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Mercer residents join to reminisce, catalog memories


February 2, 2019

Bryan Hellios / Daily Globe

Long-time Mercer resident Peg Brunner, left, shares a look at her family photo with Marge Pemble, president of the Mercer Historical Society during the Mercer Memories event held F­riday at the Mercer Library.

MERCER, Wis. - The Mercer Public Library and Mercer Historical Society joined together to host their second "Mercer Memory" event on Friday.

Life-long Mercer resident Peg Brunner shared stories of her life from growing up there.

From catching her first "legal Musky" at age 15 to throwing rocks off a bridge killing redhorse fish which had invaded her favorite fishing spot, Brunner was determined to show her brothers she could do anything they could do.

"I was really quite the tomboy," Brunner said with a chuckle.

Brunner credits her love of nature to her father, Frank Brunner, who developed the first Smokey the Bear costume and served as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden for the area.

When Brunner finished high school she moved to La Crosse to study education so she could be a teacher. However, when she found out teachers spend the majority of their time indoors, she quit college and moved back to Mercer.

"I really did not know what I was going to do with my life," Brunner said.

Brunner spent the next few years bouncing around the state from job to job, but said her memories of Mercer always had a way of drawing her back to her hometown.

Brunner said she became actively involved with local politics and served on both the school and town boards.

Teresa Schmidt, director of the Mercer Library, said she was glad Brunner decided to share her memories of Mercer so they could be recorded and archived.

Brunner said the Mercer Memory Project is a great collaboration between the library, historical society and the citizens of Mercer.

"We know we have a lot of our older residents who have great stories to tell," Schmidt said. "That is why this project is so important because we can learn about what it was like to grow up in Mercer."

Anyone who would like to participate in the Mercer Memory Project can contact the library at 715-476-2366, or Marge Pemble, president of the historical society at 715-476-3875.


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