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Rika Wright Biography
Rika was born and raised in Vancouver. In 1933 she graduated with a BA and in 1935 received a diploma in Social Work. She discovered that social work was not for her but the experience allowed her, a shy young woman, to become more confident and outgoing. She had a long and rewarding career, 37 years, with BC Mental Health. Early in her career, to her dismay, she found herself training a succession of male bosses to do the work for which she was eminently suited. Eventually she applied for the position pointing out that she was not prepared yet again to train another man to be senior to her. She was given the position at a salary substantially lower than her predecessor which adversely affected the amount of her pension when she retired at 65.
She lived with her mother until her death at 101 about 30 years ago. Her mother was a wonderful woman who cooked for her and did all of her laundry allowing her to pursue her interests unencumbered by domestic duties. She is a very independent woman who does not like being told what to do. She drove until she was 99 and voluntarily relinquished her driver’s license as she refused to be asked to do it.
In 1941, she convinced a few friends to join the UWCV with her and has been a member ever since. At the time, the UWCV met in the Peter Pan Ballroom on Broadway. Rika remembers helping to organize the yearly garden parties which were held at the homes of members of the Club. One of her fondest memories was being part of the assembly line which produced the sandwiches which were served at these events.. She also belonged to the Book Club, the Play Reading group and played bridge which she continues to do every Monday. Last year she was the highest scorer in her group and placed second with her partner in the round robin.
When asked to tell me the one word she would use to describe herself, she felt that it would be difficult to narrow it down to one. Judging by the things she has accomplished in her life the words stubborn, independent and courageous come to mind. She feels that the one value she places above all others is to live life to the fullest, which as she approaches her 102nd birthday she feels she has done.
Looking back over the last century, Rika feels that the world has learned nothing from the two world wars and that the world was a better place in her youth when there was no need to lock one’s doors. She hopes that in the future people will become more trusting of each other.
As a child her favorite author was Jane Austen and her favorite book was Pride and Prejudice. Today her favorite books and TV programs are whodunits. She particularly enjoys Midsommer Murders.
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