The American Rosie Movement

“Mawzy’s Hope Chest”

We are sometimes asked if women who did not do defense work during WWII can be designated as Rosies. When we asked Rosies to decide, they said that other work – such as in retail did not have the same demands for quality and purpose to save the lives of people in the military. So, other jobs didn’t count, in their eyes.

However, I have just read a book I recommend about a woman who overcame many adversities to be the matriarch of a large Appalachian family that tells more than working for the defense. Mawzy’s Hope Chest is about a strong, yet loving woman who grew up in a coal town in the hills of southern West Virginia. From working in a lumber yard to becoming an exceptionally committed teacher, the thread that holds the reader is Myra Kingsbury’s devotion to her grandmother’s struggles as she kept her belief in education and family.  

Mawzy got her nickname when she took care of her daughter’s children, Myra and David, while her daughter went to college in the summer. Mawsy chose her name to assure that her daughter would be called Mom.  This small example shows Mawzy’s commitment to family.

The book tells about women’s work, respect for education, and family. It’s many wonderfully preserved photos tell a story of people in place that should be remembered – at a time when everything was scarce when the war returned took men and changed them, of women’s struggles, of extended families, and the author’s commitment to showing values that should not disappear.  

Be well on this Spring Equinox. Spring is coming here in West Virginia where we are close to the land, which means new things are coming. Meanwhile, let us take the experiences we have had and bring them out to look at.

Mawzy’s Hope Chest is available for purchase on Amazon. Proceeds from the sale of all books will go toward The Hope Chest Scholarship at Concord University, Athens, WV which Myra established and endowed in honor of Mawzy.

“Mawzy's Hope Chest”

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