Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Helen the Riverter, the General's Wife

My friend who is cooped up in the coup shall remain nameless for now until I see how serious the coupers take themselves.

He was telling me a day or so ago in an email that his grandfather fought as a private in the Civil War on the Confederate side. That is strange math. Your parent’s parent fought in the Civil War over 140 years ago?

But after he explained told the details it made sense. His grandfather went into the war at age 16. Afterwards he married and had a family and later in life he married again and had another family. The youngest child of his second family was his parent…. And he is the youngest of his family.

That reminded me of General James Longstreet’s wife Helen Dortch Longstreet. I think the General and Helen married late in the General’s life, yet early in Helen Dortch’s life.

When the U.S. got pulled into World War II here in Marietta Bell Bomber, commonly known as “The Bomber Plant” started manufacturing B-29s and I think other B’s. Men were in uniform so women were called on to fill places on the assembly line, think of “Rose the Riveter”.

One of the women Bell Bomber hired was 80 year old Helen Dortch Longstreet (b.1963). The management found out she was more of a taker than a worker and loved her connections to people in high places. She was apt to call Eleanor Roosevelt or the Governor of Georgia and throw in her two cents. She was in the unique position of being a General’s wife, even if it was for a military that no longer existed, and when she talked people of elite status listened, if only to be polite.

More than one supervisor spoke to her about her lack of work and the next thing the supervisor would be called in and asked how did he like his job there… there were some do’s and don’ts they had to learn the hard way.

And that is one of the basic rules of big organizations: Find out who can get away with murder and who can’t.

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