The Face of the Story-Peggy


Fortitude. Courage in pain or adversity.

Although my white privilege excludes me almost 100% from any real pain or adversity, being a woman with ideas sure is scary to some folks.

A firm believer in my personal belief that “if you can do it better, then do it” has in the past done nothing but get me seated on boards, put on committees and drafted to volunteer to coordinate everything from church spaghetti dinners to decorating Rube Goldberg machines with 5th graders. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed everything I have ever done because I made the decision to, but man oh man, did it ever take me awhile to learn how to say no.

I’m no slouch. I work my tail off. I finish what I start. I mean what I say. I keep a secret when I’m asked to. I strive to be a better human being than I was the day before. Sometimes that works out wonderfully. Sometimes I fail miserably. You’ll never make a basket unless you shoot the ball. (Wisdom I stole from my son, Ian.)

Fortitude means endurance. Hanging in there. Like I have done with this dream of mine. Since high school, I have dreamt of owning a store which showcases the talent of local artists. Well, high school was a fat minute ago. Life deals you a hand and you do your best to play it through.

I moved back to Decatur after living in the Metro East St. Louis area working with the dink Blick Art Supply company, married and opened Piccadilly Pantry, a gourmet food shop, which I sold one month prior to my son being born in 1996. Since then I’ve been a waitress, a receptionist (not for me), worked in banking (again, not for me), in a call center (hated it!) and ended up at the Decatur Area Arts Council until December 15th of 2017.

All that time I spent creating as much art as I possibly could, coming up with my own personal care product line called Jaded Hippie, getting divorced, being a single mother, remarrying and adding another beautiful little human named Grace to the world. Whew! That paragraph wears me out!

But this dream. It wouldn’t stop pushing itself to the front of my mind. After seeking a more “me” position in my place of employment and being denied the opportunity to advance, I decided it was time to get out of going nowhere. I looked for another job for well over a year. I went to countless interviews and had recurring nightmares of cubicles and time clocks. So, I went to the bank. More than a few times. During one visit I was asked by a banker if “my husband knew what I was doing”.

Uh, huh. Yeah, I know.

Fortitude also means determination. See? There's even a chance that you were standing in my gallery when this collection first debuted.