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From Central Camp to Madera: memories unfold

Rodger Rigby is seen here in front of his pharmacy at Madera Drugs on the corner of Yosemite Avenue and D Street. The soda fountain in Madera Drugs was a gathering place for local businessmen to enjoy their morning coffee and exchange the local news. (Courtesy of The Madera County Historical Society)


Memories are such unpredictable things. Some of them lie undisturbed for long periods of time until they are suddenly shaken from their slumbers by some object from the past.

That’s what happened when Keith Rigby saw that picture of Pop Petersen and his students at Madera’s swimming Pool Park.

The photograph was taken on August 18, 1940, and as Keith looked it over, he spotted his uncle Richard Rigby standing right behind Petersen. Then he saw his father, Rodger, sitting up on the high dive. They were among the 29 kids who had gathered at the poolside that day for the picture with Pop.

Keith’s encounter with the past came a few days ago, while sitting across from me at the Vineyard Restaurant. When I showed him the picture, the folds of his memory opened to release a flood of recollections. Some belonged to him; some had been given to him by others, but they all fit together to form a sharp mosaic of Madera’s past...

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