From One Peterson to Another


Mariam Keita, Reporter

What do you hope to do once you retire?

The main thing I want to do in retirement is take better care of myself. I put on weight the last several years/ I’m just not taking very good care of myself. I do really a nice job when summers are here in terms of exercising and doing a lot of things. I ride my bike sometimes an hour, two hours. Twenty, thirty, forty miles a day most days and do some other things and when the school year gets going I can’t get myself to do those kinds of things.

How do you define self care? What does it mean to you?

I would say taking better care of myself. I think that in life you need balance and one of those balances is certainly physical activity and things from that standpoint. Moderation in foods and different things and I’m just not doing those things very well right now.

I have an elderly father that I’m somewhat taking care of as well. I go from school a lot of times to see him. He’s 97, soon to be 98, and he’s lost his sight over the years and things. He’s in Legacy [Pointe Retirement Home]. I try to go over and make sure he has everything he needs, By the time I do school and do that, to be honest I’m kind of spent. I don’t do a very good job of taking care of myself. That’s one thing, while I have my health and while my wife has her health, I’d like to be able to do a bit of traveling and things like that. That’s kind of the main reason [for my retirement]. I wish I had a better plan of other things to do in retirement. I don’t know, I’m gonna look for things but I don’t have anything specific in mind. It may be trying to find something to make a little money just to help in retirement but it may be volunteer if I can find something that I really enjoy that’s volunteer. I have two children that live a ways away so it always takes a little bit of time to travel to them and stuff and It’ll be nice to have the freedom to not be tied to thanksgiving, christmas, spring break, and to have any time of the year to jump in the car if they need something– [though] I have no grandchildren yet!

I remember you saying you had a son that goes to [the University of] Dayton, tell me more about him.

Yup, they work there as the director, the very first director of the LGBTQ [facilities], they’ve never had an LGBT office there and so when they opened it, Petie was hired to be their first director of that office. They had been at Vanderbilt University in a similar office but as an associate so this allowed them kind of a step up to being a director [of queer affairs].

Tell me about your other kids.

I have two children. I have my son is actually in Seattle, Washington. He’s currently pursuing a masters degree in Environment, Community, and Education. He spent the last year on Bainbridge Island. The area schools send students to the island and then they’re literally 3-4 night overnight types of things. They do different types of environmental activities and education. For this program, they do what’s called the Island experience. First they do what’s called Island Wood. He was there early August through June 16th. This summer he’s got two unique opportunities, where the space needle is [in Seattle] there’s a specific science museum. Some alumni from this Island  Wood program came and somehow they got to talking and she does the hiring down at the science center. [My son] then went and interviewed with them and was hired.

Can I ask what her name is?

This will be a little odd because the counselor that’s replacing me, her name is Mary Louise Peterson and my wife’s name is Mary Louise Peterson.

Are you serious?

Yeah! When I met her, the person that coming to take my place, I said you know what’s funny is people have been joking, they think maybe my wife was hired or something like that. I told her, I said well the thing that would be really unusual is if your middle name started with an L or if it was Louise and she said my Grandmother’s name was Mary. One was Mary and the other was Louise. {9:20}

That is craziness. I was already laughing because you’re replacing a Peterson with another Peterson but that’s actually, that’s wow.

This last month or so is gonna be hectic because I’m in charge of advanced placement testing and two weeks in may that’s all I do and the week after that is the makeup and the week before is just getting everything ready so I think that last month [of the school year] I think I spend about 75-80% of my time doing nothing but advanced placement testing.

I see why you’re ready to retire. That’s so stressful, just thinking about it.

And that’s one thing about it, you always hate to say stress because when you’ve been at it for 23 years… But you know I think in some ways it has become more stressful over the years and things. Sometimes I wake up at night and all of a sudden I start thinking about work and then what I gotta do. I even started putting a notebook by my bed so I could- sometimes I think of stuff at night and then I forget in the morning so I started writing notes to myself!

So instead of keeping a dream journal, you were keeping a task journal?

Yes, that’s what I was doing. I’d be lying if I said I’m a little nervous, not when the weather’s good because there’s so many things you can do but I’m a little nervous about winter time, staying busy and things. One thing I did, I used to coach years ago and fortunately, I do play-by-play for a radio station.

What radio station?

It’s called KGYM. It’s odd, it’s a Cedar Rapids station but they have what’s called a south jam so they do Iowa City sports. So I do City, West, Regina, Clear Creek Amana,

Mr. Peterson you have a whole double-life, this is craziness.

Yeah, I  do.