In 1943, Soon after Stan left for the Army Jan Berenstain (then Jan Grant) took a break from her schooling at The Philadelphia Museum School for Industrial Arts (Now UArts) to begin training to be an aircraft riveter. She describes the decision in Stan & Jan’s Autobiography, Down a Sunny Dirt Road:
“At the end of the school term, though, girls were talking about joining the WAVES or the WACCS or doing war work. I was definitely missing the the inspiration of working with a full class of talented artists, too and told Mom and Dad I was going to take a year off from school and earn some money, starting that summer.
I showed up at the U.S. Employment Office on Broad Street with some second-year work I’d done in mechanical-drawing and jewelry classes. I was sent the same day to join a class of young women forming up at Bok Vocational School in South Philadelphia to train to be aircraft riveters. After 2 weeks of on-the-job training (meaning we were paid), we joined the workforce at Brill’s Trolley car factory which had won a Navy contract to assemble center wing sections for PBY Flying Boats.”
Recently Mike Berenstain unearthed an Essay written by Jan after her return to school, describing more in-depth her experience working at the Brill Trolley Car Factory. It is a stream of consciousness writing that vividly portrays the day to day bustle and exhaustion brought on from the tireless work done by Jan and many women left stateside during WWII.
One thought on “Jan Berenstain’s War Years”
Wow. This is actually really inspiring. I wish people would remember the days when we banded together to fight a common evil and believed wholeheartedly in patriotism.