In this life, it is a given that you will be influenced by those in your natural family. However, when you are from a small town, individuals resonate beyond their perceived sphere of influence.
For two generations, Sandra Peat taught young Bonanzans how to be good Americans. It’s a simple process, really. Serve jury duty; don’t shirk it. Know how the government process works; don’t complain about things you aren’t willing to work toward changing. Give back where you can; there is always someone else worse off than you.
Lessons were not always restricted to the classroom. She coached us in junior high track, and had the high school cheerleaders and dance team in hand, too.
For those of us in the class of 1986, it never occurred to us, until her retirement, that she had begun teaching the year we were born. As a young professional, she was learning some important life lessons, too. Louie and Marean Randall were among those she’s said influenced her early in her time in Bonanza.
For a so-called liberal Democrat, she’s educated a lot of conservative Republicans. One and all she taught that bipartisanship is part of the American experience. I wish that were a platform plank for all politicians. Personally, I’m embarrassed by my Bonanza peers who find it necessary to bully and berate in the name of political beliefs. That wasn’t how we were raised by our parents, or by Miss Peat.
My best friend met Miss Peat for the first time last week. Deanna was struck at how shy Miss Peat seemed. I’d never thought about it. She’s a force in so many of our lives, not by sheer personality. It’s the quiet way she saw that things got done.
A teammate needed a jockstrap, and he readily had one so his boxers wouldn’t hang below his uniform at the next track meet. Someone needed a place to stay and there was an extra bed available. Another needed supervision while a sibling had surgery, and Miss Peat was there.
She shares her birthdate with Maud Baldwin, and in my mind both have shaped the Klamath Basin in the ways that came naturally. Maud left us a beautiful photographic presentation of the historic community, while Miss Peat has invested in the future by helping us become our best selves.
Thank you and happy birthday, MissPeat.