A Lifelong Teacher 
Leaves a Lasting Legacy

Marva Jeanne Pitt Riley grew up in east Tarboro on a street where the neighborhood village raised all the children and helped teach all the children.

When she came of age, Mrs. Riley did the same thing: She became a teacher.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from North Carolina Central University and taught elementary school. When illness took her from the classroom, she continued to teach. She gave grammar lessons on the front porch of the family home on East Church Street. She helped friends and family, and Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 12.13.07 AMlater some staff members at the Golden Living Center, where she spent the last years of her life, to ensure that their work was well done.

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Surprise moment in dress store yields joy

I had just finished co-hosting the annual Bookstock Best Award presentation – honoring fourth-grade essay winners and their teachers – and I was feeling really good.IMG_5452

Since I had a TV appearance the next day, and I needed something to wear, I dropped by Von Maur for a dress.

As I headed into the section I used to live in, a very nice sales clerk rushed up to greet me and said: “Oh, honey this isn’t your section. These are too big. Your dresses are over there.”

And she pointed me toward the section I hadn’t set foot in in 10 years, the section of single-and lower- double-digit-sized dresses. It was as far from Plus Size as it was possible to be and remain on the same floor.

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Dipping my toe back into exercise begins in the pool

It was a promise I had to keep.

Nearly one year after beginning my heartfelt – and so far successful – effort to lose weight, I promised I’d begin doing some serious working out. The goal? Getting back on the tennis court, perhaps running a 5K.

So yesterday morning, I put on the swimsuit that is now too big, threw on my favorite sweats and drove a mile to the YMCA. Yes, I was that lazy. But I also was that late.

I arrived just in time for my first water aerobics class.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 11.28.00 PMThe first thing I noticed was the joy on the faces of my classmates, all beautiful, friendly women who appeared to be 20 to 25 years my senior. The second thing I noticed was this: Unlike the upstairs burn room, where my peers were running on treadmills, balancing on big balls and using a series of machines that I’ve used – and hated – a hundred times, this tranquil space in cool water was slower, joyful and fun.

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