Pansy Ball worked in an aircraft factory during World War II. She is interviewed by her grandson, Brian Payne.(rghs97)
Brian:World War 11. How old were you when World War 11 broke out?
Pansy:I was 20 years old.
Brian:Where were you when you heard the Japanese had attacked Pearl
Pansy:I was at home with my mother.
Brian:What was your reaction?
Pansy:Well, it scared and, you know, it hurt.
Brian:In general, how did people feel about it?
Pansy: Well, they were upset. Because that's something that they didn't want
was a war.
Brian:How did things change when we went to war?
Pansy:Well, it changed, people had a different outlook on life and they
seemed more scared and worried and there was so many that was worrying about
their sons that was going to be drafted. It was a worrisome time.
Brian:Did any of your male relatives or boyfriends go to war?
Pansy:No. I had one brother in the army. He name was Albert, but he didn't
go fight. He just, he got to defend the United States.
Brian:Did farmers have to go?
Brian:How were things rationed?
Pansy: Well, now that, I don't know because I wasn't around here whenever
they started rationing. I know sugar was rationed.
Brian:Did you buy things on the Black Market?
Brian:How did you feel about people who did?
Pansy:I felt they shouldn't have done it.
Brian:Did you feel rationing helped the war effort?
Pansy:In one way, I guess it did.
Brian:What did girls do for entertainment with all the boys away at war?
Pansy:Well, they'd just gather up in little gangs and spend time together
and talk about their boyfriends and their love life.
Brian: Did you work during the war?
Pansy:At Quantico at the marine and navy base.
Brian: How long?
Brian:What was your pay?
Pansy:Approximately $225 a month.
Brian:What was the work like?
Pansy:Well, I worked on the F4U fighters, airplanes. It was interesting and
it wasn't too hard.
Brian:Where did you live?
Pansy:I lived at Quantico some and then went to Fredricksburg. There
was 4, 3 more girls, we got an apartment and lived in Fredricksburg,
Brian:Who did you work with?
Pansy:I worked in the hangers with the Marines and civilians.
Brian:Were they mostly women?
Pansy:No, they was about equal. See, I was in the Marines, myself. But
after we were there a certainy time, we didn't have to stay on the base. We
could move into apartments and we would drive. A bunch of us would, just
like going to a factory, they do now to work, we'd..
Brian:What exactly did you do?
Pansy:Well, I was a riveter. I helped put the instruments in the cockpit of
a plane. I worked very little on the engines. I worked in the cockpit of a
plane, the fuselage, the tail section, the wings, and one time, I fell off
of a wing. Broke my thumb, had to go the base and have splints put on it.
Brian:Did it hurt?
Pansy:No, the shot they give me hurt worse than my thumb.
Brian:Describe a typical workday.
Pansy:Well, sometimes it was nerve racking, especially when you had to get
in the plane and clean glass and blood and stuff out. You see, what they
did, they would bring the ships that come into Quantico. There was two
sections. There was Brown Field and Turner Field. And it was Navy and
M arine. They would bring the airplanes in on big ships that would be shot
down over seas and we had to repair them and clean them out. And sometimes
it would break your heart to see the blood and the glass and stuff that we
had to clean out, not knowing whether it was someone that we knew or some of
our relatives. Somedays it was good and somedays it was heartbreaking.
Brian:What did you have for lunch?
Pansy:I don't remember, I guess a little bit of this and a little bit of
Brian:Did you get breakfast?
Pansy: Oh, yeah. We'd get our three meals.
Brian:Did you get any breaks?
Pansy: Yeah, we got a 10 minute break at morning for the ones that wanted to
smoke or just relax and 10 minutes in the evening.
Brian:How many hours a day did you work?
Pansy: 8 hours.
Brian:Did any of the supervisors harass you?
Brian:Was there a union?
Brian:Were there ever any accidents?
Pansy:I saw one. We had worked on a plane and the pilot took it up before
they put it on the ship to send it back. And something happened to it and
they spoke on the intercom for us all to clear the hanger. So we all went
out to see. It was right on the banks of the river. And that plane crashed
into the river.
Brian:Did you pull it out and refix ft?
Pansy:Whenever it hit the water, it went into pieces.
Brian:So did they just leave it?
Pansy:Yeah. But the pilot, he jumped out and a boat went out and got him and
he walked to the sick bay. That was the hospital. We called it sick bay and
the pilot wasn't hurt. But that's the only accident I saw. Only people, you
know, --- off the plane, working, you know.
Brian: Do remember any amusing incidents on the job?
Pansy:No because it was all too serious. There wasn't any amusement, you
know, Anything to amuse anybody. It was all serious.
Brian:Do you feel you were part of the war effort?
Brian:Did you read the newspapers or listen to the radio?
Brian:Did you go to the movies and watch news reels?
Brian:How did you feel about the Germans?
Pansy:How didn't I feel about them? I could've took them all out and shot
Brian:What about the Italians?
Pansy:They wasn't a big concern. The Germans was the biggest concern.
Brian:How'd you feel about the Japanese?
Pansy:I didn't like them. I've took them out and shot them, too.
Brian:How about Adolf Hitler?
Pansy:Now, I'd like to have got my hands on him. I might have been little,
but I bet I could've killed him.
Brian:Do you remember VE day?
Brian:What was it like?
Pansy:Well, sort of enjoyable, sort of sad.
Brian:Do you recall dropping the atomic bomb?
Brian:What was it like when the soldiers came home?
Pansy:It was a happy time.
Brian:Were there any parties thrown?
Pansy:Oh, yes. Yes, there was parties that went on for days and days and
everybody was happy.
Brian:Did you personally greet anyone?
Pansy:Well, a bunch of us would gather up and we'd greet the soldiers and
the sailors and the marines. We had no special pick and we'd go out to
restaurants and eat and listen to the "Old Nickelodeon" they called it back
then, and just sit around and talk and drink a beer every and then.
Brian:Do you remember any of the dances that was going on back then?
Pansy:Yeah, the old Charleston and the old two-step. And there was one
more that I can't think of. The twist.
Brian:How did things change for you after the war?
Pansy:Well, I come home and got married and started raising a family.
Brian:Did you lose your job after the war?
Pansy:Yeah, I could've stayed, but I wanted to come home to be with my
Brain:How did the economy change?
Pansy: Well, we started getting worse.
Brian:How did it affect women working?
Pansy:It took a toll out of them. It affected them because jobs was hard to
find. See, during the war, there was so many jobs, you know, in civil
defense and all like that.
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