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A collection of WWII memoirs, stories, and poems from the heart of Clara A. Bastien Treat
Clara Treat is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She is a well-known antique dealer, inventor, and WWII Rosie-the-Riveter. Her writing has been inspired by love of family, freedom, and country. Heartland Verses is a collection of her works.
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Memoirs of a Rosie the Riveter
North Tonawanda, New York
December 4, 1941
A few days before the Pearl Harbor attack
The days before Pearl Harbor were some of the happiest in my life. The gang met at my house two or three evenings a week to play cards, listen to the player piano, talk, and eat a wonderful snack that my mother provided. The house had been built around the turn of the century and had a long room in the front with a lovely front porch. A gas log fireplace provided a cozy and warm place for us to meet.
Three tables were set up for pinochle and the front parlor served as a dance floor. There were fourteen young men and four young women in our group. Some families wouldn’t allow their daughters to participate because they thought we were too wild, but it wasn’t true. We were as innocent and pure as the driven snow. After a while, we would roll up the rugs and dance to the player piano or a lively tune on the radio.
Most of the guys were like brothers to us, except for a few. I was regarded as Chester’s girl and my sister Julie, who was younger, was unattached. She did however take the time to flirt with each and every one of them.
We were coming out of the depression, which had held us down for so long. Some of our friends joined the army and navy to get a job and joined us on furlough. To survive tough times my widowed mother ran a boarding house, providing two meals a day, a packed lunch, and a place to sleep for seven men. My sister and I helped out; keeping busy with laundry, ironing, and housework and my brother Jim kept the lawn and maintained the house.
On top of that, Julie and I worked as usherettes at the Riviera Theatre several evenings a week. It was a busy life, but we enjoyed ourselves. There was no time to get into trouble.
Then, everything changed…