Five children huddled together, listening. Their bellies are full of butterflies, bursting with a hungry hope, listening to their dad talk on the telephone around the corner. He is calling the bus drivers one by one, asking, “What does it look like out your way; do you think you can make it through?” Dad’s phone conversation will determine a day of adventure or tedium. Suddenly the children are jumping up and down, shrieking with delight. Woohoo, snow day! You see, dad is the principal; his children are always the first to get the news.
Peg (Waterman) Oswald grew up in the small town of Stanford, in upstate New York. She was the fourth of five kids. Her dad was the principal of the K-12 central school. Mom was a music teacher.
Music was pervasive in the Waterman household. The family was very involved in the Presbyterian Church. Mom was the church organist and dad sang in the choir. The children were often asked to sing together in front of the congregation. Each child played at least one instrument. Peg chose the flute. From an early age the siblings would occasionally all play together, and mom would find an errand to run so she could leave the house for a while.
The Watermans spent a lot of time outdoors, on the farm and in the wilderness. They were avid hikers and went on long backpacking trips. And every summer they camped for two weeks in an isolated area of the Adirondacks. Both parents were birders.
After high school Peg got her degree from New Paltz State Teachers College. After college she taught second grade for four years in Schenectady – it was her first time being on her own. She enjoyed this time – teaching brought her joy.
Peg and a girlfriend began talking about the need for a change. They were feeling the need for a little adventure. Peg loved to ski and her friend wanted to experience a big city, so they decided to move to Denver.
Peg eventually got a job teaching in Northglenn. She spent much of her free time skiing in Aspen. This was before the real estate development, way back when Aspen was wild and free. She met a blue-eyed boy on a black diamond run, and chased him ‘round the powdered slopes.
Lance Oswald was in Aspen completing his Masters thesis, and skiing. Well, mostly skiing. He eventually finished his thesis and got a counseling job in the engineering department at the University of Colorado.
Peg and Lance got hitched and moved to Boulder. Alyssa and Aaron were welcomed into the world. The family discovered the UU church in Boulder, and joined the community. The Oswalds would become connoisseurs of fresh air, spending more time out-of-doors than in – hiking, skiing, backpacking, camping – worshiping the beauty of wilderness.
The Oswalds eventually moved to Glenwood Springs, where Lance sold log homes. A year and a half later they finally found their way to Grand Junction, when Lance accepted a counseling job at Mesa State College. Peg started out substitute teaching, and taught elementary school until she retired.
In every stage of Peg’s life she was involved in music. At every stop along the way she found a choir to share her voice. In Grand Junction she started out singing with The Revelers and then the Western Colorado Chorale. The highlights were when The Chorale performed in New York City at Lincoln Center, and at Carnegie Hall.
When Lance and Peg first moved into town they had been excited to discover a group of Unitarians meeting in town. Yet, the first time they walked through the door they encountered a small circle of chairs with a half dozen folks. Over the next dozen years the group grew to around 30 people, with a small children’s religious education group; yet, the group gradually dwindled and finally dissolved.
A few years later the Oswalds met Shari Daly-Miller. Shari and Lance would conduct an effort to restart the UU church in Grand Junction – rising from the ashes. A few years later the group was thriving, with close to 100 members and several young families with children. Seeing around a dozen energetic children, Peg decided to start a children’s choir. She loved it! She liked it so much that a few years later she got talked into starting an adult choir, and was the beloved UU choir director for many years.
When Peg retired she started classes at the Art Center. She currently belongs to The Uptown Art Colony, which is a group of 12 ladies who share studio space and offer classes and instruction in Downtown Grand Junction. Peg works on her pastel painting at the Colony and her pottery at the Art Center. Peg’s paintings and pottery have been shown in galleries in Grand Junction and Palisade, as well as in and annual art show in the UUCGV building in October.
Peg feels like she’s lived a storybook life. She’s been fortunate to have a family of origin that showed her how to love – love others, love music, love the earth. She says that she’s been lucky in happiness, yet it all boils down to her outlook, to the moment and how she greets it – encouraged and encouraging in the art of administering joy.
Life goes on… in endless song…