Peggy Post has done her fair share of “opening” and “closing” lately.
True, the concept of “closure” has received a lot of attention over the years. Just as a period or an exclamation point ends a sentence, closure marks the literal or emotional conclusion to a series of events. Closure has also highlighted the last few months of Post’s life.
Of course, gaining closure enables so many to understand how past events impact who we are today—and where we might go tomorrow.
And the Peggy Post of today is nothing short of extraordinary—though she will blush at my choice of adjective.
To the more enlightened, “to close” is less important than the next logical step: “to open.” As Post says, “I always have my eyes open.” And Peggy Post’s platform has been nothing short of eye opening for the countless individuals who have been inspired by her life’s work.
Peggy Post is the great-granddaughter-in-law of a legendary Post named Emily. “Emily Post’s Etiquette,” originally published in 1922, is about to release its 19th revised edition.
After nearly 21 years as Spokesperson and Author for The Emily Post Institute, Post has chosen to retire—to close the door on that part of her life. The good news: She is being succeeded at The Emily Post Institute by two Posts of the next generation, Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning.
In her high-profile role at The Emily Post Institute, Peggy Post has experienced a life of “10 minutes here” and “10 minutes there”—traveling the globe as an emissary for good. She has appeared on countless national television programs and has maintained a monthly column in Good Housekeeping magazine.
When asked to share a life-altering “10-minute” career moment in time, Peggy Post had an enviable list at her disposal—including when she was asked to improvise etiquette scenarios with Robin Williams on Good Morning America: “An amazing experience I’ll never forget!” she says.
However, her most poignant “10 minutes” recently landed closer to home, yet took place over 9,300 miles away.
A profoundly special experience that, no doubt, would have brought a tear to Emily’s eye.
George Eustis Cookman was born on March 22, 1916. He was the biological father of Peggy’s husband, Allen Post. George Cookman’s military credentials include: Lieutenant, U.S.N.R., PT boat Division Leader and MTB Squadron 5. Lt. Cookman was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action and the Purple Heart for Military Merit and for wounds resulting in his death on August 3, 1943.
He died leading a division of four PT boats in a gun battle in the Solomon Islands.
Lt. Cookman left behind his young wife, Elizabeth, and a 2-month-old son, Allen. Tragically, George never had the opportunity to meet his infant son.
The strong-willed Elizabeth would bravely persevere, move to Washington, DC, and ultimately find love with another man—a true gentleman who would embrace her young child as his own. Their marriage lasted over 60 years.
His name: William G. Post.
Mr. Post, Elizabeth’s second husband, was also Emily Post’s only grandchild.
Though young Allen would be blessed with his beloved adoptive father’s love—and eventually, his surname—countless “what if” scenarios revolving around his brave biological father remained.
In the spirit of closure—and in reverence to the unbreakable spiritual bond between father and son—Allen and his wife, Peggy Post, began a journey that would open a window to their very souls.
In late January 2016, Allen and Peggy traveled to George’s final resting place, the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines. In an event that would induce tears of joy and sorrow, father and son, George Eustis Cookman and Allen Cookman Post, “met” for the very first time.
Words to the wise: Closure is most effective when, in the process, it opens your heart.
If Peggy Post could open a magical door to the past, she would undoubtedly bestow upon her husband another precious moment: one-on-one time with his war-hero father. Time that courage—and history—took away.
To George Eustis Cookman and William G. Post—and the countless other devoted fathers and stepfathers who value a child’s love over their bloodline—may every day be a happy father’s day.
For more on marketer, writer, creative consultant and motivational speaker Randall Kenneth Jones, visit RandallKennethJones.com.
“10 Minutes with…” by Randall Kenneth Jones appears in TURQUOISE magazine, Naples, FL.