This love story starts with Anna Mae Shellenbarger (Savage). Anna Mae was a welder at the shipyard during WWII, and this is her BIW badge photograph. She was the first woman qualified as an oxyacetylene welder at BIW during the war. She was a real life Rosie the Riveter!
Her father and grandfather both worked at Bath Iron Works in the Carpenters Shop, and her son Bruce worked there for 33 years. BIW's multi-generational family roots run very deep indeed.
Bath Iron Works from the Kennebec River, photo by Michael Nutter
After the war, Doc took classes at the University of Maine Orono branch on the Brunswick Naval Air Station in Brunswick, Maine. Anna Mae and Doc met at a USO dance in Brunswick. He asked if he could see her again after this first encounter, and before long, Doc was put to work on the family farm, and wooing Anna Mae in the family parlor.
Six weeks after they met, they were married on June 8, 1949. They raised two sons and two daughters, Rob, Bruce, Carol and Barbara, and lived their American dream.
Sadly, after a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, Doc and Anna Mae rented a big old victorian cottage on the New Meadows River, West Bath to enjoy their remaining time together ... he passed away from this cancer two days after 68th birthday in 1994. Anna Mae survived Doc by several years, passing away in 2005.
I always love watching the faces emerge as I work my way up from the bottom of the tapestry.
There are 122 Rows x 125 Columns on Anna Mae's tapestry, or 15,250 Beads. Doc's tapestry has slightly fewer rows, but in all each has approximately 15,000 beads and measure 7" across and 8" tall.
Every row takes approximately 10 minutes to complete, so with 122 Rows, that's about about 20 hours of beading.
Then there's another 4-6 hours to finish the piece once it is off the loom!