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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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The Pipefitter Queen…

Good morning, Netizens...


Earlier this week, beneath the glaring garage lights, my granddaughter gave me cause to ponder how time has changed. Once upon a time far distant in my past, as the owner of an auto repair facility, I was asked to teach a class in auto repair to a group of female prison inmates from a nearby state prison.


They were a gnarly bunch of women, although I was somewhat startled to discover several of them had healthy aptitudes for learning advanced auto repair, and within a matter of a month, my class had advanced far beyond the basics, and had acquired the skills of top-level mechanics. Mind you, the two top members of my class were doing time for serious felonies, and the question did cross my mind if, even with their considerable skills and aptitude, how many years it would be before they could once again walk free to apply for work.


I could not help but reflect upon this because, like my students years and years ago, my granddaughter, one of the loves of my life, apparently has the same intuition for learning what makes automobiles tick. Laying on the ground beneath a car, her hands blackened with grease, her nose smudged with grease and dirt, she appeared proud of her experience. I am reasonably certain that her mother would take a much different view of matters, because in her experience in life, young girls barely reaching puberty, have no business doing such things as playing at grease monkey.


I take it as a matter of personal pride that in the next generation, at least, there will be at least one young woman with a toolbox full of tools and the knowledge how to use them.


Are there jobs for such young women in the future? You betcha! According to national employment trends,m there are always jobs for mechanics who know how things work, regardless of whether they are male or female. Perhaps one of the best fictional portrayals I have ever read of such a future, The Milagro Beanfield War, featured a woman jack-of-all-trades named Ruby Archuletta known affectionately to her clientele as Ruby the Pipefitter Queen.


Perhaps my granddaughter may become a pipefitter queen of the next generation. Only time will tell.



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.