May 6, 2014
My grandma had a dresser in her back bedroom that had all the old family photos in one of the drawers. This photo was in the drawer, and it was one of my favorites! This is the cast of All of a Sudden Peggy when it was performed by Pleasant Grove High School in the Spring of 1914. My great-grandfather is the one standing on the far left. His name was Ralph Phipps Hayes.
The summer after this performance, Ralph developed Bright’s Disease which led to chronic nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys). He was sick off and on throughout his senior year of high school, but kept up his studies and graduated from Pleasant Grove High School. He married Clara Stratton of Aberdeen, Idaho, on 24 April 1917 in Blackfoot, Idaho. They had one child together (my grandfather), but not long after the baby was born, Ralph’s health deteriorated. For Ralph, his case of chronic nephritis led to blindness and a painful death on 23 July 1918. After his death, his wife Clara moved back to Aberdeen, Idaho, with her one child, and lived with her parents and brother. She never remarried. My grandfather, then, grew up never knowing his father. My mother never knew her grandpa. As I grew up, the only thing I knew about Ralph Phipps Hayes was that he died young—and that he was in a play: All of a Sudden Peggy.
I finally read the play about two years ago and fell in love with it. I’m so excited to see it performed on the stage of the Nuart this weekend! Directing this play has been such a meaningful experience for me. I can’t wait for opening night!