North Peninsula Branch of AAUW - California - 2010-2011 Group Activities
Date: Wednesday, June 1, from 2 PM to 4 PM
Place: Home of Margaret Ellis
Topic: Sanctions and Non-Proliferation
Leader: Dorothy Robbins
Dorothy Robbins leads the discussion.
Dorothy Silver, Betty Watters, Phebe Sandberg, Valerie Lambertson, and Dorothy Robbins
Betty Watters, Dorothy Silver, Terry Watters, Phebe Sandberg, Valerie Lambertson, and Dorothy Robbins
George Argeris, Connie Spearing, Kay Runkle, Betty Watters, and Dorothy Silver
Sue Argeris, George Argeris, Connie Spearing, Kay Runkle, and Betty Watters
Connie Spearing, Kay Runkle, Betty Watters, and Dorothy Silver
Betty Watters, Terry Watters, Phebe Sandberg, Valerie Lambertson, and Dorothy Robbins
Connie Spearing, Kay Runkle, Betty Watters, and Dorothy Silver
Four Nonagenarians: Kay Runkle, Dorothy Silver, Margaret Ellis, Betty Watters
Four Nonagenarians: Kay Runkle, Dorothy Silver, Margaret Ellis, Betty Watters
Margaret Ellis asks the nonagenarians to write a biography to send to national and CA AAUW.
Autobiographies of International Relations' 90-Year-Old Members
Betty Watters Autobiography - June 2011
I was born in Oakland, California, May 8, 1914, at the Fabiola-Hospital, which is now the Kaiser main hospital. World War I was just beginning in Europe.
I met my future husband in physics class at Oakland High School, alphabetically Betty Webb, Frank Watters. We began to date. Shortly before graduation, Frank won the individual Manual of Arms ROTC competition for all of Oakland high schools, and I was named valedictorian for our graduation ceremony. When, on Senior Day, our class prophecy was read, it was 'What a pair - Frank and Betty!"
We were married in 1935, three weeks after graduation from U.C. Berkeley. Frank's B.S. was in Civil Engineering with a major in Hydraulic. My degree was a Letters and Science B.S. with a language major.
After a few weeks in hydraulic research, funding for the research ran out. Job searching ended with supervision of the driving of piles, S.F. Bay, for the future Port of Oakland.
The federal government was sending interns for work in Knoxville, Tennessee, with TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority), canvassing the rivers for future electrification. Frank was hired, and we were launched on the adventure of our lives. With $50 in our pockets, owing $100 on a second-hand A model, we set out for Tennessee. It was 9 days of traveling, seeing Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon on the way. At the Tennessee State entrance, Memphis, the gasoline service agent said, "Young people you are now in God's Country.'
The two years in the mountain country of Knoxville, Tennessee, were my biggest culture shock of the very varied places we lived.
We wanted children but an ectopic pregnancy in 1937 reduced our chances to 50%. Frank had gone to work for Standard Oil of California in the fall of 1938. Frank was offered a job in their Cairo, Egypt, office. I joined him 6 months later. Twins were born prematurely December 1939. One died the next day, but all was well with the surviving son.
We enjoyed working and me having to manage running a household in a different language, and learning to supervise a Sudanese housekeeper.
But World War II broke out in Europe, September 1939. By spring of 1940, our government ordered all American citizens out of Egypt. The United States closed the Mediterranean, and the route to South Africa. We started a very memorable two months journey overland - by train from Cairo to Jerusalem, car from Jerusalem to Damascus, two days by desert-equipped trucks to Baghdad, a small company plane two days to Karachi (then India), three-day train journey to Bombay, a month-long ship journey around South African to New York.
Shortly after arriving home, Frank was called into United States military service, serving at Fort Scott, San Francisco Coast Artillery, installing the defenses of the Bay Area.
In December, 1941, three weeks after Pearl Harbor, our second son was born.
Following the close of World War II, we moved to Millbrae on the San Francisco Peninsula and, in October of 1946, a third son was born.
We settled down to a normal routine until Frank was invited to be Bureau Chief of Natural Gas, Washington D.C., and we began a whole new adventure learning about our government and how it was from the inside. But Frank's job was at the will of the President. President Kennedy was assassinated. After three years, in later November of 1966, we were invited to leave. Bechtel opened its doors, and we returned to Millbrae January 1967. Lo and behold a few years later, Frank's assignment was n Lebanon. It was only for four months. We made the most of sightseeing every Sunday.
In the 70's, we spent two years in Houston, Texas, as Frank's pipeline section moved there.
Upon returning, we once more lived in Millbrae, After doing all mom's PTA, church, Hospitality to Youth, International Hospitality to students from other countries, and our own American Field Study Student exchange from Norway for one year.
I joined AAUW in Tennessee - took a long leave of absence - rejoined 1947 San Mateo AAUW and became a life member while in Texas.
From mid seventies until retirement, I served the Millbrae library staff as Library Assistant, where I was given responsibility of LOVE - organizing, recruiting and supervising taking books to shut-ins and nursing homes.
If I were to write my memories, it would be titled "It hasn't been long enough". I find myself discovering new things, researching the many questions I have, perusing knowledge, making new friends, sharing with old friends as well as people from other cultures and countries. At "97" I find myself continually challenged, such as AAUW International Relations or learning and caring groups to name a few. I have found my journey exciting, so much to learn, so many different events to adjust to.
Dorothy Silver Autobiography - July 2011
I was born on November 30, 1920, on a farm in Oregon.
All of my pre-cololege education was in a small five-room building which included students from grades 1 through 12. During my senior year, there were 28 students in the high school - seven of us seniors. (Three of us, all girls, graduated from college.)
After graduating from Oregon College of Education in Monmouth, Oregon, I taught middle school for four years before returning to Oregon State University for a degree in physical education. Following that, I was hired as the Physical Education Coordinator for the five elementary schools in Corvallis, Oregon. It was the first year that physical education had been mandated by the state to become a scheduled and instructed class - not recess.
I met Morrie Silver, my future husband, at OSU when he was a star on the championship basketball team.
After Morrie's graduation and our marriage, we moved to San Francisco, Morrie's birthplace. Craig and Shelley are our two children.
We established Revlis Trading Co., an import-export business, in 1953. Internationally, travel was a fringe benefit, which I loved.
My favorite trips were to communist countries: Romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria in 1972, and the Republic of China in 1975. We returned to China twelve times over the years. Other trips took us to South Korea, Taiwan, England, France, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Mexico, Canada, and Japan, a favorite.
The AAUW mission statement was the clincher for my joining 49 years ago. I am as committed now to those statements as I was in 1962. It has been a extraordinary privilege and pleasure to work with and learn from those who share the same goals and values.
Now that I am in my tenth decade, I want more than just adding years to my life, but rather adding life to my years by being everlastingly interested and participating in the world around me.
Kay Runkle Autobiography - October 2011
I come from a pioneer family. At the age of three, my father migrated from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, with his family to south of Wichita, Kansas. When my father finished the 6th McGuffy Reader, he and his father went to Meade, Kansas, where they lived in a dugout while they built a house for his mother and sisters. When my father was 21, he homesteaded in Oklahoma Territory when the Cherokee Strip was opened for settlement.
My mother's father was a minister in the Brethern Church and took his family from Northern Kansas to Oklahoma Territory to start a church. Because they were so poor, my mother had to work instead of going on to school to become a teacher as she wanted to do. She met and married my father on January 8, 1906, when she was 18 and he was 32.
I was born October 30, 1916, on the farm in what is known as Ditch Valley, Okla. The northern boundary of our property was the Okla.-Kansas State line, and the closest town was Englewood, Kansas. I graduated from high school in Englewood, and from college from Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas. I had a wonderful early childhood in the country, then my brother married and took over the farm and ranch, my oldest sister married, and my parents and other three sisters moved to Englewood, Kansas. We survived the dust storms and the Great Depression.
I majored in Library Science and became a high-school librarian in Cushing, Oklahoma. When school was out at the end of my second year at Cushing, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend the summer in Europe with the Superintendent of Schools and his wife. They took three of us young women in their car and traveled through 15 countries of Europe. We returned to the U.S. in late August of 1939 on the Athenia, which became the first ship to be sunk by a German submarine in World War II, Fortunately for us, we were on the crossing just before the one in which it was sunk.
On Nov. 1, 1939, I moved from Cushing High library to become the Librarian of the Agriculture and the Agriculture Experiment Station Library, Okla. State Univ. at Stillwater. While in Stillwater, I completed a B.A. in American Literature, because I wanted to get a Masters in Library Science from Columbia Univ. and needed a degree in addition to my Library degree. I enjoyed the position at Stillwater; however, in November 1942, my country called and I enlisted as an officer in the Navy WAVES. I always laughed and said I joined the Navy to see the world - and what I saw was Oklahoma, because my first assignment was to Norman, Okla., as a Personnel Officer in the Naval Air Technical Training Command. In less than a year, I was transferred to Gainesville, GA., where I was Asst. Personnel Officer, and later Executive Officer, of a small radar school. I had met the man I later married while I was in Norman, OK, and in Nov. 1944 he returned from the South Pacific, and we were married at the S. F. Presidio. I requested a discharge because my new husband faced a critical operation on his back. I was granted a release from active service without pay in April 1945, and still do not have a regular discharge.
I did not work while my son and daughter were small, but in Sept. of 1958 I began an 18 year tenure as librarian at Taylor Intermediate School, Millbrae. In 1967, I was privileged to receive a federal grant for $48,000 to make Taylor Library a Model Media Center. I retired from a paid position July I, 1976, because my husband had been forced to retire on physical disability. Although he was in poor health the last nine years, we were able to travel around the world and enjoy a number of cruises. The most exciting trip was an 8-day raft trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. My husband died of heart complications on Jan. 19, 1985.
After my husband's death, I had to make a new life for myself, so I began volunteering -- most of which was for the poor and the hungry. I also helped in the "Back to School" program for Adults and in reading to primary students at Green Hills School.. Another interesting trip was in 1988 to the Soviet Union as a "Citizen Ambassador" with the US-USSR Initiatives. I was privileged to be recognized as a member of the San Mateo County Woman's Hall of Fame in February, 1990, and Millbrae Woman of the Year in June of l990.
Most of my work with the AAUW has been with International Relations and "Great Decisions". My studies with Great Decisions have helped keep me up-to-date on current events around the world.
Margaret McNiece Ellis Autobiography - June 2011
A Ninety-Year-Old Looks Back
I was born in Matsuyama, Japan, on December 24, 1920, in the home of my father's
sister, Nina Ellis Dosker, a Presbyterian missionary. My father, Wilder P.
Ellis MD, assisted by his sister, brought me into this world. My mother, Jessie
Lee Ellis, and Dad were Presbyterian medical missionaries, in Persia.
I never missed having my birthday celebrated, because my mother always had a big
surprise party for the two of us, as my father was born on the same day, but in
As I was taught at home in Urumia and Tabriz, Persia, I never went to public
school until my parents were on furlough for a year in Berkeley California. My
mother was so enamored of the California textbooks that she ordered them to take
back to Persia, thus giving up the Calvert School curriculum she had been using.
As Mother was most interested in the League of Nations, she and her colleague,
Bernice Cochran, decided to take their children to Geneva, Switzerland, for a
school year to learn French. I attended the International School. Mother took us
to the League of Nations, where we heard of the fate of Ethiopia that Hailie
Selassie predicted, if the Allies would not come to rescue his country.
On our way to the States, we visited the famous museums in Europe, where we saw
in person the great paintings that we had studied in black and white in our
home-school classroom in Iran.
On leaving Europe, we went to Wooster, Ohio, where there were residences for
missionaries home on furlough. Both my parents had graduated in 1910 from the
College of Wooster. I graduated from Wooster High School in 1937 and then
entered the College, graduating with a BA in English in 1941. I enrolled in
Teachers College, Columbia University, in the Fall and received my Masters
degree in English Education in 1942.
After teaching in Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1942-43, I married Odus Lee Moore,
Jr. As he was Chief Inspector of the Fairchild Aircraft plant, we bought our
first house across from the golf course with a lovely view of the Blue Ridge
Our son John Franklin was born in 1946, his sister, Kathleen McNiece in
1947, and their brother Kenneth Parker in 1954. Both Ken and Kathleen graduated
from the Wooster College.
During my career, I have had a diverse English Literature and ESL teaching
experience from: Kindergarten, in Red Springs, N.C. & Goshen, Indiana; Junior
High in Hagerstown, Maryland; Eighth grade in Harrison Township, Indiana; High
School in Laurinburg & Raeford, N.C.; St. Andrews College, in Laurinburg, N.C.;
Pembroke State University in Pembroke, N.C.; Damavand College in Tehran,
Iran; Adult School in Daly City, CA to, lastly, Florence Crittenton Services in
San Francisco, CA.
I have traveled abroad in Europe, England, Russia, Egypt, Afghanistan,
Singapore, Japan, Korea, Cuba, and to 45 of the United States. I also go to four
local museums and nearby parks and gardens.
I always felt at home in the International Relations Group, as the members had
also traveled abroad. It was always most interesting to discuss the articles in
the Great Decisions Manual, inevitably concluding each session with dismay at
not finding viable solutions to the world's many dilemmas.
I joined the AAUW first in Goshen, Indiana, and resumed membership in The San
Bruno Branch in 1980, enjoying until now thirty-one years of food, fellowship
and working toward equity for women and girls in the now renamed North Peninsula
After the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 closed Damavand College, I came to
the Bay Area. Besides teaching, I try to keep up with American and Iranian women
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude that though I am beyond the 90-year
pale, I can still live alone, drive my Mazda, compose emails on my Mac iBook,
fix three meals a day, do the New York Times and SF Chronicle crossword puzzles,
do the laundry, attend performances at three theaters as well as the S.F.
Symphony, enter into the complex discussions of national and international
issues with friends and relatives, and attend the monthly meetings of the League
of Women Voters, as well as of the North Peninsula Branch of the American Association of University Women.