This week's post is about my friend Peg. As way of introduction, let's play "Five Truths and a Lie". In this game, you have to guess which statement about Peg is a lie. Ready? Here we go.
In 1975, Peg boarded a Greyhound bus by herself to spend the weekend at her brother's fraternity house at the University of Wisconsin. She was five.
Traveling alone to see her sister in New York, Peg boarded a plane to Chicago, and at O'Hare, switched planes for La Guardia. On the flight, her seatmate spilled coffee on her dress. She asked for reimbursement towards her dry cleaning bill and the gentleman handed over $10. She was eight.
Peg once took a sedative and then visited a local jeweler where she ordered a charm necklace engraved with the birthdates of her three children. Six weeks later, she picked up the necklace and proudly wore it home where her children pointed out to their mother that every single birthdate was wrong.
In college at a party, Peg saw a strange man across the room, pointed at him, and announced, "I'm going to marry him!" An hour later, lured into his room, Peg removed her socks and shoes at his bequest to see her feet. Doing so proved to this stranger that Peg is game for anything and some years later, he married Peg.
Last summer, Peg asked her husband to climb a tree and steal a baby crow out of a nest for her to raise. Her son named the crow Vladimir Putin and he -- the crow, not the son -- has his own Facebook page. Vladimir perches in Peg's daughter's room and stares at her when she gets ready for bed. Like in a lustful creepy way. Like in a Putin way.
Peg has served as the president of her children's school's PTO.
Okay, so we all know which statement is a lie, don't we. Peg was never asked to serve as president of the PTO. Would you ask such a woman to serve as president of the PTO?
Actually, I would ask Peg to be president of this blog if I could. I am utterly besotted with her. She is a modern day pioneer woman who, I swear, must be the product of Laura Ingalls Wilder's illicit late-in-life fling with Mark Twain. She skins and sautées squirrels, catches and guts fish, grows strawberries and peaches, herds sheep, and tames crows, all while telling tall Irish tales and serving high tea to teenagers. She lives out in the country in a rambling house built in 1947 by her husband's great-grandparents, Lettie and Otto, and she rules the roost.
The homestead is named Traumerai, Austrian for "a beautiful dream", and it was constructed using the stones and beams from a pre-Civil War barn on the property. Each room is interesting in its own right. But today's tour is limited to the heart of the house, a particularly rustic space that is impervious to trends, and that could exist for one hundred years, exactly as is, and people of the future would brush away the cobwebs and fight for the chance to move in. Enjoy!
When I asked Peg why she is the way she is, she laughed and said, "I don't know where I came from." But she credits her parents for giving her freedom to express herself. Beginning from her earliest days, she lived her life colorfully, wearing tiny sequined lady dresses her mother purchased from a dwarf retiring from the circus. The precocious child has grown into a Renaissance woman who surrounds herself with the things she loves but never forgets that it is people, not objects, that make her life so rich.
Photos by Renn Kuhnen.
If you liked reading about a space steeped in personality, you might enjoy this post I wrote about a very special dining room.
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