By Peggy Prilaman Marxen
Peggy Prilaman Marxen grew up near the town of Meteor in northwestern Wisconsin’s Sawyer County, isolated by geography yet surrounded by close-knit extended family. Multiple generations of her family witnessed changes to rural Wisconsin that altered the fabric of their lives and the lives of all in their community, including the introduction of new farming techniques, school consolidation, and revolutions in transportation and technology.
The family supplemented their subsistence herd of dairy cows by hunting, fishing, and selling timber and maple syrup. For many years, her home, like those of her neighbors, lacked indoor plumbing, electricity, and a telephone. As a young child, Peggy attended a one-room schoolhouse and walked, biked, or sledded the three miles to school and back, no matter the weather.
With a lyrical style that mixes nostalgia with humorous anecdotes, Marxen traces her family’s story through the best and worst of times. The Farm on Badger Creek is a fitting tribute to her settler ancestors and a way of life now gone— and a celebration of the hardy people who carve out a life in our nation’s rural communities.
PEGGY PRILAMAN MARXEN taught fourth grade for 33 years. She lives in Middleton, Wisconsin.