Award-Winning Children’s Author
CLASS OF 1974
Patricia Harrison Easton’s most memorable moment at W&J is not difficult for her to remember. “At home, I always talked to my mom about this wonderful English professor,” she remembers. “Mom insisted that if he were interested he would ask me out, but I told her he wouldn’t ask me out until final grades were turned in. And, sure enough, we went out to dinner on the day he handed grades in.”
And the rest is history—she married Richard Easton, professor of English, and both have continued to be very active at Washington & Jefferson College for the past 34 years. Her husband continues to work full time in the English department, and Easton shares her expertise in children’s literature by teaching that subject at the College.
Easton’s first choice for a college was not W&J. She was a transfer student from Trinity College in Texas. When she moved back home after her first two years at Trinity, she was not sure if she was going to finish school. “My father was a W&J student at the outbreak of World War II, and his whole fraternity enlisted in the Army,” Easton says. “He never finished college, so, when I told him that I was going to finish my two years at W&J, tears filled his eyes.”
After her graduation, Easton started a family and quickly developed a love for children’s literature. She began to write, but was not published until six years later. She remembers when she received the phone call. “I was at home all by myself and I was supposed to pick up my kids from school,” she says. “So, I drove there and proudly announced to everybody I saw that I now was a published author.” Her most recent book, Davey’s Blue Eyed Frog, won the Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award, an award chosen by her audience—young children. She supports local writers by serving as the regional advisor for the Society of Children’s Bookwriters and Illustrators, a group with approximately 300 members.