Posted by: jeannineatkins | April 2, 2012


Snow lightly fell soon after I learned about the death of my friend. I rescued some daffodils, broke some quince branches, which opened for me in warm water.

Peg was a wonderful mom, nursery school teacher, and writer. Here she is with me, Ellen Wittlinger, and Jo Knowles in November, taking a break from scribbling rather furiously on her yellow pad. She asked someone passing by the big wooden table we claimed in Greenfields Market to record the morning. Peg had patted her hair, and commented that being on chemo, she’d decided not to have it permed. “A waste of money, if it’s going to fall out.” She enjoyed her silver curls, but she was practical. She loved to laugh, and she faced facts.

We called her Peg or Peggy, but on her book jackets she was Marguerite W. Davol. I love the language in her picture books such as Batwings and the Curtain of Night, the joy of The Paper Dragon, and Black White, Just Right, a sort of love letter to her grandchildren.

Maybe what I most miss and what I’ll always have is the belief we had in each other, which all my good writer friends – many of whom I know here, online — share. Those car trips, book fair tables, writing dates in Greenfields or Esselon were marked by celebration, complaints, and a little gossip among the work. Most importantly, we knew that whatever we said might be met with a laugh or a hug or concerned look, but always, always with conviction that we’d keep going on.  No matter what, we’d write what we dreamed of writing. What a gift. Thank you, Peg.




  1. Beautiful Jeannine. She is already so missed.

    • Laura, I’m so glad you both got to enjoy each other’s brightness.

  2. What a wonderful tribute. I know Peg’s work and am sorry to hear of her passing. Thanks for sharing her with us.

    • Yeah, there’s a lot of zip and verve in her work that will keep readers smiling, which is a happy thought.

  3. What a spunky, sparkly lady Peg was. And what a good soul. Wonderful that you and she shared such a strong friendship.

    • Spunky and sparkly: perfect words for Peg, Sarah, and yes, a good soul, too.

  4. Jeanine,
    You say it all so well. Peg’s leaving us leaves a big gap in our writing community. I love what you say about supporting each other, and she definitely was one to keep going no matter what. Thanks for writing this, and also for the lovely photo of the flowers.

    • She was not going to let go of that pencil easily, that’s for sure, even while she appreciated all aspects of the non-writing life, too. Thanks, Amy, and so glad we could share some thoughts of Peg.

  5. I’m sorry for your loss Jeannine. The writing about her is beautiful.

  6. *sigh* You captured it all so well, Jeannine. Thank you! I have to believe that she is still looking on and cheering for us. Hugs!

    • Sometimes we just have to sigh. But I agree, the cheers won’t stop. Hugs back to you.

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