G is for Gail’s Bookshelf – Slacks and Calluses

Slacks and Calluses is a first-hand account of women factory workers in WWII. It’s the memories of two school teachers in California who used their summer vacation to help the war effort. They took jobs in a bomber factory and found the work much harder than they expected.


slacks and calluses goodreads

Book Cover

This book is their lively account of what it was like and reads somewhat like a diary. It gives a glimpse into an aircraft factory during WWII. The authors are Constance Bowman Reid and Sandra M. Gilbert.


I found this quite interesting, as my mother, Gail Lee Martin, had worked for Boeing during the war in Wichita, KS. After I read the book, I passed it along to Mom for her bookshelf. Later, I asked how she liked it. She said it was fairly similar to her experience at Boeing.

I kept nagging my mother to write more about her memories of working at Boeing and she did oblige with several emails. Sure wish I’d been able to get her to tell more details. In Slacks and Calluses, they mention the problem of getting aluminum slivers in their hair. You’ll note in the cover photo above, the young woman has a snood over her hair.

The photo below is my mother, Gail McGhee, at that time. She has on her work uniform and has her hair pulled back away from her face, but not entirely covered.

gail mcghee boeing wichita edited

Gail Lee McGhee, later Martin – wearing her Boeing uniform in WWII


4 thoughts on “G is for Gail’s Bookshelf – Slacks and Calluses

  1. It’s really difficult getting older people to talk about their experiences, isn’t it. But you’re lucky to have some information, plus the book that gives you an idea of what it was like for your mother. Lovely photo.


  2. Pingback: Plans for the A to Z Blog Challenge | Discovering Mom

  3. Pingback: Not the A to Z Blog | Virginia Allain

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