California State University, Long Beach

Show simple item record Morales Clifton, Beatrice (b. 4/29/1915 - d. 12/4/1988) Berger Gluck, Sherna, interviewer 2021-04-01T23:22:17Z 2021-04-01T23:22:17Z 2021-04-01
dc.description SUBJECT BIO - When Beatrice Morales Clifton went to work at Lockheed in 1942, her life was forever changed. She had never worked outside the home before, and in fact going to Lockheed was practically the first time she had gone anywhere on her own. Born in Marfa, Texas, the last of three children, Clifton's family moved to San Bernardino, California when was still an infant. While still in high school, at the age of fifteen, she married a man twelve years her senior. By the time she left him at age eighteen or nineteen, she was already the mother of two. She had two more children with her second husband, whom she married in 1935. Although her second husband was a "good husband," he was very traditional and strongly objected to his wife taking a defense job. Although she initially defied him, she returned home when one of her children became sick. Not satisfied with her old way of life, she tried several jobs after the war and in 1951 returned to Lockheed Aircraft. Shortly afterwards, she divorced her second husband, and subsequently was married two more times, to men who worked at Lockheed. She continued working at Lockheed until her retirement in 1978, working her way up the pay scale. Clifton, a warm and exuberant woman, was an eager participant - almost as though she had just been waiting for someone to whom she could tell her story. Although she was open and communicative, it took her time to "warm up" to the interview. As a result, I decided to interview her in two longer sessions rather than the usual three. Once she did warm up, the words came rushing forth. All the interviews were conducted sitting at her dining room table in her modest home in a semi-rural neighborhood of Sylmar, which she shared with a companion and a dog. Her house was filled with her handiwork, including embroideries and ceramics. Her backyard, which was filled with flowers, was divided into a space for a large Winnebago and boat and a fenced area where she kept chickens and goats. TOPICS - economic status; husband; marital relationship; children; childcare; racism; Mexican gangs; earnings; and unionism;children; husband; marital relationship; friends; social activities; defense work at Lockheed; work force demographics; working conditions; breaks; wages; and job responsibilities;defense work; patriotism; WWII; social activities; friends; domestic responsibilities; family life; husband; children; family history; working conditions; co-workers; job responsibilities; and unionism;family history; family life; children; husbands; marital relationships; social activities; work; defense work; and earnings;dating; husbands; marital relationships; social activities; children; defense work; job responsibilities; job promotions; working conditions; wages; job training; and retirement;retirement; life review; self-concept; attitudes towards feminism , the women's liberation movement, and abortion; gender roles; domestic partnership; social activities; and children; en_US
dc.description.abstract INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - Because it took a while for her to warm up, it seemed better to record a long, second and final interview with Clifton rather than the usual three. When we first began, she held back, apparently feeling somewhat chastised by my off-handed comment that there were some questions that I had not had the chance to ask her in the first interview. It didn't take long, however, to warm to the interview, and once again she rushed forward. 1/30/1981 en_US
dc.description.tableofcontents *** File: rrrbclifton4.mp3 Audio Segments and Topics: (0:00-6:02)... Brief interviewer introduction. When she was in the hospital giving birth to her second child, Clifton was approached by a social worker who provided her with county assistance and a place to live. She obtained her groceries at a warehouse located somewhere in Los Angeles. The money and groceries she received from the county was sufficient to support herself and her two children. She was isolated during this time in her life and did not associate with very many, if any, friends. She was able to support herself on county assistance until she met her second husband (Julio Morales). When the two married, they moved into a small house in Pasadena and he worked as a janitor in a local theater. When they moved into a larger home, Clifton's parents came to live with them. Her father was retired and suffering from rheumatism at this time. (6:02-10:34)... Her relationship with Morales was happy and they enjoyed themselves together. Although she was not "madly in love" with him, she respected and cared for him. When she married him, she did not think about having any more children, but only about him helping her to support her first two children. When she gave birth to two additional children after marrying Morales, she decided not to have any more children. Morales did not interfere with Clifton's childcare or disciplinary decisions. If he did not agree with her treatment of the children, he talked to her about alone. In general, he thought that she was too strict on the children. However, she wanted her children to behave in public and when they visited friends and family. She describes some of her disciplining techniques. (10:34-15:59)... Clifton and Morales' financial standing was stable. She made the decision to move into a larger home while living in Pasadena. She describes the process of looking for a new home and the prejudice she encountered because of her ethnicity. The neighborhood where she bought her house was a mixed neighborhood with Blacks, Anglos, Mexicans, and Japanese residents. Even though prejudice existed, she could not recall her children encountering any related problems while in school. Initially, her son had trouble in school because he spoke mainly Spanish. The family spoke mainly Spanish in the home. Most of Clifton's girlfriends were Mexican and it was not until she began working at Lockheed that she befriended one or two American women. (15:59-17:38)... Clifton and her family did not approve of the Pachucos. She compares their behavior to the Mexican gangs prevalent today. She believes that Mexicans should put their energy into improving themselves rather than killing each other. Even though she was aware that people had a lot to say about the zoot-suit attire, she did not find anything remarkable in the fad. (17:38-19:26)... Prior to entering the aircraft industry, she had not thought about working outside the home. Getting the job at Lockheed was somewhat of an accident because she went to the unemployment office for her niece, not herself. The interviewing and paperwork was completed at the unemployment office and she had to receive a physical examination before she was hired at the plant. (19:26-23:35)... It was really a foreign experience for Clifton when she first entered the plant at Lockheed. She had never been around strangers and so many men before. However, she felt compelled to go to work. She did not regret her decision because had her husband died her family would have suffered economically. She did not know any other women entering the aircraft industry at the time. Both her husband's family and her family were surprised by her decision to go to work, but neither side said anything negative towards her. Her husband objected to her working because he did not believe a woman should work outside the home. Clifton finds this way of thinking silly because when a woman works she contributes to the family income. When she went to work, her mother agreed to care for her children. When Clifton returned to work in the 1950s, her children were older and she did not need a baby sitter. (23:35-25:31)... Clifton was hired to work days at the Lockheed plant and her starting wage was .65 cents an hour. She worked the night shift for about six months and then returned to the day shift. She joined the union, but it was not very strong at that time. Although she was not completely knowledgeable about unionism, she was familiar with union activities because her husband was a member of a union. End of tape. *** File: rrrbclifton5.mp3 (0:00-2:12)... Note: the tape is fast forwarded in the beginning of the interview. Clifton was very tired after finishing her first day of work at Lockheed. She eventually got used to the work and it became easier for her to make her way around the city on the streetcar. Her husband was not happy with the fact that she worked. She did talk to him about her job, but he did not say much about it because he was a reserved man to begin with. Her children did not react any differently to her when she went to work and did not mention anything about the change in her attire to pants and low-heeled shoes. (2:12-4:44)... When she first started at Lockheed she learned a little about riveting and bucking, but she did not concentrate her efforts in these skills until she became more accustomed to the job. She often moved on to working in different areas of the elevator part of the airplane, and by the end of her first year, she was working on the front portion of this area. All of the employees working on the elevator were assigned to one department and supervised by a male lead. (4:44-7:38)... The employees at Lockheed were racially and ethnically mixed with a number of Blacks, Anglos, and Italians working at the plant. Clifton worked with a Mexican woman, but she does not recall whether there were a lot of Mexicans working at the plant. In general, the workers got along well with each other and socialized during breaks. There was a special smoking area for smokers and people often socialized when they took breaks to smoke. It was not difficult for Clifton to befriend her co-workers if they initiated the friendship. However, she was not the type of person to make friends with people who did not express an interest in cultivating a friendship with her. (7:38-9:25)... Clifton did have any long-term goals when she entered the work force. She enjoyed paid work and her husband did not expect her to contribute her earnings to the family income. She typically used her money to purchase clothing for her children and other miscellaneous things that she wanted. She opened a separate banking account and also kept cash at home. (9:25-12:40)... Clifton moved into different areas of operation within the first couple of months working at Lockheed. She and her partner switched off between riveting and bucking the elevator portion of the airplane. The plant set work quotas that required the department in which she worked to finish five or six elevators a day. The team usually worked steadily until 2:00 p.m. and then eased off. Clifton was required to stand the entire time she worked and rubber pads protected the floor. It was difficult to stand all day and she was usually tired when she finished her day at work. (12:40-14:49)... The lighting and ventilation at the plant were good. The plant had several windows and they were open during production. The employees were provided with earplugs to protect themselves from the noise in the plant. Clifton only wore her earplugs when she was riveting. She also wore safety glasses, which she believes contributed to the deterioration of her eyesight because she usually forgot to take them off during the course of her day. (14:49-16:22)... She received a thirty-minute lunch break, during which time she and a couple other women ate lunch at a local drug store-restaurant near the plant. The other women teased Clifton because no matter what she ate she did not gain weight. Clifton and the other women usually talked about their families during their lunch break. (16:22-18:15)... Most of the men at Lockheed accepted women working in the aircraft industry. Except for her initial experience with the man who trained her, Clifton did not receive any negative reactions from other men working at the plant. Many of the male employees flirted and were sexually suggestive in their comments, but the women did not take them seriously and it was not a problem. Many of the employees were involved in romantic relationships. Her husband was not concerned about these types of behaviors; however, he also did not want her to be alone with a man. (18:15-20:38)... When Clifton started working at Lockheed she began to feel independent. Digressing, Clifton talks about transportation to the plant , first on a streetcar and, eventually, in a car pool. Even though Clifton rode with employees to and from work, she did not socialize with them after work. She does not recall any services that were available to employees at Lockheed, such as counselors for women. After she left Lockheed because of her son's illness, she realized she could have taken a leave of absence instead of quitting. However, she did not know this was possible and no one at the plant advised her of these matters. (20:38-24:11)... Clifton explains her responsibilities while working at Lockheed and the different operations in which she was employed. All of the employees in her department had a quota they were required to meet each day. She did not work overtime while employed at Lockheed, but occasionally worked on Saturdays and Sundays. Her title at Lockheed was "assembler" and she did not change classifications even though she was promoted to work in several different operations. She received automatic raises and her wages increased from .65 cents to $1.05 by the time she left Lockheed. End of tape. *** File: rrrbclifton6.mp3 (0:00-1:13)... Clifton was assigned to work with another woman employee while working as an assembler. She did not possess mechanical skills prior to going to work at Lockheed. She saw herself as a mother and a wife. When she was promoted at Lockheed, she was proud of her accomplishments. She was happy that she was doing her "part" for the war effort. (1:13-6:04)... All five of Clifton's nephews were stationed in various parts of Europe and Asia during WWII. On the home front, there was concern about the war and certain beverage and food products were difficult to get because of shortages. During the war period, Clifton and her friends attended dances in Los Angeles. Rum was easy to get so the girls snuck a bottle into the dance and drank it in the women's bathroom. Clifton learned to drink from her father. She was not a heavy drinking, but occasionally got drunk during social gatherings. As she aged, however, she was less interested in alcohol, particularly beer. She and her husband socialized with three other couples they met prior to the outbreak of WWII. They were all close friends and spent the weekends at each other's homes. Her friends did not work in the defense industry. One couple owned a store in Watts and another woman worked at a cannery for a short time. (6:04-7:10)... Clifton completed her domestic chores on the weekends when she was not working. Her family was also helpful around the house and her husband did not have any problems performing domestic duties. When the family held parties at their home, her husband shared the responsibilities with Clifton in terms of serving and hosting the party. (7:10-8:20)... Clifton discusses her co-worker Doris, whom she described earlier as a "tough" woman. At the time, Clifton did not think about lesbians and did not overhear anyone talk about Doris or describe her as a lesbian. The women who worked at the plant accepted Doris just as she was. (8:20-12:03)... Clifton was proficient at her job and promoted to different operations during the first year of employment. The lead man often asked her to train new employees. She complained about this because she was not being paid to work in a training capacity. Her attitude changed while working at Lockheed and she became more outspoken. Even though new employees were hired at the plant during the first two or three years she worked at Lockheed, the lead man and her co-workers remained the same. She worked with a mixture of men and women during this period. The union was weak at this time and a shop steward was not available at the plant to address labor issues. (12:03-13:16)... Clifton worked on the fifth floor of the Lockheed plant located on Santa Fe and Seventh in Los Angeles. She does not recall interacting with any Black or Mexican lead persons while working at Lockheed. However, she does not know what occurred on different floors of the plant while she worked there. There is some discussion regarding Reginald Jones; however, Clifton does not recall this person or whether he worked at the Lockheed plant. (13:16-18:01)... Clifton discusses her son's illness and her decision to quit Lockheed and stay home to care for her family. Her husband blamed her working and absence from the home for her son's illness. The two argued about this and she decided to leave Lockheed. The well being of her son consumed her thoughts and she did not think about returning to work during his illness. (18:01-23:24)... When she quit Lockheed, she returned to her responsibilities as a full-time mother and wife. She was bored with these roles after approximately a year and began looking for work. She was hired as a "marker" at a shoe factory that was within walking distance of her home in Pasadena. She worked there for one year and then her husband offered her a job at the theater where he was employed as a janitor. Clifton and her husband cleaned the theaters together. She worked there for a few years, but was hassled because she was not a member of the union (union members were unemployed in the Los Angeles area.) When she asked to join the union, she was denied because the union wanted a member to take over her position at the theater. At that point, she decided to leave the theater and make inquiries with Lockheed. She wrote to Lockheed in 1950, but was told they were not hiring any women at that time. She wrote to them again in 1951 and was offered a position. (23:24-27:20)... Clifton did not have any problems with her children during their teenage years. Her older children often attended dances at a nearby school, but stopped this activity because their father expected them to be home by 10:00 p.m. when the dance started at 9:00 p.m. In 1951, her oldest daughter and oldest son married. Her daughter was only fifteen years old and her son was nineteen years old. Her youngest son decided that he wanted to become a priest and entered the Dominguez Seminary when he was twelve or thirteen years old. By 1951, only one child remained home with Clifton and her husband. End of tape. *** File: rrrbclifton7.mp3 (0:00-8:15)... When she was not working, Clifton was involved with the PTA and occasionally attended meetings. However, she was not very social and spent most of her time at home. When her youngest son was nine years old, she discovered that he had a heart condition. After a series of tests over a period of two years, he received an operation in which an artery from his arm was used to patch a hole in his heart. The Community Chest and the local Rotary Club paid for her son's operation. Initially, her husband and his family objected to the operation because they thought the doctors were going to harm him. However, Clifton persisted and her husband finally agreed to support her decision for her son to have the operation. After her son's operation, Clifton was very protective of her son. When he started experiencing problems with bullies in grade school, she enrolled all four of her children in Catholic school. Her son wanted to attend Catholic school and she thought that her other children would protect him. However, they refused to attend Catholic school and her son went by himself. Although the operation prolonged his life for many years, he died when he was twenty-eight years old because of complications he experienced during another open-heart surgery. (8:15-11:33)... When she worked at the shoe factory, her wages were poor. However, she earned more money at the theater than when she worked at Lockheed during WWII. When she left the theater, she was not satisfied with her domestic life and decided to inquire with Lockheed regarding employment opportunities. She wrote to them in 1950, but was turned away because they were not hiring women at that time. She wrote back to them in 1951 and received a telegram telling her to report to work the next day. She reported to work at the Burbank plant and was classified as a riveter. Her starting wage was $1.65 an hour, which was a dollar more than her starting wage during the war period. She rode to the Burbank plant with other employees who lived in the Pasadena area. (11:33-14:23)... The atmosphere was different when she started working at the Burbank plant. Her perspective had changed because she was skilled in the work and was familiar with the environment. After approximately two months, she was assigned to the swing shift. She prepared meals for her family during the day and they fed themselves in the evenings when she was at work. Her main responsibilities at Lockheed during this period were riveting side panels for T-33 airplanes. This department was much larger than the airplane elevator department in which she worked during the war. Clifton believes that there were more women working at the Burbank plant than during the war period, some of whom had been employed at the plant since the war. (14:23-20:01)... When Clifton returned to Lockheed in 1951, her husband was ill. He was a stubborn man and refused to go to the doctor. It was difficult for her because she had to help her husband with his work in the morning and then work her shift at Lockheed. He finally went to the hospital in 1953 and died a short time later. After her husband's death, she decided to move to the valley to be closer to the Burbank plant. Her daughter at the time was fourteen or fifteen and decided to get married. It was difficult for Clifton to be alone and she started dating her lead man at Lockheed. She explains that her second husband (Julio Morales) was hesitant to purchase a home while they were married so when she married her third husband (Frank Jones) they bought a home together. She was married to Jones for fourteen years. The two divorced in 1967 because he wanted to spend more time with his family. (20:01-25:28)... When her husband died and Clifton moved to the valley, she lost contact with all of her friends and never heard from them again. Her life changed when she married Jones because he taught her how to drive and many of the outdoor activities that she learned to love. They often visited different places in California and took vacations together. They had a good relationship and got along very well, but she learned that he resented her children. She discusses her son's decision to leave the Catholic seminary and move back in with her and her new husband. She does not know if this was a cause for Jones' resentment. When his daughter came to California, he confessed to Clifton that he did not love her anymore and that he wanted a divorce. She believes that Jones got a taste of power when he was promoted to a supervisory position at Lockheed and began to think that he was better than Clifton. End of tape. *** File: rrrbclifton8.mp3 (0:00-5:11)... Clifton did not experience any negative feedback from her co-workers when she started dating her lead man (Frank Jones). She continued to work as a riveter in the same department and he was promoted into other supervisory positions until he finally became the supervisor of the department. At that time, it became apparent that he thought he was better than Clifton and that she was not good enough for him. When Clifton and Jones divorced, she handled it very badly. She lost a lot of weight and began drinking heavily. It took her quite a long time to "snap out of it." She did not seek solace with anyone close to her during this difficult time. However, she confided in her lead man at the time, John Clifton, and the two began dating each other. When he asked her to marry him, she agreed partly because Frank Jones was attempting to reconcile with her. She believes it was a mistake to marry John on the "rebound." She describes her relationship with John and the social activities they participated in. His family was prejudiced and did not accept his marriage to a Mexican woman. He did not speak to his sisters for several years even though they lived in the Los Angeles area. Clifton's family, however, accepted John. (5:11-11:16)... Clifton describes her responsibilities at the Burbank plant and the promotions she received during her employment with Lockheed. In the 1950s, she went to school and took blue print courses. As a result, she was promoted to work on blue prints for 104 airplanes. When 104s were discontinued, she was reclassified and transferred to the paint shop. In this department she identified, packaged, and sold parts to the inspectors. Whenever a 104 was built, she was moved back into that department to help with the construction. She enjoyed all of her positions at Lockheed and did not go to the union because of problems with her wages or reclassification. (19:46-21:15)... Clifton went through several job classifications before she was promoted to a lead position. When she retired from Lockheed, she was earning $8.00 an hour as a lead person. The union mandated raises every two years and according to classification. She believes that Lockheed treated her well and she does not have any complaints about the company. (21:15-21:56)... Clifton wanted to retire when she was sixty-two years old. She did not want to leave Lockheed when she was still able to carry on a healthy and active life. She believes that many people continue to work until they are too old to live healthy lifestyles and die a short time after retirement. (21:56-23:54)... She decided to take the blue print course because a fellow co-worker also was interested in going to blue print school. Clifton thought that blue print training would benefit her in the future. She and her co-worker enrolled in the Frank Wiggins School attending classes in the morning, and then working their shifts at Lockheed. She was not reclassified after she finished the courses, but Lockheed listed the completion of the course work in her personnel file. When the company began building 104 and T2V airplanes, she was transferred to that department to work on the blue prints. (23:54-26:12)... When she divorced Frank Jones, she gave him $1,000. for the quit deed to the home they purchased together. She continued to live in that and John Clifton moved in with her when the two married. When she divorced John Clifton, she did not start dating other men. She disliked living alone and eventually asked her friend, Manuel, to move into her house. Her involvement with Manuel is somewhat vague. She explains that she is not "crazy" about him, but enjoys spending time with him. She admits that the only man she truly loved was Jones. (26:12-28:17)... After Clifton's second husband died, her life revolved around work and family. She did spend time with her sister until she passed away. Clifton discusses the relationship with her children and how she occasionally visits her daughter in Monterey. End of tape. *** File: rrrbclifton9.mp3 (0:00-2:24)... When Clifton retired, she wanted to travel. She occasionally took small trips whenever time and money would allow it. She enjoys retirement. Whenever she gets lonely in her house, she usually drives into town, eats lunch, and walks around. She is not involved with the retiree's club at Lockheed. Her roommate, Manuel, works at Lockheed and tries to get her involved in activities there. In general, the people in her neighborhood do not know about her relationship with Manuel and it does not matter what people think about her live-in relationship. (2:24-5:19)... Her life changed dramatically when she started working at Lockheed. When she quit Lockheed the first time, she was not satisfied being only a housewife and mother, which was a direct result of her experiences in the work place. When she married her third husband, Frank Jones, her life went through another transition because he taught her many things that she had never done before. Her social activities while married to Jones and John Clifton did not include friends and family members. However, she and Manuel occasionally socialize with her daughter-in-law and new husband. (5:19-8:35)... Three of her children married Mexicans and one married an Anglo. Her children maintained a Mexican identity throughout their lives. Clifton explains that she wanted her daughters to have a happy life and marry good men. She wanted them to have a good education, but they did not want to go beyond high school. She discusses her granddaughter and her career aspirations. Both of Clifton's sons died in their late twenties, one from heart problems and the other in an automobile accident. (8:35-12:17)... Clifton reflects on her life, indicating that she would do things differently if she had a chance to live her life over again. She would not have married at the age of fifteen and would have pursued an education in the field of drafting. She believes that her current partner, Manuel, ties her down because he is employed. She would like to meet someone who is retired and can afford to travel. (12:17-15:49)... Clifton finds that women have better opportunities today than they had in the past, particularly in relation to jobs and wages. She believes that Lockheed pays women high wages for unskilled work. Other jobs require that women have an education and training. Although she supports some of the issues presented in the women's movement, she does not elaborate on any specifics. She does not want to lose her identity as a woman by doing men's work or having a man treat her like a man. As an employee at Lockheed, she does not believe that she was discriminated against because her race and gender. (15:49-17:30)... Clifton discusses her views towards abortion. She often tells her granddaughters that when young women get pregnant they do so with their eyes wide open because they are aware how to prevent pregnancy. When Clifton was a young woman, birth control was either unavailable or women had very little knowledge of it. In retrospect, she may have considered an abortion when she got pregnant with her first child at the age of fifteen. However, at the time the thought never crossed her mind. (17:30-18:58)... She talks about her thoughts for the future. She is not afraid of death and does not avoid doing things for fear that she might die. She feels that when she dies it is simply her time to go. She prays for a healthy life until God is ready to take her. (18:58-21:53)... While employed at Lockheed, she did not think about looking for different employment. Lockheed was a good place for women to work and she enjoyed her job. As she aged, her work at Lockheed became easier because she was promoted into positions that did not require that she do heavy labor, such as operating a rivet gun. She attended some classes offered by Lockheed that increased her skill level at the plant. She reflects on her life since the first day she started Lockheed and states that she led an incredible life. End of tape. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.rights This repository item may be used for classroom presentations, unpublished papers, and other educational, research, or scholarly use. Other uses, especially publication in any form, such as in dissertations, theses, articles, or web pages are not permitted without the express written permission of the individual collection's copyright holder(s). Please contact the CSULB Library Administration should you require permission to publish or distribute any content from this collection or if you need additional information or assistance in using these materials: en_US
dc.subject Rosie the Riveter Revisited en_US
dc.subject Women's History en_US
dc.title Clifton, Beatrice Morales (audio interview #2 of 2) en_US
dc.type Recording, oral en_US

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