Letter to the Editor re: Mama Pete (from Jan Reed)

Posted 6/12/13 – 

Bill, I haven’t seen Mountain Views yet but there’s a wonderful story Marge told me that I’d like to pass on.

During WWII, a couple of service wives came to her, asking if she’d sit with the children while they worked. She agreed…and when others heard about her, they brought their children to her. That’s when the Nursery School was started.

Then her husband, Charlie, contracted Multiple Sclerosis and was unable to work. He was incapacitated for about a year. So he helped her with easy household tasks such as cleaning beans, “de-podding” peas, that sort of thing, while Marge baby-sat. After about a year, as I recall, Charlie got much better because his MS was the type that would come and go at will. He was also a volunteer fireman, as you probably know, and loved that part of his voluntary life.

Marge got more and more children to care for, and began dividing them into “classes.” Charlie built the swimming pool, and, as you probably know, that was an integral part of the school. (He also built that Disney-like house on the west side of the yard.)

Kids actually learned how to swim, taught by the great Margie and her part-time staff.

She had a big swimming show every summer. I looked forward to it so much. There was always a chair set aside for the Sierra Madre News and I got to watch her aquatic show.  I always had a special page set aside for photos of the event so people in Sierra Madre could keep track of their little jewel of a nursery school. She definitely had a way with children, and she and her staff did a phenomenal job making sure that Sierra Madre kids got a fantastic start in life.

Alas, the heart of the school is gone. However, I’m very sure that Marjorie has made sure her wonderful Mama Pete’s Nursery School will continue, even without the “heart.”

Jan Reed

Pasadena, CA