Bipeds of Brookland: Lois and Doris Richardson
Lois and Doris Richardson, the “babies in the family,” graduated from Essex County High School in Virginia in 1966 and applied to work at the Defense Intelligence Agency when recruiters came to their school. They both moved to DC and worked at a cookie factory in Mt Rainier, MD, “until our security clearances came through.” They began rooming with a couple on Jackson Street who didn’t have children. “We became their children.” They now own and still live in that house.
It took about an hour and a half by bus to get to work. Lois analyzed aerial photography. “My area of interest was North Korea and China.” She later moved to Bolling AFB and worked on IT, writing ‘how to’ manuals for computer systems. “It was all on job training.”
Doris was an intelligence officer who processed intel reports, and was securely bunkered in the Pentagon on 9/11. “We were watching the TV... We started the massive evacuation. It was really frightening. I got the train while it was still running. A lot of people had to walk home.” She remembers a coworker who had moved to a different office and was lost that day.
Lois retired in 2003 to care for their older sister, and Doris retired later that year. They have spent their retirement caring for several older family members and still assist their uncle, a paratrooper and a captain in WWII, who now lives in the Veterans Hospital nearby, and will turn 93 this December.
They love this neighborhood. “When moved here everybody got along, it was like family in this block. It was kind of self-contained. We had three grocery stores walking distance from here. We fell in love with it because it’s like being in the city but you’re kind of like being in the country too. We’re not in the hustle bustle of downtown.”
Bipeds of Brookland: A semi-weekly Bipeds series introducing the people who make Brookland their home, one step at a time. Article and photo by Tom Sabella