95-YO Fairfax woman, one of 6 million Rosie the Riveters to reunite with others

95-year-old Phyllis Gould of Fairfax has a story to tell and it's part of American History.

She is among the six million women known as Rosie the Riveter--women who worked on the home front to support the United States during World War II. 

Twilight Wish Foundation, a national nonprofit, granted her a wish to be reunited with other women who also worked to support the war effort in Kansas City this weekend.
   
"That's me ready for work," says Gould as she showed KTVU A faded photo of herself as a 20-year-old welder in Richmond. But her memory is sharp and her energy seems boundless when it comes to working on behalf of the "Rosies" the women symbolized in the icon Rosie the Riveter.

"Unless our stories are told and people realize what women did, it'll be lost," says Gould.  
 
In 1942, Gould was a new mother. She bucked the traditional role of a wife. She wanted to earn her own money and not rely on her husband.

She saw job openings for welders, she appealed and was told she needed to join the boiler maker's union, but was turned down.

"They said no women and no blacks, so I  went home, but I kept going back," says Gould.

She tried four times before she was allowed to join.

She says there simply wasn't enough men around to do the work during the war.
Gould says the job gave her freedom.

"I just went wild. I bought the things I  wanted ...that he would never allow me to have like fancy underwear, Frank Sinatra records, goofy hat," says Gould.  

She's the oldest of three sisters. She had siblings working at the shipyard too.

Gould  helped  build liberty and victory ships.

"That war couldn't have been won the way it was without the women. Every man that was drafted, his job was filled in by a woman regardless of what the job was," says Gould.

She  proudly told KTVU she made 90 cents an hour exactly the same as the men.

"That's my shipyard badge," says Gould as she showed off her employee identification badge which she still wears on occasion.

Gould says she and another Rosie, Mae Krier of Pennsylvania,  convinced lawmakers to pass a resolution designating March 21, 2017 as National Rosie the Riveter Day.

She says this weekend's reunion is a chance to celebrate with other Rosie's.  


"I have to do this because time is running out.  I'm 95 and a half," says Gould.                        

  In 2014, then Vice-President Joe Biden invited her to the White House to grant her the wish of posing for a photo with President Obama in the Oval Office.
   Gould says she still has a lot of work to do.

  She says she'd like to get Congress to designate Rosie the Riveter Day  a national holiday and to have the mint make a commemorative coin.   

   She flies out for the Rosie the Riveter Convention in Kansas City on Thursday.

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