She and 700 other people -- teachers, art directors, students with peace signs shaved into their hair -- were participants in the Great Peace March, a cross-country trek that preached nuclear disarmament through the Mojave Desert, the Great Plains, the big cities of the Northeast. The march ended in November 1986 at the Lincoln Memorial, and then, Sue Daniels, a middle-aged teacher of fourth graders, went home to Orange County, Calif., and a life she was not quite sure would suit her anymore.
Before the march, Daniels' schedule revolved around her psychologist husband, her two grown children, her students, her needlework and her antiques. She had a red convertible and a house with a pool, and politically, she described herself as "a voting Democrat." After months of trudging through extreme heat and beating rain, of camping out in tents in fields and fairgrounds, that old existence seemed the worst in "middle-class myopia," as she and her husband Wayne, who kept the household together while she was gone, described it.
More than a year later, Sue Daniels is still teaching school, but in a new developmental public school in Orange County that is touted as "the classroom of the future." She now teaches kindergarten, her favorite age group, she said. "I'm not so interested in just controlling kids anymore," she said.
Daniels is involved in a nonprofit organization that sells Third World arts and crafts in the United States and sends the proceeds back to the original countries. She subscribes to eight international magazines and newspapers, "to get the international perspective, not just the American one." In two weeks, she and her husband will go to Nevada for a nuclear protest.
"I guess if there's been one major change in my life, it's that my horizons are broadened," she said.