Love at the Speed of Flight
Do you believe in love at first sight? If not, meet Peggie Bailey and you might change your mind. Picture a young girl growing up in a small, rural community. Picture her growing restless with her first job as a bookkeeper and heading off to New York City on a train. Picture this same girl in a crisp uniform, serving up safety instructions and cocktails on a commercial airliner. While it is not hard to imagine a young pilot sweeping her off her feet, it is difficult to fathom the speed at which her heart took flight.
October 31, Peggie was headed from New York to her home base in New Orleans, when along came a co-pilot with big brown eyes and a cocky attitude. "I always look at eyes first," said Peggie. "You just knew when you looked at him that he was interested in what you were saying. He wasn't 'macho,' but he was very confident in himself."
Before the plane landed he had asked her for a date. "He also asked for an aspirin, which he never got," said Peggie.
While she was too busy to remember the headache pill, she would never forget her first date with Tom Bailey. Off to a popular night spot to dance, Peggie broke the heel of her shoe on the way. After returning home to get another pair, it was too late to go back, so the couple stopped at another club where they spent the evening getting to know each other.
Mutually smitten, Tom asked Peggie out again, and she didn't waste any time canceling the rest of her weekend plans. As they rode the streetcar on Canal Street the next evening, Tom spotted his dad standing on the corner. Unaware that his father was in town on business, he and Peggie hopped off the trolley and spent the evening with him.
By Thanksgiving, Peggie had met the rest of the family and agreed to marry Tom. They exchanged vows on February 16. "We planned to get married on Valentine's Day," said Peggie. "Unfortunately, it didn't fall on a Saturday."
Of her whirlwind courtship she said, "I'm not sure it was love at first sight, but maybe second or third. Admitting that she and Tom are opposites in many regards, she added, "I think it was a lot of luck."
With few similar interests, their common ground lies in their family backgrounds, faith and value systems, she explained. "Meeting his father had a lot to do with letting me know I wasn't making a mistake. I really didn't have any doubts."
After marriage, Peggie was forced to give up her career as a flight attendant. Shortly thereafter, the Baileys moved from Newark, NJ to Hilton Head Island. Peggie took a job with Allstate Insurance until the first child came along, while Tom continued his career as a pilot with United Airlines. They went on to raise three children, and Peggie later opened a stereo shop, The Gramophone, which she sold in 1984. Tom has since retired, but Peggie enjoys her job as a fulltime Realtor with Century 21.
The Bailey's celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2007. According to Peggie, the secret to their long, happy marriage lies in communication. "We still argue at least once a day every day of the year. But we get it out. We don't pout, and we don't let it upset us."
Grew up in: Sylvania, Ga. Has lived on Hilton Head Island: 37 years Family: husband, Tom; children Tom (known as Tab), Richard and Melissa; seven grandchildren Describes herself as: outgoing, content People would be surprised to know: that she used to have a fear of meeting new people. Her "favorite thing in the world" is: reading. Favorite book: A Sea Island Lady, by Francis Griswold Best marital advice: "Get your differences resolved every day. Don't carry a grudge."