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Lura the Knitter…Bly, Oregon’s answer to Rosie the Riveter…

Story ID:7434
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Dillon Montana USA
Year:2011
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Lura the Knitter…Bly, Oregon’s answer to Rosie the Riveter…
By Chuck Dishno

When World War Two started in December, 1941 most young men were either drafted or enlisted in the various branches of the military. My two brothers, Frank and Bud were no exception.

I was only 6 years old at the time but remember seeing them get on a troop train in Klamath Falls. I thought I might never see them again.

Because of the draft, the work force all across the U.S. was greatly depleted. Auto manufacturers were converting their plants to make airplanes, tanks and other necessary things for the defense of our country.

To fill the vacancies left by men, many women went to work for defense. This was brought to their attention by an article in Life Magazine titled “Rosie the Riveter”. It pictured a young secretary handling a large riveting gun in an aircraft plant. Needless to say, women all over the country volunteered to fill the vacancies.

In Bly, there wasn’t much manufacturing but a group of ladies got together with the American Red Cross and volunteered to knit wool items for the soldiers.

This was great with the Red Cross and before long a huge box of Khaki yarn arrived with patterns for gloves, socks, ski type masks and scarves.

The ladies were excited to be able to do something for the war effort and several times a week they would get together and have a knitting party. Sometimes I think they did more chatting than knitting but my Mom, Lura Dishno was the exception.

Mom had always done things fast and her manual dexterity was fantastic. The other ladies would just sit and watch her needles fly and click. It wasn’t long before Mom decided to take some yarn home to knit in her spare time, not that she had that much time but she never let a second go to waste.

My Pop would always sit and listen to the war news then want to play cribbage with Mom. Mom would always oblige him but would get board waiting for him to make a play and would pick up her knitting to fill in the wasted seconds. Pop didn’t mind this too much as he usually lost anyway. After a few hands he would get up and go downtown to the pool hall and watch the card games being played there. He particularly liked one called Pan, but I don’t think he ever played it. When he came home he would tell Mom about the games and describe every play while she knitted away.

The word soon got out that she knitted about 3 times faster than the rest of the ladies and soon the Red Cross sent Mom her own box of khaki yarn. Mom was delighted and really put on a burst of speed. As soon as she finished one box of yarn she would fill it with the knitted items and call for a pick-up. At one time, the Klamath Falls newspaper did an article about the lady in Bly who was doing her part for the war effort.

Naturally there was quite a bit of yarn scraps left that Mom put to good use. She would tie all the ends of the yarn together and use one or more of the patterns to make gloves, socks and face-masks for me. I used them for years after the war.

When my brothers came home on furlough and saw what Mom was doing they said that they were issued some gloves and socks too. I just hope they got the ones that were lovingly made by “Lura the Knitter” in the little town of Bly, Oregon.

Mom lived to be 95 years old and never slowed down. She made afghans right up to the time she passed away. It was getting a little hard for her to see by then so Roz would finish the edges for her.

Mom now resides in Heaven and I hope she gets to meet up with “Rosie the Riveter” and establish bragging rights for her effort.

I am certain there are soldiers or sailors who’s lives were changed by the rivets and yarn.