Peg Jones

I wouldn't appreciate the current events involving Joe Paterno were it not for the influence of a feisty woman of Irish extraction, Margaret L. Jones (a.k.a. "Peg"), a PhD highly regarded in the circles of early childhood education in Washington, DC and beyond. In the 1980s, Peg was the director of research for the National Education Association where I worked. Her sharp features diverted an observer's attention from her diminutive stature. Her extraordinary green eyes sparkled at life's comedies, but also recognized and dealt with malarky when she saw it. I wish I had a photo of her. She was pretty and I liked her very much.

Casual office conversation often turned to football, a sport for which I have little affinity and for whose intricacies I have the retentive ability of Swiss cheese. My knowledge of football consists of that which one can't avoid because of the osmotic nature of everybody else's infatuation with it. So for reasons I can't imagine, one day Peg and I were talking about football.

You root for somebody in Pennsylvania, don't you? I asked innocently.

Peg made herself great big and responded sternly:


Somebody in Pennsylvania! You mean Penn State. PENN STATE! SAY IT!

pennstate, I twittered.

And who is the football coach at Penn State? she demanded.

uhhh . . . .

JOE PATERNO! SAY IT! Peg thundered.

joepaterno, I squeaked.

Peg knew how to get a point across and make it stick. Too bad I never asked her for lessons about football rules.

Peg left this life many years ago. She would have been vexed at Penn State's fall from grace. I'm glad she didn't have to see it.