Margaret Ann Philbrick began gardening at five years old when her mother gave her a pansy garden to plant and tend. 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, Eggo Waffles and cereals, she stayed home with her children and helped them plant their own gardens. Now they’ve grown, so she is cultivating her own garden of words with her Humanities students and her own words at her mother’s old desk looking out at the Delta Gamma Sorority house on the U.W. campus.
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 thirty-one 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.” She forever 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 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.