Stella Sarnacki was born in Poland in January 1923. She was born on a farm. She is one of four children. Her father spent a lot of time in America. He went to America just before World War One [Annotator's Note: World War 1, global war originating in Europe; 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918] to find a job and a better life. The family moved to the United States in 1928 when Sarnacki was five years old. They took a big boat and arrived at Ellis Island [Annotator’s Note: Ellis Island, New York the busiest immigrant inspection and processing station in the United States]. When they arrived, they had naturalization papers. Their uncle met them. They found out their father was dead. Her uncle brought them to Detroit [Annotator’s Note: Detroit, Michigan]. She went to public school for one year and then went to Catholic school. Sarnacki did not graduate because she quit school to go to work. She got a job at Sanders. Then she worked as an elevator operator. She was 18 years old when the war broke out in December [Annotator's Note: the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 December 1941]. In January [Annotator’s Note: of 1942], she heard Ford Motor Company was hiring women to help with the war effort. Her younger brother joined the Marines.
Stella Sarnacki found out that her father died from causes of the war like the gas. She does not remember her grandparents, but she remembers her two aunts. Her aunts were taken to Germany during the war. They survived. Her mother wrote letters to them. They were home having breakfast when they heard about the attack [Annotator's Note: the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 December 1941]. When they went on rations, everyone tried to help each other out. People moved there for the jobs. They were hiring in Detroit [Annotator’s Note: Detroit, Michigan]. Sarnacki went to training after she was hired. After a few months, they went to Highland Park to work on machines. They taught the girls to work on a shaper machine. Then they went to work on a screw machine in production to make bearings. They hoped they would not have to work too long and the men would come home. She wrote to her brother [Annotator’s Note: who was serving in the Marine Corps]. He was discharged because he got a fungus on his feet. Sarnacki’s job helped her mother because she gave her money to her mother. She made a dollar and a quarter an hour. Her mother remarried. Work was hard to come by. They had the WPA [Annotator's Note: the Works Progress Administration was a federally sponsored program that put unemployed Americans to work during the Great Depression] and the father had to work.
Stella Sarnacki knew the work she was doing was important. Her brother [Annotator’s Note: who was serving in the Marine Corps] would come to mind. She met a lot of servicemen and went out on dates. The letters were censored so they never knew where they were. A Marine she had never met wrote a letter to her because he saw her picture from another Marine. She wrote to the servicemen to keep up their morale. She remembers when Roosevelt died [Annotator's Note: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States, died 12 April 1945]. They heard it on the radio. They were making bearings for the aircrafts. She remembers hearing about the bombs [Annotator's Note: nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, 6 and 9 August 1945], Doolittle [Annotator's Note: bombing attack on the Japanese mainland on 18 April 1942 carried out by 16 North American B-25 Mitchell medium bombers launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) and named for the raid's commander, then US Army Air Forces Colonel, later US Air Force General, James H. Doolittle], and Truman [Annotator's Note: Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States] giving the signal. Her husband was wounded on Saipan [Annotator’s Note: Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands]. He was learning Japanese. When they were clearing Nagasaki [Annotator’s Note: Nagasaki, Japan], her husband was a supervisor. They were happy the war was over. She met her husband in September 1946. He was the Marine she had been corresponding with. They went out to dinner and a dance. They married the following April. They were married over 53 years and had four daughters.
Stella Sarnacki was laid off when the war ended. She met her husband through the mail. [Annotator’s Note: Sarnacki’s husband was a Marine who saw her picture and began writing to her]. She got jobs in smaller factories. She learned to run different machines. It was easy for her to get a job after working for Ford during the war. The war caused them to grow up and appreciate what they had. They had rationing. They would trade for cream or meat. Her mother would make butter. They could not live without butter. Most people have never heard of Rosie the Riveter [Annotator's Note: nickname used to identify any female working in a physical role in the defense industry during World War 2]. She just wanted the war to end.
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