oh, I guess at home.

Kelsey:  In what town?

Cady:  In Shenandoah.

Kelsey:  Pennsylvania?

Cady:  Yeah.

Kelsey:  Where did you live when World War II started?

Cady:  I lived in Shenandoah until I was about nineteen.

Kelsey:  And then where did you go?

Cady:  Come to New Jersey.

Kelsey:  And where did you live in New Jersey?

Cady:  I started off in Passaic, New Jersey.

Kelsey:  And where did you go from there?

Cady:  Nowhere else.  (laughs)  I had a family I had to raise, and go to work.

Kelsey:  So you were married when the war started?

Cady:  Yeah.

Kelsey:  And your husband went into the service?

Cady:  No, he was kind of saved by having the family.

Kelsey:  But you did go to work?

Cady:  Oh, yeah.

Kelsey:  And where did you work?

Cady:  In Manhattan Rubber in Passaic.

Kelsey:  And what did you do there?

Cady:  I was a tubing machine operator.

Kelsey:  What did that involve?

Cady:  That involved making all the hosesóyou know, fire hose, water hoseófor all the ships in the service.  Whatever kind they needed, they made there.

Kelsey:  What year did you go to work there?

Cady:  1942.

Kelsey:  And how long did you work?

Cady:  Until the war was over, and a little after.  But I didnít want to work there on that, because it was a heavy job.  You had a fifty-foot rubber hose, and you had to flip it over on a table.  It was really muscle work, and I really had muscles when I finished working there.  (chuckles)  In fact, the name was very good for everybodyóBig Bertha, big muscles, and all that, you know.

Kelsey:  And how many children did you have?

Cady:  Four.

Kelsey:  While you were working in the factory?

Cady:  Yeah.

Kelsey:  Was your husband working as well?

Cady:  Yeah, he was working in the same place.  He was a precision lathe man.

Kelsey:  Who took care of your children while you were both working?

Cady:  Well, I worked midnights.  I worked from eleven to seven, so I took care of them all day long.  And then come home in the morning, they were getting up, so they never knew their mother was out.  Thatís the way we lived.

Kelsey:  And then your husband took care of them at night, and he went to work in the morning?

Cady:  Yeah.  Well, he went to work, and I had to take care of them.

Kelsey:  And you did this from 1942 to 1945?

Cady:  Yes.  I worked there later, after, but I didnít work on the machines no more.  I told the bosses that I didnít want that work.  As soon as the boys started coming back, they should have a job.  And thatís how it was.  I broke the boy in, and then I left, and I worked somewhere else.

Kelsey:  Where did you go then, where did you work?

Cady:  I worked in the rubber mill, and then they laid me off.  So then I went into Dumont Electronics, in a tooling machine.  We made television tubes, and we made all kinds of tubes for the Air Force and all that.

Kelsey:  And what year was that that you went there?

Cady:  What did I do there?  I was a threader, what they considered.  You had to thread the tube with all the wires, set

          them up and put them in, and make sure they were good.

Kelsey:  What year did you start working there?

Cady:  Oh, I guess about í47 or í48.  I was home in between.

Kelsey:  Did you work there for a long time?

Cady:  Over twenty-five years.

Kelsey:  Did you retire from there?

Cady:  I loved it, because it wasnít muscle [work].  It was a much lighter job, I loved it.  It was tedious, but I loved it, believe me.

Kelsey:  And where was that?

Cady:  In Clifton.  It was Dumont.  If youíve ever heard of Dumont that made the first tube, well, thatís who I worked for.

Kelsey:  Did your husband continue to work at the rubber plant?

Cady:  Well, he worked there, but then he got a cerebral hemorrhage and a stroke, and he was an invalid from then.

Kelsey:  Oh, thatís too bad.

Cady:  Yeah.  Then I had to take over.  I was the father, the mother, and the sole supporter.  I donít know why Iím gonna tell my heartís story.

Kelsey:  No, thatís very commendable.

Cady:  He never spoke a word.  Thereís my oldest grandchild, she never heard him talkónever talked, just made sound.  And that, I had to keep him for over twenty-something years.

Kelsey:  Thatís hard to do.  Well, thank you very much for coming and talking with us.

Cady:  Well, thank you for listening to me.

Kelsey:  We really want to listen to what you have to say.  Itís important.

Cady:  Okay, thank you very much.

Kelsey:  Thank you.

[END OF INTERVIEW]

 

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