ROSIE THE RIVETER

TRANSCRIPT OF AN INTERVIEW WITH PHILOMINA DITARANTO


 

October 20, 2005

7:22 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, Philomina?

DiTaranto:  On North Street in Madison, New Jersey.

Kelsey:  You were born in the same house you live in now?

DiTaranto:  No, not the same house, but on the same street.

Kelsey:  And is that where you lived during World War II?

DiTaranto:  Yes.

Kelsey:  Were you married or single when the war started?

DiTaranto:  I was single.

Kelsey:  How did you happen to start working in the defense industry?

DiTaranto:  Well, there were three other people that got hired, and then they called up.  They called me up and said that

             they were hiring, so I went there and I got hired.

Kelsey:  What year was that?

Son of narrator:  1938.

DiTaranto:  í38.

Kelsey:  So this was before the war started?  You were working there before World War II started, then?

Son of narrator:  Yeah.

Kelsey:  What company did you work for?

DiTaranto:  For Hyatt Roller Bearing.

Kelsey:  And where was that located?

DiTaranto:  In Rahway, New Jersey.

Kelsey:  And how did you get from Madison to Rahway?

DiTaranto:  We had a driver.  They used to drive seven girls back and forth.

Kelsey:  And the company provided?

DiTaranto:  No, no, we paid.  I paid seven dollars a week for the driver to take me to work.

Kelsey:  And what did you do there?

DiTaranto:  I was the leader.  I was there six months, and I became a leader.  I took a government test for the roller

            bearings, for the bearings department:  like for the trucks, they used to make bearings for the trucks, the

            airplanes and the cars, for the service.  So they gave me a test, and I passed it, and I was a checker.  People

            had to make so many pans of work.  And I had to make sure that there was no cracks, no seams, for

            sabotaging.  And the Army and the Navy came in and took a movie of the bearings.  They gave me an eight-by-

            ten picture, but they kept for themselves like how we were doing the bearings, and make sure that there were no

            cracks or seams for sabotage, and thatís it.

Kelsey:  Did you do the same kind of work after 1941 as you did before?

DiTaranto:  Yes.  I quit there in 1945.

Kelsey:  Did you quit, or were you laid off?

DiTaranto:  Well, I had to quit because we worked three shifts, and I couldnít take the third shift.  So when I went in and

            asked if I could justómy doctor didnít want me to work the three shifts, because then I was too sick.  He wanted

            me to maybe only work only two shifts, instead of three.  They couldnít give it to me.  They said, ďIf we give it to

            you, and other people come in with a doctorís paper, then we gotta give it to them, too.  We have to accept

            theirs.  We know yours is true.Ē  So I quit.

Kelsey:  How many hours a week did you work?

DiTaranto:  Forty.

Kelsey:  And how many days a week?

DiTaranto:  Five.

Kelsey:  Monday through Friday?

DiTaranto:  Yeah.

Kelsey:  What did you do after you quit working there?

DiTaranto:  I got married in í47.  I never worked no more.

Kelsey:  So after you got married, you didnít work outside the home again?

DiTaranto:  No.

Kelsey:  So what do you think about your work experience?

DiTaranto:  It was nice.  I only worked seven years of my life, you might as well say.  Then I got married in í47.  Then I

             had three children, and I never went to work no more.

Kelsey:  That was probably work, too!  So did you ever think that you might want to go back and do similar kind of work

             again?  I mean, not now, butÖ.

DiTaranto:  Then?  (Kelsey:  Yeah.)  No.  I donít want to work.  Enough work in the house.

Kelsey:  Now, you said you worked three shifts.  Did you alternate those shifts?

DiTaranto:  Every week, I think, or every two weeks we had to work:  the first shift, the second shift, and the midnight

             shift.  The midnight shift, I couldnít do it, so thatís why I quit.  I was sick.

Kelsey:  And you worked how many hours a day?

DiTaranto:  I guess it was eight hours.  I donít remember for sure.  But yeah, it was eight hours.  It was.

Kelsey:  Did you have more difficulty getting transportation after the war started?

DiTaranto:  No.  Never.

Kelsey:  Because you were still commuting from Madison to Rahway.

DiTaranto:  Yeah.  And I never had no troubleónever.

Kelsey:  Did the same seven women commute all those years?

DiTaranto:  Yeah.

Kelsey:  Really?!

DiTaranto:  Yeah.  In fact, the little ladies, they stayed there.  One of them stayed there for over forty years.  She was

             supposed to come today, but she had a cold, and she couldnít come.

Kelsey:  Thatís too bad.

DiTaranto:  Her name was out there, too, but she had a cough.  I said, ďDonít come if youíve got a cough.Ē

Kelsey:  Do you keep in touch with these women?

DiTaranto:  Oh, yeah!  Oh, yeah.  Only two are left, just her and I.  The rest are all gone.  Yeah, weíre lucky to be here.

Kelsey:  Weíre lucky to have you here!

DiTaranto:  And Iím lucky to be here too!

Kelsey:  Well, we feel very fortunate that youíre here, and that we were able to talk to you.

DiTaranto:  All the rest are gone.  All the other people are all gone.  Theyíre gone.  I liked it.  I never worked, really.

Kelsey:  But you did something for the war effort, right?

DiTaranto:  Yeah, right.  I had three children.  They werenít right away, either.  I got married in í47, he was born in í50.  I

             didnít want no kids either!  (laughter)

Kelsey:  Okay.  Well, I think that was great.  Thatís a great way to end.  Thank you very much.

DiTaranto:  Youíre welcome, Iím sure.

[END OF INTERVIEW]

 

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