MENTONE — The old saying — if you’re doing something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life — could apply to Madelyne Anweiler of Mentone. Anweiler loves books, and, along with her sister, Elyza Oswald, she has managed to maintain a used bookstore, Pete and Freddy’s Pages Aplenty, for nine years.
Books, however, are much more than a business for Anweiler.
Anweiler comes from a close-knit family and has three younger siblings, Oswald and two brothers, all of whom were homeschooled by their mother, Brenda, for varying lengths of time. Madelyne left public school before her sophomore year, when she began a literature-based curriculum.
“I wish I’d been homeschooled longer,” she averred. “I flourished once I came home.” Anweiler’s writing improved, for one, and she developed a love of history, which held little interest for her before. Madelyne recalls a year dedicated to studying the Great Depression and World War II, even eating a meal typical of a struggling family during those lean years.
Homeschooling gives students the time and freedom to explore the connections between subjects, she observed. “Stop wondering and start reading,” is a dictum Anweiler still follows.
An often-overlooked dimension of homeschooling is the opportunity for the parents to learn along with their children. “We became closer,” Madelyn noted.
According to Anweiler, “Indiana is one of the easiest states to homeschool in the country.” Other states require far more tracking of individual students. Homeschooling curriculum and materials are also provided by the state. She hopes it stays that way.
Anweiler traces her — and much of her family’s — love of reading to her maternal grandmother, Gwendolyn Clark, who lived in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. “Grandmother was a voracious reader,” Anweiler recalled. Clark read her favorite books, “Jane Eyre” and the Bible, once a year. She also kept journals of the books she read, a practice carried on by Madelyne and her siblings. “It’s a way for the family to stay connected,” she commented.
Mount Vernon is also home to a bookstore the Anweilers patronized when visiting whose proprietor took a special interest in Madelyne’s reading lists. The store greatly influenced Madelyne and Eliza’s later desire to start their own bookstore.
After graduating, Madelyne chose not to continue on to college. Instead, she went to work with The Whitman Group of Companies, dedicated to natural and alternative health. Over the next seven years, her responsibilities grew until she was planning 150 Health Freedom Expos with more than 90 speakers in cities all over the country.
“I traveled to shows and met lots of famous people,” she said, “It gave me opportunities I would not have had otherwise.”
But the sisters’ dream of opening a bookstore was a “burr in our bonnet” that would not go away. In October 2009, that dream became a reality.
Owning a small business has inspired Anweiler to encourage others to follow their own dreams, especially if they live in small towns, many of which are struggling to maintain economic feasibility.
Every Saturday after Thanksgiving she helps organize Small Business Saturday in Mentone as part of a national event sponsored by American Express, which provides a wealth of resources and, said Anweiler, “is on board with wanting small business to progress.”
Along with reading, Anweiler is also an avid photographer. She also teaches knitting during “project night,” convening at 6:30 p.m. at Java Jacks in Mentone on the first and third Wednesdays of each month.