In the days when the dust still rolled across the flat prairie, a stork flew in the same direction Laura Ingalls Wilder traveled half a century earlier. The stork set his bundle on the steps of the only church parsonage in Dolton, South Dakota. The young preacher and his wife swooped that baby boomer up and added her to their family of three. In due time, she became one of four preacher’s kids. Her childhood moved across the plain states to four different pastorates, but in each location, she found reading a difficult task.
By the time high school graduation arrived, she edged away from the family, moving east to college in Indiana. When the family car pulled out of the driveway in 1964, one white-knuckled seventeen-year-old sat silently, refusing to look back. Four years later, she left college with two more initials to her name and a fiancé from Michigan. That state has been her home ever since.
After marriage, the first door Peggy knocked on was the office of the Superintendent of Schools in Farmington, Michigan, launching a career in elementary education. Simultaneously she enrolled in graduate school, since not all of those first graders could read automatically. At the end of every school year, she received the same gift from the administration: a pink slip. For eight Septembers she faithfully marched back to school with a new teaching assignment in tow.
In 1980, three-times-blessed by the stork, the family moved into the upstairs of a mortuary to cut costs in the family’s newest business venture. For five years, Peggy worked alongside her husband building their business: answering phones, arranging flowers, and styling hair. Occasionally she would substitute teach. But when their last cherub enrolled in school, she swapped the funeral industry for a job in the local school district. As the business grew, so did the children. To keep up with them, Peggy recertified and moved into middle and high school, where she continued to work with reluctant readers. The job shuffled over the thirty years in education. Sometimes she taught in a self-contained classroom, other times as a teacher-consultant. But at every turn in the road, children, centered her career.
In 2000 Peggy retired. Her husband sold his business, and they moved to the middle of Michigan’s mitten on a lake surrounded by woods. For eight years, she facilitated online instruction in English Literature, Speech, Communications, and Business English. Today Peggy divides her days between grand parenting, writing, and stopping by her husband’s workshop to see his latest carving. It’s been a full life, but not too full. The bucket list still remains with many more stories to write, and many more children to reach.