Margaret Ann Philbrick began gardening when her mother gave her a pansy garden to plant and tend when she was five. She grew up in a small Illinois town with a busy street out front and a big river out back. Ranunculus is her favorite flower and T.S. Eliot or Gerard Manley Hopkins are her favorite poets. After several years working in advertising, selling Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts, she stayed home with her children and helped them plant their own gardens. Now they’ve grown, so she is living her dream, cultivating a garden of words with dozens of writing students and her own words at the old “Lincoln desk” in her living room. Long ago it belonged to Lorenzo Lincoln, not Abe Lincoln. The laundry, if it gets done, doesn’t get folded.
With gratitude she thanks her parents and husband, Charlie, for providing for her education at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, Cambridge University, England and National Louis University in Chicago. Margaret and Charlie fell in love in Harry Caldwell’s Theories of Rhetorical Analysis class and despite being married twenty-nine years; they still try to read a poem, Oswald Chambers or the Bible to each other every night before the light goes out. She is exhilarated by the beginning of things like planting seeds in windowsill trays, researching a new novel or heading out on a trail run. Like George Bernard Shaw she hopes to be, “thoroughly used up when I die.” In 2019 she thanks her college writing professor and mentor, Dr. Coleen Grissom for the indelible inspiration and direction provided during those formative Texas years. Congratulations to former Dean Grissom on her retirement from teaching this year at the age of 85.
Margaret serves on boards, has multiple degrees and has won awards, but all that is pretty boring to talk about. Do, re, me, me, me….is tedious. Most important is the living reality that she is surrendered to the cross of Jesus Christ. Her favorite part of the day… morning prayer while walking or running her dog, Snuggles.