Miriam Bruff Covington was born on October 15, 1926 to William Cartland Bruff and Miriam Atwater Kelsey Bruff. Miriam was the middle child in a family of five children. She was born in Whittier, California, a Quaker town, to a family of Quaker doctors. Before her birth, her father practiced medicine in Seoul, Korea, where one of her older brothers was born.
Miriam grew up in a white, middle-class family, steeped in concerns for equality, simplicity and peace, as she herself described it in a brief biographical statement. Social concerns, valuing differences, thinking of the other side of questions as they came up: this was the family mode. Miriams’ parents’ curiosities enriched her childhood. Her father would often bring people of interest from all over the world home for a meal, talking at the table with the children about different lifestyles, terrain and views of the world. The family was deeply committed to caring for Japanese in internment camps, among others.
Miriam and her brothers and sisters were all sent east for the high school years. Miriam attended Westtown, a Quaker boarding school outside Philadelphia, which bent her California twig a bit (as she described it)! There was scorn for outlanders, and California was the epitome of “far out.”
Miriam then attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. It had an innovative curriculum, integrating real life jobs into each major; work and study alternated and interlaced. Her jobs were: 1. Rural church work in southern Ohio (no electricity, extreme poverty); 2. Christ Church Cathedral, Sr. Louis, doing house calls; 3. Rural Mexico south of Mexico City, working for the health department in rural clinics for the American Friends Service Committee.
Miriam married Richard John Lee Covington, a rural minister intern in Lincoln, Nebraska, April 15, 1947. The couple moved to California where Miriam finished her college degree while pregnant, as her mother had done with her at the same college, Whittier College. Her relentless curiosity and hunger for knowledge melded well as Richard’s career turned to education. Despite this, after 24 moves in 24 years, they divorced.
Miriam has gifted the world with four children: David (Sharon), Margo (fmr Rusty), Carol (fmr David), Dale (Kun), as well as 5 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.
Miriam completed her education with two master's degrees, a general state teaching credential, and a Marriage, Family and Child Counselor license. She worked for two years at Los Angeles City College. She worked for 22 years for LA Unified School District schools in a social worker type position, making home calls, liaison with agencies and legal system attempting to ensure education for the unwilling, impeded, or blocked. She remained a committed Educator her whole life.
Miriam wanted to contribute to making the world a better place. She will have her gravestone engraved, “I left with empty hands, and took it all.” (David Covington)
This brief biographical statement is based primarily on a description of her life written by Miriam herself.