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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Women Find Their Place

By Lorene Walker Auld, September 15, 2008
In February 1943, my life took on a new dimension when I accepted a job with Jarecki Manufacturing Company, an oil field supply company located on Southeast 29th Street in Oklahoma City.  
For blocks along this street were oil-related businesses, and at that time only men were employed to perform the secretarial and clerical duties.  Of course, their duties might also include the handling of tools, parts, pipes, etc., that were stocked for sale to the oil industry.  World War II brought about a change in this practice since men were now carrying out their duties in military service. 
This company, which was headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, had never hired a female for office work, so I was in on the ground floor of this change.  The company manager had just hired a personal secretary; and shortly thereafter, I came on board as an office clerk.
The building was a huge wooden warehouse with separate rooms partitioned for the manager=s office, two rooms for the clerical staff, and one restroom.  Within a very short time, a second restroom was added to provide for the female employees.
In the middle of the building was a huge potbellied, wood burning stove that provided heat for the entire structure.  When I arrived early each morning, it was my privilege to enjoy visiting with the man who opened the store for business and who also started the fire in the stove.  He was a kind, courteous gentleman who helped me to adjust to my new environment.
Why did I arrive so early each day?  I lived with my parents, and my transportation was provided by my father Luther Walker.  He was working at Will Rogers Air Base, and he had to report to work about seven in the morning.  We lived on an acreage located on Southeast 29th Street near Tinker Field more than five miles east of Jarecki, and Will Rogers Air Base was located southwest of Oklahoma City.  That extra time I spent each morning before the other staff arrived provided an opportunity to broaden my horizon in the field of business.
As I recall, the company was maintaining their inventory by Amemory.  I was assigned the task of setting up an inventory card file for everything in the warehouse and in the yard.  The male employees did the hands-on inventory and furnished a handwritten copy for my use. 
I completed the card file and maintained it from the invoices of items received from headquarters, and the sales tickets of items sold to customers.   Several years later my father told me that he had recently met the manager of Jarecki, and he was pleased to report they were still using the inventory card file that I had prepared.
I consider it an honor to have been among those women in our country who Abroke ground in many professions during World War II.  We demonstrated effectively the use of our gifts, endowed by God, for the betterment of the human race.

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