My grandma grew up, lived, and died in Nebraska. When she died a few years ago, during her euology, it was mentioned that she was a member of “PEO”. Recognizing an acronym when I hear one, I later asked my dad (her son) what “PEO” was.
All I could find out from anyone was:
- NONE of the men in the family knew what “PEO” was (as an organization OR an acronym)
- My mom is a member of PEO, too
- The men don’t know because they’re not allowed to know. The members swear a secrecy oath to take it to their grave
- The only thing anyone outside the “membership” is allowed to know is that someone is a member
So this, of course, leads to great curiosity. When I ask my mom what it’s all about, she just smiles and says she can’t tell me.
Tonight, on a lark, I googled “PEO”, and found a web page (www.peointernational.org) for an organztion calling itself “PEO”, that apparently started in 1869 in Des Moines, IA (pretty darn close to Nebraska, and old enough).
In fact, somewhere on the page is a picture of a brass five-point star with the letters P. E. O. (and nothing else). I’ve seen this stuck on a rod in the ground at graves where my grandma is buried.
The web page flashes the phrase “Promoting Educational Opportunities for women” over and over.
So, that phrase fits “PEO”, and its age, geography, and “for women” orientation all fit in.
However, no where on the web site (that I could find in a cursory scan) specifically STATED what PEO stood for, nor did it refer to any kind of secrecy, and the very presence of the web site, with descriptions of projects, etc., sort of bely any secrecy.
So, I don’t know if I found the answer to my quest, or not.
Does anyone know what PEO is?