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Rosie the riveter, still at it at the age of 93

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A LIFETIME ON THE PRODUCTION LINE: ONE OF THE ORIGINAL "ROSIE THE RIVETERS" , 93 STILL DOING THE SAME WORK SHE BEGAN DURING WWII.

 

 

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Elinor Otto, was one of the original "Rosie the Riveters" women who supported the war effort by filling tens of thousands of jobs because men had joined the fighting overseas.

When Elinor Otto entered an aircraft assembly factory during World War II, she never imagined that she would still be working as a riveter more than 70 years later.
The 93-year-old first joined the workforce as a single mom in 1942, piecing together planes at Rohr Aircraft Corporation in Chula Vista to support the war effort. 
But rather than dip out of work or take a traditionally 'female' job at the war's end like other 'Rosie the Riveter' women, Otto returned to the plane assembly line where she felt most productive.
She worked at the Ryan Aeronautical Co. in San Diego for 14 years, before moving to her current job at Long Beach's C-17 plant, the state's last large military aircraft production line.
'I'm a working person, I guess. I like to work. I like to be around people that work,' she told NBC News.
'I like to get up, get out of the house, get something accomplished during the day.'
She said retiring at the standard age was never an option, because she had to care for her son and mother, and she had 'endless energy'. 
Although when Boeing finishes off its last contract for the cargo planes, she will probably have to call it a day.

While the Long Beach resident admits that riveting is not an occupation in which you'd expect to find an elderly woman, the work helps to keep her on her toes. 
She is out of bed every morning at 4am and gets a coffee and newspaper, before starting work by 6am. 
She parks as far away from the plant as possible so she can walk over - her morning exercise.
'Gotta keep moving!' she chirps. 
The great grandmother's dedication and longevity have made her a local legend, with her boss admitting he sometimes turns to her for professional advice.
'She's an inspiration,' colleague Craig Ryba, a structural mechanic, said. 'She just enjoys working and enjoys life.'

 

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Elinor inserts rivets into the wing section of C-17 cargo planes at the California Boeing plant...a job she has held since 1942.

 

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Otto was recently honored when Long Beach opened Rosie the Riveter Park next to the site of the former Douglas Aircraft Co. plant, where women worked during World War II, according to LA Times.
It celebrates not only the Rosie the Riveter era, but the later women's empowerment movement propelled by the slogan attached to the iconic Rosie wartime poster, 'We Can Do It!'
Otto is one of the original women who took up thousands of factory jobs vacated by men sent to fight overseas.
In its heyday, the C-17 plant was fully staffed with a parking lot so big that workers put flags on their cars to find them in the sea of vehicles, Otto told LA Times.
Long Beach's aerospace industry has shrunk markedly since the war, causing production to dwindle and many jobs becoming more mechanized.
The fact that Otto kept her job well beyond retirement age when others were losing theirs is testament to her skill and legendary status.

 

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However Otto overcame numerous hurdles on the way to fame. 

LA Times reported Otto was newly single with a young son when she joined the war effort with her two sisters.
'During those days, we could hardly find an apartment that would let you rent with kids. My goodness, they're going to go to war someday and they can't even live in an apartment,' she said. 
In her first job, she earned just 65 cents an hour - her son's childcare cost $20 a month.
Her male colleagues resented her at first, but eventually accepted that women could do the same job just as well - if not better. 
Otto's grandson, John Perry, said his grandmother made history. 
'You've saved American lives and you've been saving American lives your whole life,' Perry said he told Otto. 
'It's a powerful story, a positive story, and one hell of a tribute to the female work force.'
While Otto expects she will retire soon, she admits her energy is boundless. 
'When I go to heaven,' she laughed. 'I hope God keeps me busy!'

 

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Elinor (in the middle) in 1943.

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I saw this on the news last night. Vary cool. My grandmother was a rivet inspector at the Willow Run bomber plant during WWII. 

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She's a blessing to the world of aviation and this country.

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My grandmother worked on P-38s for Lockheed. She was a supervisor or something. I never got to ask her much about it, she died in 1981 and I never knew until years later what she did.

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Rosie the riveter ! Hey that's my proctologist's nickname or is it Dora the explorer !

Edited by Atreides

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