Thelma Raper, 1984

A lifelong resident of Champaign, Mrs. Raper worked at Collegiate Cap and Gown for over twenty years - until her retirement at age 62. During World War II she and her husband also jointly owned a cab. He drove
at night and she drove during the day. She raised five children and is most proud of her family. "I didn't get to finish high school, but all of my children have been able to finish school. That was my biggest goal as a mother. I would not let any of them quit," she said in a 1984 interview. She has warm memories of visiting her son in California. "The automobile gave me a chance to be independent and gave me a chance to go places I couldn't go before." In the early 1980s she was most concerned with her health. "I have a real dislike for the idea of going to a nursing home. I'm afraid I'll get worse and my family will have to put me in one. I cannot be as independent now. I'm proud that even though I did not have much schooling I could support my kids and our family always had enough to . eat, and to this day I can pretty much support my needs - pay for what I need."

Source: Raymond Bial, There is a Season, Champaign County Nursing Home, 1984.