The Stages of Love: Puppy Love

Editor’s Note: More than 137 years ago, my great grandparents Amand and Estelle Fey received “The Stages of Love” as a wedding present. That sweet series of five painted postcards hung in their house for 68 years, until Estelle died at 87 and Amand followed two weeks later. He was 90.

My mom loved the artwork as a child and brought it home with her after her grandpa’s funeral. She has hung it on the wall of every house she has lived in ever since. In fact, it’s hanging there now.

I saw it as I visited recently, and I thought it would make a perfect series for this blog.

So, for the next five posts, I’m going to write about C. Clyde Squires’ five stages of love. They are: Mother Love, Puppy Love, Accepted Love, Binding Love and Undying Love. On Monday I covered Mother Love. Today, I’m writing about the everlasting magic of Puppy Love.

Though they fell in love as children — Von Trapp children to be exact — Mike and Anna Peck knew right away that they’d be each other’s favorite things for the rest of their lives.

They added a third favorite thing two and a half years ago, with the birth of their precocious daughter Cordelia, and a fourth favorite thing last week, with the addition of brand new baby June.

These days life is very busy for the Peck family, and every bit as sweet as those first few days on the Appleton North stage back in 2002.

Just a freshman then, Mike, possibly taking a cue from his character Kurt, who said “Only grown-up men are scared of women” asked Anna, who played Brigitta, out on a date.

“After the show was over, Mike asked me to be his girlfriend,” Anna said. “I just did the math. We will be celebrating our 18-year dating anniversary in March. We still celebrate every year.”

Following that freshman year debut, both Mike and Anna enjoyed award-winning high school theatre careers. In fact, if you saw a play at Appleton North between fall of 2001 and spring of 2005, you probably saw one of both of them in a starring role.

Today their roles are just as impressive as they build their careers and family together.

“Because we started our relationship so young, we’ve had to grow together,” Anna said. “We’ve been through so many of life’s changes.”

Most mornings, Mike makes the family breakfast “peanut butter waffles or oatmeal” and takes Cordelia to daycare. Though she’s currently on maternity leave, Anna normally leaves then to go to her job as an elementary school music teacher. At the end of the day, she picks Cordelia up from daycare and makes dinner. 

“We do a bedtime routine of bath, sing songs and read books each night,” Anna said. “Mike gets home from work around 9 and the plan is that Cordelia is already asleep. Sometimes she’s not and she gets extra snuggles from daddy before bed.”

Cordelia, named after a character in her mother’s favorite book Anne of Green Gables, already has proven to be an excellent big sister to June.

Favorite family activities include going on hikes, playing at the park, playing board games, singing songs, reading books and playing hide and seek.

Like her mother, and her grandmother, Cordelia has a beautiful singing voice, which she currently uses to amuse her little sister.

I may be slightly biased because I am also friends with both mother in-laws, but I think the Peck family is one of the sweetest around. I think you’ll also give them rave reviews.

Congratulations to Mike and Anna on your latest production and thanks for sharing all that joy.

This is Anna Koll and Mike Peck their freshman year at Appleton North. They played Brigitta and Kurt Von Trapp in the 2002 production of the Sound of Music. Come on! How cute are these little puppies?
Here they are on their wedding day, more sophisticated but still so full of joy.
And then came adorable baby Cordelia.
And, after Cordelia came sweet Baby June, born Feb. 12. June’s middle name Henrietta is for Anna’s grandma Henrietta “Hankie” Koll.
“Since Mike and I grew up together, Mike grew up knowing my grandma as well,” Anna said. “She only lived a few blocks from us. She was under five feet tall and always told Mike he grew taller every time she saw him.”
It’s possible Mike did actually grow taller each time Grandma Hankie saw him. Here they are at a high school dance.
And here they are in Tartuffe, their last show at Appleton North.
Post marriage, pre kids, Mike and Anna took a trip to Europe and it remains a favorite memory. “it was an amazing couple of weeks through Spain, France and Belgium,” Anna said. “We realized we had never spent so much time together. It was such a great feeling to be with the one you love every second of every day for a few weeks.”
Other favorite memories include times spent with this adorable little peanut.
Those Von Trapp kids grew up sweet,
From Puppy Love to family.
This painting by Mary Wright represents Mike and Anna’s first date. In the background are various pictures of them through the years. It’s really a remarkable piece of work celebrating a remarkable relationship that just keeps getting better with each passing year.

3 thoughts on “The Stages of Love: Puppy Love

  1. Thank you so much for including my artwork in your blog! This was fun to read, and seeing my name and artwork mentioned was a great surprise! Sending love to Anna and Mike and their growing family!

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