Many may wonder what's taking me so long to write a book about Peggy or even if I will. Other's wonder why on earth I am even interested. Well, I thought it's about time I explained myself a little. First of all, my interest in this woman started when I was a child wondering what on earth the boy's were giggling about, but in later years, as I became more aware of the many stories about her, I took more notice of my dad's stories about our other well known madam, Mabel. My father was a judge and then attorney in Rome for many years and Mable was one of his more colorful clients - though he had many. In my view, Mable wasn't as interesting as Peggy and not nearly as elusive, but her stories motivated me to seek more knowledge of Peggy.
The reason I haven't written a book up to now is that I believe there is a darker side to the story that I really want to know. I believe that during the time she was set up in business, she was helped and helped quite a bit. There were prostitution rings around the country and I suspect that Peggy's may have been a chain of something much larger.
One thing that made me perk up is when I was interviewing the former City Police Officer, Bill Kinney, who mused that Peggy's 'marketing' techniques were very much like those he saw when he was stationed in Paris during WWII. Peggy made sure her girls were well dressed and that they didn't appear in public unless she strategically planned an innocent shopping trip where she could parde them just long enough to get noticed, but not so long that the townspeople could object. For some reason that stuck in my mind. I asked myself how a country girl from Alabama became so business savy at such a young age to be compared to sophisitcated operations in Paris, France.
Then I ran across a tidbit from someone who was a colleague of her accountant - the fact that she owned quite a bit of property in the Virgin Islands among other places. Her earnings seemed to far exceed what you might expect of a small town prostitute. I learned, but have not confirmed that she was a good friend and frequent guest of Fidel Castro and that she traveled to Cuba before travel there was prohibited. These are things that are very difficult to prove but facinating to ponder.
For me, her story has to be much more than amusing tales of naughty mischief. I continue to research in order to reveal that bigger story that stays just out of my grasp. There is a chance I may never get there, so recenlty I allowed historian and my good friend Russell McClanahan of the Rome History Museum to twist my arm into sharing Peggy's picture as well as writing a small blurb for ttheir book, Legendary Locals of Rome. So now Peggy is at least in print somewhere. The is book is out now and can be purchased at the Museum, Dogwood Books, or on Amazon.com. This would make an excellent gift book!