Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wartime Bride

My husband and I married in 1942
by Pauline W.

My Lockheed Martin story begins over 70 years ago. I was born in Clay County, Alabama in 1922. I graduated from Bibb Graves High School in May 1941. My husband-to-be, Charles, went to work at Lockheed in Burbank, California on that same day! A few years earlier, he had moved to Selma, Alabama. That ia where we met.

In 1941, Charles went to school in Nashville, Tennessee, to prepare for work at an aircraft plant. He graduated, and along with several classmates, left for California to find work. Charles found work at Lockheed. The following year, we married in Los Angeles. Our daughter was born at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, along with a movie actress’ child on the same day (I do not remember her name).

Wartime was very different. Gasoline, meats (except chicken, fish, rabbit) coffee, sugar and shoes were rationed. California was beautiful in spite of war. I remember fields of poinsettias and orange, lemon and grapefruit trees. I also recall the tar pits, the oil pumps up and down the streets of Los Angeles and the traffic paddles (instead of traffic lights). On a trip to back home to Alabama, I met Howard Hughes on the train. He was going to see his mother in Texas. We ate meals together. My 15-month-daughter was with me, and Mr. Hughes tried to convince me to put her in movies. I flatly refused.

Charles was working hard at Lockheed. He worked on the P-38 Lightning and on experimental aircraft, including Lockheed’s first jet. After World War II, we came back south to Georgia. Charles went to work for the railroad, and I went to work for the Veterans Administration, which was in the "Bell Bomber Plant." A few years later, Lockheed came to Marietta, and the V.A. moved to Atlanta. In January 1956, I went to Lockheed's employment office on Peachtree Street and applied for a job. I was hired! I went to work at the Marietta plant on January 30, 1956. and I worked there until December 12, 1969. I mostly worked in planning, supporting the C-130 and C141 programs. I was with JetStar from the beginning. On that program, I got the first computer to try out and test.

My husband passed away 27 years ago. I still live in the small house on the 29 acres he bought when he retired.

I worked on the JetStar program, from its beginning.