Legends of Legacy Lodge: Meet Jeanie Mebane

Words by Alan Mebane

JACKSON, Wyo. — Now here’s a Legacy Lodge resident who has a cheerful greeting for everyone she meets and is truly interested in getting to know others. Jeanie Mebane is the author of several of the Legacy Lodge resident profiles which appear in Legacy Lodge’s monthly newsletters.

Jeanie is from Eastern Nebraska, growing up on a farm with three older brothers. Their father died in 1944 at an early age. Her teenaged brothers took over the farming — Jeanie, age nine, was too young to drive tractors, etc., so she worked around their home place. Her oldest brother was soon drafted into the Marines. Since hired workers were not available, her two younger brothers worked long days in the fields. It was a tough time.

Jeanie at her childhood home in Nebraska. Photo: Legacy Lodge

Jeanie attended a one-room school and can still recite poems she memorized on the days she walked home from school. Later, she and her mother moved to Wahoo, Neb. where Jeanie attended high school. There she had not only good instruction but also extracurricular opportunities and good friends. She played saxophone in the band and was editor of the school newspaper.

She went on to the University of Nebraska where she appreciated and enjoyed both classes and new extracurricular activities such as photography and television production. She graduated with honors, a B.S. degree and a teaching certificate.

Two days after graduation, Jeanie and her mother drove to Estes Park, Colo. They planned to spend the summer there if they could find jobs, otherwise just visit, enjoy the mountain scenery and return home.

They were quickly hired — Jeanie in a local café, her mother in a specialty clothing store. Shortly after, a recently hired seasonal Park Ranger with a southern accent wandered in for apple pie and coffee. Long story short — twelve days after our first date, I proposed and was astonished when she said “yes”.

Jeanie and husband Alan on their wedding day. Photo: Legacy Lodge

At the end of that short summer, Jeanie took a teaching job in Western Nebraska and I entered graduate school in Tennessee. In December, we were married in Wahoo. We moved to Tennessee where Jeanie quickly found a teaching position. She says she got her PhT (Putting Husband Through) there.

Thus began 63 years of life together, mostly in National Parks across the country. During these years, Jeanie wrote hundreds of newspaper columns and lots of magazine articles for both adults and children.

Best of all, we had three splendid children followed by six grandchildren, and now three great-grandchildren. After I retired, we lived in Washington State where Jeanie continued to write and had five children’s books published.

We did a lot of volunteering and Jeanie worked as a seasonal ranger in two neat places — a cliff dwelling in Arizona and an island off the Washington coast. We moved to Legacy Lodge almost two years ago to be near part of our family, as well as two of the national parks that were once our home.

Jeanie is a resident of Legacy Lodge. To learn more about this community, click HERE.

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