Saturday, April 7, 2012

Libraries and Sleep

Sepia Saturday has two themes this week -- Library and Sleep.  I'm having a hard time tying either to family history photos in my collection.  So this week will be pretty modern history.

When I was growing up in the 1960s and '70s, we spent a lot of time in libraries.  I was disappointed not to find any library photos from my childhood.  When I was a baby and my father slept during the day due to his work/school schedule, my mother often took me to the library.  We hung out inside or out on the lawn.  Later, in Phoenix, when my mom was taking evening classes at the local college, if she didn't have a babysitter for me, I sat in the library with my books until her class finished.  I was a quiet, independent child.  In the picture below, I'm with my grandmother, Betty Whitfield Luther and my mother, Sandra Moore Riley,  about 1970 or '71, shortly before we moved to Phoenix.

I thought I found a picture of myself studying in the library at International House/UC Berkeley, but on closer inspection, I think it is actually the Great Hall at International House.  And I'm probably just pretending to study for the photo.  I lived at International House while I was a grad student at Berkeley.  I-House has a list of hundreds of alumni couples who met there - including me and my husband!  This picture was taken in the late 1980s.

And finally, sleep.  The last two photos are of my children sleeping or getting ready to sleep -  surrounded by books from our personal library.  We did get books from the library, but I would not have dared to take them on vacation.  The first picture was taken at a friend's apartment where we stayed on a trip to Disneyland in 1995.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


This week's Sepia Saturday theme is Work and I'll focus on my maternal grandmother, Betty Whitfield and my father, John Riley.

Betty Whitfield attended nursing school at Vanderbilt University. She did not finish her nursing degree, though, because she contracted tuberculosis and was sent to convalesce. After three year's rest, she had recovered, but had sustained some permanent lung damage.

Betty went on to get a teaching degree in Oklahoma. She taught mostly second grade for decades, but I don't have a photo of her in a classroom -- the photo below is of her retirement party. Betty is standing, holding the package. Her very good friend, Avanelle Burns is seated beside her.

My father, John Riley, also started out in nursing school, but ended up a mechanical engineer. John started work as a young teen with his own lawn mowing business. By the time he received his engineering degree he had worked many jobs including summer farm hand, dental assistant in the US Air Force, mattress deliverer, ice cream scooper, and draftsman. But he was always an engineer at heart, able to design, fix or build pretty much anything.

After retirement, John continued working as a volunteer for the American Red Cross. He is on the left in the photo below. One of his Red Cross assignments was interviewing affected New York City residents after 9/11.

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