Words for Women Writing Memoirs, #30

by Matilda Butler on January 30, 2012

catnav-rosies-daughters-activePost #42– Women’s Memoirs, Rosie the Riveter – Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Memoir Writers, Storytellers and Journalers, All Benefit from Careful Word Choice

Here’s the 30th word on our list that can first be attributed to the period of World War II between 1940 and 1945.

This one is fascinating. If you say Astrodome today, most people will immediately think of the Houston Astrodome. The concept for a stadium enclosed with a dome was proposed in the mid-1950s. And although I can’t find the direct link to the astrodome on a WWII airplane, I’m sure that is the connection. By 1960, Houston had leveraged its plan to get a MLB team to the city and the stadium was completed in 1965. The team, of course, became the Houston Astros. The translucent panels of the dome were designed to let in daylight so that the grass on the baseball field could grow. The sun and the grass got along just fine. However, the outfielders couldn’t catch balls in the afternoon because the glare through the panels blinded them. After a number of the panels were painted over, the grass was no longer happy.

The end result? A new kind of synthetic grass that we call …… yes, AstroTurf.

And what about the Houston Astros now? They play in a new downtown location called Minute Maid Park — with a retractable-roof that allows them to have real grass rather than AstroTurf.

astrodome, n.

Etymology: < astro (star) - comb. form + dome n. Aeronaut.

Definition: A transparent dome on the top of the fuselage of an aircraft from within which astronomical observations can be made.

First use as listed in Oxford English Dictionary:

1941 Aeropl. Spotter 16 Jan. 23 (caption) Astro Dome.
1942 We speak from the Air xi. 34 As second pilot I was in the astro-dome keeping a look-out all round.
1943 Times 11 Mar. 2/5 The astrodome was shot away; and the bomb doors would not close.

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Background for Our (Mostly) Daily Word from World War II

A memoir writer carefully chooses her words. That’s the only way to convey meaning and emotion to readers. There is another level of word choice that a writer needs to consider. Words that are appropriate for the time period.

When Kendra and I were writing our collective memoir, Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story, we kept a book nearby that contained a new word that gained popularity in each year. This became a vital resource as we tried to find ways to recreate the different decades.

Let’s say you are writing about your childhood and using dialogue. Not only should you use the language level appropriate for your age, you should also be careful to not include words that weren’t even in the dictionary at that time.

Introducing Words First Known to be Used During World War II

This year, we’re going to bring you words introduced during World War II — 1940-1945. We continue our fascination with that period after our research for writing the memoir Rosie’s Daughters. Words from an era help to define that time period. We’ll post a word almost every day — always late in the afternoon. Be sure to check in regularly.

Where do we find these words? The Oxford English Dictionary, of course. OED is a resource for all writers, containing information not just about meaning and pronunciation but also about changes in our language, history and origins of more than 500,000 words. It traces the original public use of words through about 2.5 million quotations.

It is possible to search by year with the word was first introduced. By putting in 1940-1945, we found 2,122 words with a first documented use during World War II.

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We’ve had many requests for one over the years, but knew it would take a lot of research to do this right. Finally, this fall, we tackled the job. To learn more about the history of Rosie the Riveter’s pin, actually her employment badge, and how we created it, just click here.

Rosie the Riveter, Rosie the Riveter Employment Pin, Rosie the Riveter ID Pin, Rosie the Riveter Collar Button, Rosie the Riveter Employment Badge, Rosie the Riveter Pin as Zipper Pull, Rosie the Riveter bandana, Rosie the Riveter scarf, Rosie the Riveter red and white polka dot bandana, red and white polka dot scarfROSIE THE RIVETER ZIPPER PULL. We fell in love with our Rosie the Riveter pin and wore it everyplace. It became my favorite piece of jewelry. It was a great way to get into conversations with people when they asked what I had on my collar. But then winter came and my Rosie pin was buried under a coat.

Then we came up with the idea of a Rosie the Riveter Zipper Pull. It’s just a little smaller than our Rosie Collar Pin — perfect to wear on all your jackets and vests. We never leave the house without one one.

They’re fun, inexpensive, and great conversation starters. Wear one proudly to declare that you are an empowered woman. To order yours today, just click here.

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If you want the official look, the official red and white polka dot scarf, we’ve got what you are looking for because no one else offers a true Rosie the Riveter bandana. Our bandana is a generous 27 x 27 inches so you can tie it just like Rosie the Riveter did. You also get more white polka dots — large ones just like Rosie wore — and in a random pattern. We studied her bandana to make sure we were offering you an authentic look. And finally, we’re pleased to say it is Made in the USA.

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