For 15-year-old Sam Crowe, there was nothing more fulfilling than waking up with a homemade breakfast on the table. It was even more special because it was made with love by his grandmother, Peggy Winckowski, also known as “Grandma Peggy.”
Sam was a freshman at Bishop DuBourg High School. He was so proud of his grandma’s cooking that he bragged about it to his friends. He would always tell them that his grandma’s breakfast was better than any other diner they had been to.
The next week, his friends stopped by his grandmother’s place to try her cooking. They all fell in love with it and every week since then, they would head over to her house for breakfast.
“They told me, ‘Grandma, Courtesy’s got nothing on you.’ So I said, next week, why don’t you come to my house, and we’ll have breakfast here?” Grandma Peggy said. “Then, when they were all leaving, they were like, ‘Grandma, what are we having for breakfast next week?’”
Everything was going well until an unfortunate event took Sam away from them. In July last year, he was killed in a vehicular accident, which broke the hearts of Sam’s family and friends.
Despite Sam’s absence, his friends continue to come for breakfast and hang out with Grandma Peggy. Everyone looks forward to Wednesday, the day they all gather to enjoy a filling and delicious homemade breakfast.
Every Wednesday at 5 a.m., Grandma Peggy is up preparing breakfast for 30 students. The small group of teens that used to go when Sam was still alive got bigger.
They brought in more of Sam’s friends and schoolmates who wanted to be a part of their tradition, which they call the “Wednesday Breakfast Club.”
Grandma Peggy always works hard on her homemade breakfast. She likes making eggs, cinnamon roll waffles, fruits, and chocolate milk. At 7 a.m., the teenagers huddle and share a sumptuous breakfast. “It is worth every minute. It fills my heart,” said Grandma Peggy.
More than the food; however, they enjoy talking about Sam and how good of a friend and grandson he was. “I love it, all of them together, talking about Sam,” said Sam’s aunt Kerri Reynolds.
“In his short time, the impact he’s made on our lives and their lives — it’s sad, but it’s heartwarming, too. They all tell jokes, and they keep their bonds together.”
Reynolds added that her mother is helping all of them stay together amidst their loss and make beautiful memories. “She did that for me and my sister and our friends when we were young — she’s just doing the same thing she’s always done,” Reynolds said.
As the breakfast club grew, it also started to become popular around the community. Grandma Peggy and her daughters also went to Sam’s school and the love from their fellow Cavaliers was overwhelming.
“People are so generous. I have former classmates and other people asking me, ‘Can I Venmo you some money, from one Cavalier to another?’” shared Grandma Peggy. A lot of people wanted to pitch in to cover the groceries for the breakfast club.
Apart from remembering Sam, the breakfast club members also get together to hold their faith together. They spent All Soul Days at the mass to pray for Sam. “We have to have our faith,” Winckowski said.
“We think about how lucky we are to still be here. Sam got to the golden gates before us — and I know that’s what we’re all supposed to do. The ultimate goal is to get to heaven.”
After every breakfast, Grandma Peggy always had a reminder to Sam’s friends, who were like grandchildren to her now. “You all be careful, and drive slow,” she would always tell them.
Grandma Peggy might have lost his 15-year-old grandson, but in his place, Sam gave her 30 extra grandbabies. “I think Sam is directing this from above.”