Jeanne's Perspective

Jeanne is guest blogging here tonight!  Enjoy her thoughts about her journey to open Peggy Jean's Pies - both the original and Version 2.0.  - Rebecca **********

I have always thought that life was best expressed as a line marked on a wall each year to show a child's growth.  Every year, you reached some milestone.  Learning to walk, learning to read, learning to drive, graduation from high school, to name a few.  Straight line steps.  Maybe these assumptions are true for some that have a clear vision of who they really are and for those who truly like themselves.

I never felt my growth line was a straight upward shot.  So many hairline curves criss-crossing the straight line.  The need to please, the need to be liked, and the need to be perfect created the scary curves of my life.  Never sure if I was in the right work environment, never sure of myself as a mother, daughter, sister, or wife.  The least bit of criticism or funny remark made was like a ding against who I was and fed the monster of self doubt within.

In my early forties, I began to tire of myself.  Maybe age does come wisdom and I began to accept myself.  One of the first benefits of looking inward was acknowledging that I was an unemployable person.  My creative brain does not want to follow work environment rules. I don't like food days at the office.  I don't like the power struggles between co-workers. I don't like the set hours five days a week.  You might say I didn't fit into that neat box of what an “ideal employee” should be.

The next step in my discovery was to create a paying environment that let me work without restraints.  This idea became “I need to have my own business!"  Although an exciting thought, logistically what would that be? A woman in her midlife finally peeling away issues of doubt was hard pressed to think of something she liked to do or anything she would be good at doing

That old cliche of “jack of all trades and master of none” summed up my interests.  As a single mom on a very limited budget, I had taught myself sewing, home repairs, and woodworking.  I enjoyed them all but how to parlay that into earning a living stumped me.  Self-growth was slow and providing a home for myself and young daughter was constant.

Football season is a great time for a college town.  My daughter loved to go to the games and blend into the roaring excitement of thousand of fans focused on cheering the home town players to victory.  I was not into crowds of people going to watch a sporting event or even a concert.  My best friend Peg was a huge football fan.  What I lacked in excitement in going to a game, she more than made up for it and she and my daughter relished every Saturday football game.

What is the point of mentioning the football games in my desire to own my own business?  Because on one of those football Saturdays, relatives from Ohio came for the game.  So off went my daughter with Peg and the rest of the troupe to the game.  I stayed behind to prepare the dinner meal for all. The dessert was my mother's apple pie recipe.  The pie was hailed as delicious by everyone at dinner and everyone exclaimed you couldn't buy pie like that any more.  Peg said to me that I should really consider baking pies for a living.  That simple comment sparked a new journey in my life.  Baking is so simple and something I had always enjoyed doing.  To feel the sticky dough between your fingers, the dusting of flour in the air and on your clothes, the smell of fresh fruit baking in the oven gave such joy of creating a edible piece of art for those you love...those are all things I relish.   Long ago I learned that the smells emanating from the kitchen can make any bad day seem not so bad or tells those entering door when they come home how much they are loved.

My forties were my age of enlightenment, my age of discovery, and my age of acknowledging my love of baking.  Peg and I created Peggy Jean's Pies and operated it for over ten years.  As Peg's age and health began to impact her ability to be part of the business, I became more and more overwhelmed with the needs of the business.  I had also promised Peg that I wouldn't support a decision to put her in a nursing home, so her husband and I cared for her around the clock.  The combination of the two daunting tasks was more than I could handle.  I closed Peggy Jean's and cared for Peg in the last months of her life.

It has been ten years since the closing of Peggy Jeans Pies and it has taken me those ten years to resolve the pain of losing my best friend and business partner Peg. Those ten years have also helped me come to terms with the sense of failure in closing the pie shop. In those ten years I have been blessed with two grandchildren that shine a light in my life. My daughter is my muse and an inspires feelings that have ultimately blossomed into re-opening the bakery.

I turned 60 this year and it will be a great decade for me. I feel things have come full circle.  With my daughter right beside me and the faith in God to lead our way, the possibilities are endless.  Bring them on!