Our Bright Sprite, Peggy White
By Jane Hill
Peggy White (née Warehime), fifteen years a widow and into her 8th decade, confesses that her life now is pretty mellow. She admits to catching a few soap operas on the T.V. to pass time. She still drives and loves to keep her garden growing; flowers greet you at her door. The pride she takes in keeping her sweet, small home clean and “neat as a pin” testifies to her attention to things important.
But when she was a younger woman, Peggy’s life held many adventures. Born on the reservation at Keller, Peggy’s family was flooded out and forced to move by the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam. Having lived in many places in our state, both as child and adult, Peggy recalls attending school at Lakeside, a small town near Chelan. That school only offered six grades; for high school Peggy rode the school bus to Chelan. She graduated from Chelan High School and remembers fondly a favorite teacher, Mrs. Bennett, who taught business and typing classes.
After graduating, Peggy took a job at the local movie theater. There she met Jack, eight years her senior and a friend of her father’s. Love blossomed and a wedding ensued!
Jack was a man who knew (and loved) horses. He spent a lifetime acquiring horses, breaking and training them, and then selling them to satisfied new owners. Peggy remembers fondly the day Jack presented her with her very own new horse. “Break her in like you want her,” was Jack’s only advice, and Peggy did. Beloved Skeeter was Peggy’s own longtime, four-legged companion.
Although Peggy may be small in stature, her interests encompass the great outdoors. Jack and Peggy had a business leading pack trips into the wilderness. Peggy would finish out the spring in Manson with son and daughter in school (both now deceased), while Jack would go on to Stehekin and get things set up there for the trips. Peggy and the children joined him after the school year finished, where Peggy’s job then became chief cook for the packers.
Peggy recalls one pack trip where it rained for two weeks straight! The rut of the normal horse trail was filled with water, and Jack feared that a horse, in trying to avoid walking in water, might cause an accident. So they camped at one site for four days! Did any of the campers complain? On the contrary, all were content, including two teenage girls who reported that, “It wouldn’t have been any fun without the rain!”
Peggy acknowledges that when her children were young, she enjoyed making their clothes, as well as perfecting other needlework activities. She concedes to being a “mean counted cross stitcher” in her day. But as years pass, and eyes and memory fade, and hands become less nimble, Peggy reports that she’s left all that behind. “When it got to be no fun, I stopped doing it,” she explains logically.
Well, evidently gardening is still fun for Peggy! Be sure to ask her when it’s safe to plant your pansies!