Second World War: Douglas Aircraft

Kansan recalls working for Douglas Aircraft while staying with some relatives in Chicago.

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During school vacation, I visited relatives near Chicago. I worked for Douglas Aircraft as a file clerk. I had never been in a large factory before. There was a huge piece of fine coal outside our department. This had to be moved around to prevent spontaneous combustion. Our department was a dirty mess. The employees were dirty from head to foot. My hair was light brown, but at night it was black. 

Fabric was hard to find. One of the stores received a shipment. I bought my mother enough material for a housedress. We could rarely find sheer hose. I was surprised to find plenty of them in the Chicago area. I could only buy them in packages of three pairs. People who had charge accounts with mail-order companies could buy bedding, overalls and shirts most of the time. My cousin could buy overalls in Chicago all the time. He kept my dad and brother-in-law supplied.

Lois Finke Caldwell
Garnett, Kansas


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.