Barbara Peacock

March 11, 2015

Barbara Peacock grew up in the small town of Hall Summit, south of Shreveport. Her mother grew flowers behind their house, and together they would make all the floral arrangements for their church with the flowers they brought from home. Barbara lives in Shreveport now and she has worked in a number of fields, including real estate and insurance. But what she really dreams of doing is opening up a small wedding chapel where she could host showers and smaller weddings. She even found the perfect spot for her future business, and she made arrangements to rent the space. Because flowers are integral to that business, however, and because she could not afford to keep a full-time florist on her payroll, Barbara knew she would need to become licensed herself before she could realize her dream. (Incredibly, when she checked out the applicable regulations, Barbara discovered that it would be far easier for her to obtain all the necessary permits to prepare and serve food at her wedding chapel than it would be for her to get a florist license.)

Like Shamille, Barbara signed up for classes at a local community college. Three nights a week for nine weeks, she studied floral design—and not just floral design, but an entire curriculum devoted to teaching would-be florists how to pass the state licensing exam. Barbara studied hard and she practiced on her own with real flowers, trying to get the hang of the antiquated and often irrelevant techniques upon which she knew she would be tested.

With her months of hard work and preparation, Barbara thought she was ready for anything the State could throw at her on the licensing exam. So she was mortified when she learned that she had failed it; in fact, she was so embarrassed, she didn’t want to talk to anyone about it. Unwilling to be discouraged, she took another floral design class, this one with Mary Dark, a highly experienced florist, teacher, and occasional exam judge. When she failed the exam for the second time, Barbara finally had to admit to herself that her skill at arranging flowers had nothing to do with her score on the exam. Knowing she had done her level best on the second test, Barbara reluctantly concluded that she would never pass the licensing exam and gave up her dream of opening her own wedding chapel.