Neighborhood: Emerald Gardens
NEIGHBOR FOR:14 years
Growing up in the small town of Lead, S.D., Peggy Messick never imagined herself working in the Pentagon, but, at 18 years old, that was exactly what she was doing.
Messick’s grandparents raised her in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She was engaged to her childhood sweetheart, Jack Dobson, before he was killed in World War II as a flyer.
After her fiancé’s death, Messick packed her bags and went to Washington, D.C., to live with her aunt and cousin.
“I was just 17,” Messick says. “I hung around the senator’s office, took the civil exam and, at 18, got a job working for the war department in the Pentagon.” She worked nine hours a day, six days a week, and on Sundays, she typed telegrams to families informing them if their loved ones were wounded or dead.
“I did that for five months, every Sunday, until I couldn’t take it anymore.” Messick met her husband, William Lenard Messick, in 1945 on a blind date.
Messick moved to Sarasota in 1998 to be closer to her son, after her husband suffered a stroke.
Messick loves her neighbors at Emerald Gardens and recalls a time she accidentally set off her alarm system. “Before I could get to it, there were bells and whistles and every neighbor had collected in front of my house to make sure I was OK,” Messick says. “That’s an example of this neighborhood.”
IN HER OWN WORDS
“That’s my neighborhood; they are just there for you. I am very blessed. I’ve got some wonderful neighbors.”