Tuesday, April 27, 2010
DAUGHTER OF MICHIGAN, THE FINAL CHAPTER: MARGARET'S COLLEGE
Margaret did return to Hudson for visits. It is recorded in the lighthouse logbooks. Yet, she never returned for extended periods and she never again wrote with such despair. Long after her family died and the estates were settled, Margaret and Edward retired to live within the Methodist community at Lakeside. They built a bungalow after tearing down a cottage on the lot they purchased. It was the first real home Margaret would ever own. (The house still stands today and is owned by the couple who purchased the property after Edward's death.) During that time, she heard the call for donations to help fund a new Methodist college in a place she had never been, the state of Alaska. Its purpose was to offer an education and a chance to obtain something the world had denied an indigenous people because of who they were ethnically. Margaret knew what it was to be denied something because of her gender and she knew what her husband’s people had experienced prior to the Great War because of their ethnicity.
Now into her eightieth year, her thriftiness had paid more then a small dividend. Family remembered serving tea to Margaret and Edward. Margaret saved the second tea bag, dipping the first into Edward’s cup and then into her cup. It was remembered with the smiles of those who could never understand what it was like to be the lighthouse keeper’s wife. Who knew when the tender would bring supplies? Or, if you might be stranded for weeks without any supplies? Margaret knew, because it had happened many times.
Perhaps the community she grew up in really had prepared her for the incredible journey she had traveled. Now, that thrifty nature they were so well known for would provide the funds for a college. Margaret answered that call with a sizable donation. Although the donation check was signed by both Margaret and Edward, the acknowledgment letters were addressed to Mrs. Herman. Alaska Pacific University (formerly Alaska Methodist University) remains today an ever-growing educational institution. Although her donation may have been long forgotten by those who administer its programs, it lives on in the minds of those who have received their degrees and contribute to the world beyond.
Now, Margaret had done more then fill her mind with knowledge and she was right where she wanted to be. She had achieved something in life beyond the societal expectations of her 19Th century birth.
When Margaret King Herman died the Lakeside Yard and Garden Club included the following poem above her memoriam.
“It matters not how straight the gate
How charged with punishment the scroll
I am the master of my fate;
I am the master of my soul.”
-Wm. Ernest Henley-
Margaret had fulfilled her destiny.
Post Script: In 2010 Alaska Pacific University was voted one of the best small liberal arts colleges in the United States. They offer undergraduate degree programs in Environmental Science and Marine Biology. Their graduate program includes a Master of Science and a Master of Environmental Science.
For more information; www.alaskapacific.edu