Published 6:39 am Wednesday, July 26, 2006
By By LYDIA GRIMES – Features writer
Peggy Bracken has come into the lives of many, including her “family” at The Brewton Standard.
Bracken served Escambia County with the extension service for 28 years and wrote a column for The Brewton Standard at the same time.
She also taught home economics in the county school system at W.S. Neal High School for about seven years.
Bracken was born in Walker Springs, into a family of two brothers and one sister.
Her father ran a sawmill and her mother taught school. She grew up in the country attending Walker Springs School and graduated from Jackson High School in Clark County in 1948.
Bracken wasn't sure what she wanted to do with her life.
Bracken went to Livingston State Teachers College (now the University of West Alabama) and then transferred to Auburn to earn her degree in home economics.
She graduated in 1952 and began looking for a job. She heard about a position being open in the Escambia County High School system.
It wasn't long before she met a young man named Jack Bracken, who was working with his dad at their grocery store. It was located on Douglas Avenue at the corner of Granberry Street. It wasn't long before wedding plans were made and the couple was married in 1953.
The next few years saw the family grow when Karen, John and Melissa were born. Bracken continued to teach, taking some time off from work with each one. She was lucky enough to have substitutes who were ready to let her have her job back each time.
But after the birth of Melissa she found her position filled at the school, so she sought employment with the county extension service. At that time, the extension agents were in charge of the 4-H Clubs. At that time most students in the country schools were members of 4-H. Bracken taught girls how to cook and sew while another agent taught the boys how to raise their pigs and calves.
In addition, there were homemaker clubs scattered all over the county. The members met once a month to learn sewing and cooking. Bracken was on hand to teach the art of canning and freezing the many vegetables grown in the county.
It was during this same time that Bracken began writing for The Brewton Standard. She would go to her meetings and take pictures of what they were doing that week or month. Then she would write a column relating to that subject for the newspaper.
Bracken said she remembered a lot of people who have worked with The Brewton Standard.
One would think that Bracken had the perfect life and she is always smiling. But things were not so perfect all the time. Her husband was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and when they built their home on Edgewood, much care was given to the blueprints.
Joe Strickland designed the house and it is certainly unique. Most homes have a hallway and it is usually down the middle of the house. The Bracken's home was designed with a wide hall down one whole side of the house with wide doorways leading to each room so that the wheelchair would fit through.
Sadly, Jack Bracken died in 1989, but Peggy Bracken is still going strong.
She retired from the newspaper and the extension service in 1991 but her life is just as busy now as it was when she was working. She is quite proud of the fact that she was able to make two mission trips to Romania and two to Mexico with her church family at First Baptist Church of Brewton. She is very active in her church and in the community. She teaches the adult ladies Sunday school class and has enjoyed teaching to the ladies who live at Holley House.
She loves to work in her yard with her flowers and belongs to the Meadorwood Garden Club. She is an active member of the Escambia County Historical Society.