A Softer Side of Lockheed
by Elinor Penry deSosa
John Burroughs High School Class of 1950
(From the February 2007 Senior Bulldogs News)
For a few months between Winter 1950 graduation and college in the fall, I was a “roller-skater” at Lockheed in Burbank.
My father had been a P-38 supervisor there during World War II, and he had sent me to apply for a job.
Three or four of us young ladies delivered plans (printed on blue linen) to draftsmen who worked in rows at their desks. We sped down long halls in a big upstairs room, our ponytails flying and our skirts flapping. We never wore shorts or trousers, and usually wore bobby sox and saddle shoes with our roller skates clamped tightly to the soles. I don't remember that any of us ever fell, nor did we ever lose our skate keys.
Remember skate keys?
The plans were blue, kept rolled up and filed on shelves in a cramped cubicle until needed. When several of us realized that unwanted plans were due to be destroyed, we decided we could make better use of them.
The guards at the gate were quite used to us coming through with our tall, round knitting bags instead of purses, in case we needed something to do during the slow times. They didn't pay any attention to us as we left with the old, unwanted plans rolled tightly with our knitting at the end of a busy day... with a smile and a "Goodnight!" we were gone.
After soaking our smuggled goods, boiling the old plans and applying some elbow grease, we were left with large pieces of the palest blue fine linen – which was hard to find in 1950. I sewed a summer dress from a few pieces and I still use a treetop Christmas Angel I made, which I dressed in some of that Lockheed linen I obtained 56 years ago!