At 92, Phyllis Gould, one of the nation's original Rosie the Riveter welders during WWII, has just a few things left on her bucket list. One of them is visiting the White House.
At 92, Phyllis Gould, one of the nation's original Rosie the Riveter welders during WWII, has just a few things left on her bucket list.
One of them is visiting the White House.
And, if she and her four friends find some money or a generous benefactor (she's hoping someone like Google), they'll get to go at some future date, perhaps in April when the cherry blossoms are out.
As she told Vice President Joe Biden in a surprise phone call he made to her on Oct. 22, "That's the last biggie on my to-do list."
Biden told the Fairfax, Calif., woman that she comes from a "remarkable, remarkable generation of women." Specifically, he acknowledged Gould for her place in history as one of the first women welders during WWII stationed at the Kaiser shipyard in 1942.
Then, in classic Biden fashion, the vice president told Gould: "That's pretty impressive, kid."
Gould hopes to be accompanied by her sister Marian Sousa, 87, of El Sobrante, Calif., who was a draftswoman; along with Marian Wynn, 87, and Kay Morrison, 90, both of Fairfield, Calif.; and Priscilla Elder, 93, of Pinole, Calif. Many of them are fixtures at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front in Richmond, a National Park Service museum that had been shut down during the partial government shutdown.
But Gould doesn't know if she and her pals will be able to make it. She lives in federally subsidized housing and subsists on Social Security checks. Without a big corporate sponsor - paying for hotels and airfare - she said she won't be able to go.
"Google has that 'raft' thing," Gould said, referring to the mysterious Google barge on the bay that floats near the Rosie the Riveter center in Richmond. "So they must know about us. Their jet would be perfect."
Google's media department didn't immediately respond to Gould's request made through NBC Bay Area.
Gould has been writing the White House since Bill Clinton was president. And she's never stopped.
She said this last letter to Biden was "goofy," telling him she wanted to meet and get a hug. She vowed to her sister that this letter would be her last.
"I've written so many letters with no response at all, when the vice president called, it was just like, 'Finally,' " Gould told NBC Bay Area. She was alerted that Biden would be calling the day earlier by a woman in his office. She still has that number when she's ready to set a date for a visit.
In a 15-minute phone call to Gould, five of which Biden recorded and posted online in his series of installments called "Being Biden," the vice president recalled a story from 1994 on the 50th anniversary of Normandy. Gould's call on Biden's webpage is titled "A Call to Remembrance."
At the end of the conversation, Biden told Gould, "it would be my great honor to meet you...but I expect a real hug."
"You'll get it," she answered. "Oh, I am so happy."