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20240228 Julia Peck Book Signing HMoering DSC 1200 Copy webBy Herb Moering

True life adventures of a former globe-trotting British subject, born in England in 1934, were unveiled at a book signing Friday afternoon at Val’s Kountry Corral RV Park in Mission.

Julia Stanton Peck’s book, Julia and Peter, recounts several decades of traveling the world, to more than 40 countries with her late husband Peter, a fashion photographer, who worked for many national companies from his studio in London, England. The book is also a love story about the couple who were friends for 20 years after meeting in 1982. They married 20 years later on February 2, 2002, and 12 days later on Valentine’s Day, they purchased the 112-site Val’s Kountry Corral RV Park.

The book idea came through the encouragement of Larry Lammert, a Val’s Park resident from Wisconsin, who first listened to her stories from the past and then started recording them. When he reached a hundred pages, he told Julia she should consider turning it into a book, especially since her memory was so accurate and detailed.

CCF 000098 webLemmert told her, “Girl, you got it; don’t second guess yourself.”

Julia finally took his advice and contacted a publisher, who liked what he had received, and the result was the book spanning her childhood that included living through the German bombing in World War II to dealing in confectionary and making ice cream.

Most of the book’s chapters deal with her view of the war, with radar, RAF, Churchill’s cardboard airplanes, terror at night and the aftermath of healing from the physical and mental scars of war. There are chapters about Peter and his work, like photographing Queen Elizabeth and a lovely legs competition, plus the work at the Arizona and Manchester studios.

After following in her mother’s footsteps to become a retail businesswoman, Julia ran an outdoor kiosk for many years before coming to the U.S. in 1956. She got her green card in 1959 and landed a photography job from a newspaper ad that allowed her to travel all over the U.S.

Her husband, who was a cousin to the late actor Gregory Peck, came to the U.S. on a more permanent basis a few years later as he was flying across the Atlantic regularly on business. Julia said her husband figured he had crossed the Atlantic 800 times for various photo shoots. The photographer specialized in lighting and made equipment for the Kodak Company.

20240228 Julia Peck Book Signing HMoering DSC 1222 Copy webThe park operation started when the couple sort of retired and they wanted to make it a very special place for Winter Texans and people from Canada and Europe as well. Since Peter’s death four years ago, employees, friends and family have assisted her in maintaining the park.

Her grandson Christopher Woodford from England was present on one of his twice a year visits to spend a week helping Julia with the park’s administration duties. He had come practically every year just to visit in the past 30 years. He has visited various places in the Valley, but this year he had his friend Sophie come with him, which was the first time for her to be here.

A lot of friends came for the book signing, some scooping up three and four copies. A couple of Julia’s friends, D.J. and Sonia Villarreal, from McAllen, who had known the author for 15 years after buying a motorhome, came and purchased four copies for their children, wanting to be sure their children would have a sense of history.

During the event Julia took a few minutes to read an original poem and something from her new book. The 89-year-old author is contemplating publishing her poetry next.

Future book signings are expected to be held by the Mission Chamber of Commerce and at Barnes & Noble. To purchase a copy of Julia and Peter, call the park at (956) 581-1064.