One from the Heart
WWhat a lovely morning breakfast at the Sunrise CafÈ with outgoing First Lady Mary Ann Peeples, one of the kindest people I have ever met!
New beginnings are often very difficult when the old days were so full of joys. Such is the case with Mary Ann Peeples, wife of our longest serving former mayor Tom Peeples, and part of the fabric of Hilton Head Island life. Unique is the best word I can find to describe her. See if you agree.
Pink: You and Tom have known each other for a long time have you not?
Mary Ann: Yes, we grew up in Ridgeland together. I dated his best friend through high school, but when we broke up, Tom and I started to date. It was 12 days later that he proposed! I guess you could say he was waiting in the wings. We are still not only in love, but we are best friends.
P: Talk about some highlights of your time as "the mayor's wife."
Mary Ann: That old saying that "it has been an honor to serve" is really true in my case. It has opened doors for me that would not have been possible. I think Honey Horn is something that will endure and I am proud of the part I had in that. Tom, Steve Riley [Hilton Head Island Town Manager], and I were together one evening and started to discuss the idea and, you know, it just seemed to take on a life of its own. It just ran, so to speak. Michael Marks [President/CEO Coastal Discovery Museum] is the best. The Coastal Discovery Museum would not be what it is today if not for him. I am also proud of the Mary Ann Peeples Pavilion [at Honey Horn]. When it was announced that it was going to be named after me, I was so damned shocked I nearly fainted. I was called up on stage at a concert and I did not know why. What a wonderful moment that was in my life.
I am also very proud to be on the Board of [Hargray's] Caring Coins. We are giving money now toward feeding hungry people. We also help with legal aid to try to help people from losing their homes. These are important issues to me - real heart issues.
P: Do you have immediate plans now that you two are "free"?
Mary Ann: Yes, we are going to Napa, California. Our son Josh is a winemaker for a St. Helena vineyard called Chateau Boswell. We have a granddaughter named Eloise who is the cutest baby in the world and I am not biased when I say that, you know! We can't wait to spend some time with them. That is at the top of our list right now.
P: So what are your ongoing plans for the future?
Mary Ann: I have big future plans. Tom and I are going to spend some time together. We are going to Cooter Island for awhile. That is a little 10-acre Island we own that has a house on it that we have built together over the years. You can only get to it by boat. We are so at peace there.
We also plan to sit on our front porch and read, plant flowers, weed the yard and watch TV. We honestly love to share quiet time. Our big daytime plans are to ride our bikes around the Island. How about that for big future plans? We can hardly wait!
I sat with Mary Ann for more than a hour and a half and did not hear her say one negative word about anyone or anything. I know she has a reputation for being a "go-getter" when her mind is made up, but on this occasion, we did what she says she likes to do most - we sat quietly and enjoyed each other's company. I would say she will certainly be missed, but I do not think that is the truth. She will more than likely be there for whatever needs to be done!
P: What is your favorite place to be on the Island?
Mary Ann: I love Honey Horn, but really my favorite place to be is my own front porch. We look at the water for hours. We also love all of our parks and we ride our bikes all over.
P: What is your favorite thing to do in your private moments?
Mary Ann: I love to work in my yard. I play classical music as loud as I can while I work and my neighbors love it. No, they really do. We have great neighbors.
P: Do you have close friends you like to spend time with?
Mary Ann: Yes, my dear childhood friend Dean Huntly and I get together almost weekly over a bottle of wine and just talk nineteen to the dozen. She is a sister friend. David Heape has also been a friend, as they say, since we were in diapers. He means a lot to me.
P: Any final words?
Mary Ann: Yes, we have had some sadness and illness in our family recently. I have a wonderful sister who is an inspiration to me. We both say that God is good and God will get us through anything.