Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Clarene Vickery - July 7, 2014

Born on May 22, 1918, and raised in Collins, Mississippi, Clarene Vickery attended Wentworth College before moving to Portland, Oregon, where she and her husband intended to start their family. After Pearl Harbor, when her husband enlisted in the army, she moved back to Mississippi. Upon the completion of her husband's service, she and their two sons moved to meet him in Vienna, Virginia.

In Vienna, their first home was situated next to the W&OD Railroad tracks and Vienna Elementary School - so close to the latter that their boys could sprint from home to class and still make it on time. One son was enrolled in Fairfax High School, the other, in James Madison High School.

A long-time member of the Ayr Hill Garden Club, Clarene Vickery served as its president from 1988-1990. In 1956, she decided to teach a group of 14 kindergartners in her family home on 201 Park St. Numerous expansions, two relocations, and 58 years later, Parkwood School is still thriving under her jurisdiction.


Family Home in Collins, Mississippi

Life During WWII; Moving to Vienna, Virginia

First Impressions of Vienna, First Home in Vienna

Vienna Elementary School

Fairfax High School, James Madison High School

Growth of Parkwood Preschool

Developmental Teaching Methods at Parkwood Preschool

Student Transportation for the Commute to Parkwood Preschool

Play Yards at Parkwood Preschool

Reflections on Parkwood Preschool

Reflections on Vienna

The Ayr Hill Garden Club

Tenure as President of the Ayr Hill Garden Club

All interviews by Leigh Kitcher and Sophie Abramowitz

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Gloria Runyon - July 11, 2014

Gloria Runyon's family have lived in Vienna, Virginia, as she puts it, since "before it became Vienna." Her roots in the town grow at least as far back as her great-grandfather, a Cherokee Indian, who built the home in which she still lives. Gloria Runyon's family has always been deeply involved in the Vienna community, and her life and work is no exception.

Growing up in Vienna, Gloria Runyon belonged to the First Baptist Church and a local bible study group, and attended Louise Archer Elementary School and Luther P. Jackson High School in Fairfax County, just as Madison High School began to integrate. After graduating as valedictorian of her class, Runyon enrolled in Howard University, where she was active in her sorority and engaged with the school's political climate. She graduated in 1965.

As the former president of the Malcolm-Windover Heights Civic Association in Vienna, Runyon helped to develop the Sarah Walker Mercer Park. In 2014, she retired from a near 40-year tenure at the Georgetown Day School, where she was first acted as a teacher, then a math coordinator, then as lower School principal. She discusses her work at Georgetown Day School in some detail in this interview. Runyon spent her final year before her retirement as the Diversity Coordinator.


Family Roots in Vienna

Personal and Community Involvement in Vienna

Louise Archer Elementary School, Vienna Landscape

Youth in Vienna

Old Friends, Bible School, Experience of Segregation

Friends Integrating Madison High School

Recreation, Family Time

Family History, Told with Photographs

Taking Students to Protest South African Apartheid

Political Climate at Howard University, Family Diversity

Career Before Teaching at Georgetown Day School

Mixed Race Identities

Initiatives as Diversity Coordinator at Georgetown Day School

Thoughts on Small-Town Vienna

Memories of Attending Louise Archer Elementary School

Early Distaste for Studying History

Revisiting Louise Archer Elementary School

Remembering Various Teachers at Louise Archer Elementary School

Traveling to Various Events During High School

Memories of Luther P. Jackson High School

Memories of Howard University

Concerts at Howard Theater

All interviews by Sophie Abramowitz

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Richard C. Kirkland - June 16, 2014

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, Kirkland joined the Army Air Corps and was trained to be a fighter pilot. During the war, he served in the famous "Flying Knights" fighter squadron, which included Major "Dick" Bong, the great flying ace. Kirkland discusses some of his flying missions and time living in New Guinea, including his brief encounters with Charles Lindbergh and, later on, with General Eisenhower.

After WWII, Richard Kirkland was assigned to test atomic bombs on the Marshall Islands. For our project, he discusses his fruitless search for a lost atomic bomb. Following this assignment, Kirkland spent the Korean War in the Air Force Rescue Service. He enjoyed this work immensely, and discusses  it here in some detail.

Richard Kirkland's work with helicopters carried past his time in the Air Force Rescue Service and into his career working for Howard Hughes' Aircraft division, where he helped to develop and distribute helicopters to every police station in America.

Richard Kirkland moved to Vienna, VA, to raise a family with his wife, Maria. He resides here to this day. An artist since childhood, Kirkland spent his free time in the Army Air Corps drawing a serial comic for his fighter squadron. Still an artist, the walls of his home are lined with his and his wife's paintings.

Read more at Richard Kirkland's website, here.


Joining the Army Air Corps

The Japanese Fishing Boat "Mission"

Meeting Charles Lindbergh

Working in the Jungles of New Guinea

Landing Predicament at Leyte Gulf

Remembering Richard Ira "Dick" Bong

How WWII Fighter Pilots Spent Their Days Off

Working for the Air Force Rescue Service

Meeting General Eisenhower

Searching for the Lost Atomic Bomb

Working with Helicopters (3-part video)

Rescue Work while Stationed at a M.A.S.H. Unit

High Rent at Watergate

Meeting his Wife, Moving to Vienna

Living Next Door to Joe Theismann, Helicopter Rides for the Neighbors

Raising a Family in Vienna, "Peace, Love, & Ice Cream"

All interviews by Sophie Abramowitz and David Shelby