Preschool owner still going strong after 42 years

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Betty Brinson, proprietor of Monster's Day Inn preschool, pointed to one photo out of a collection hanging on her office wall.

"I was Wonder Woman once. Really," she said, singling out a shot of her in a Wonder Woman costume. "I was 25 years old, Wonder Woman."

That was 42 years ago, when Brinson started her preschool, then called Wee Express Preschool, in the same westside neighborhood of Carson City where she is today.

Brinson was a public school teacher from Kansas before moving to Carson City at age 24. A year later, she was married and taking care of her daughter, Brenda, who had to stay under an oxygen tent to treat her bronchitis when Brinson came up with the idea to start a preschool.

"I thought she needed more than an overanxious mother who was hovering over every breath she took," Brinson said. "So I called up four friends, and said, 'Hey, bring your children over. I'm starting a pre-school.'"

The preschool grew from there until it had seven teachers at one point. Now, Brinson has three teachers and 22 kids between the ages of 1 and 5 years.

Brinson's boundless energy led her to run for mayor of Carson City in 1996.

"My two little sons went with me every night to post the signs," she said.

She also invented a new kind of shoelace for children that helped prevent them from coming untied, which she sold to Nike for $10,000.

"I got so exasperated one day after tying eight kids' shoes, I said somebody should have invented a better way of keeping these shoes tied," Brinson said. "I said, 'I'm somebody, and I'm going to do it.'"

Brinson also used to dress up as Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters in the Nevada Day Parade until someone complained to Disney about it.

"I told them my lawyer said as long as I didn't charge admission, I could take them out in public," Brinson said. "They wrote me a letter saying their 400 lawyers beg to differ with my one lawyer."

Eight years ago, she moved the large play train that had sat outside the preschool to in front of the Whistle Stop Inn on North Carson Street, which she also owns. Since then, she had wanted to change the name of the preschool to Monster's Day Inn, and finally took the leap in January.

"When 2009 came, I said if I don't do it now, it's not going to happen," she said.

Brinson said she has seen changes in children in the last 42 years of teaching them, with television being the biggest negative factor.

"Parents are in the workforce, they aren't home with them, and television has corrupted them," she said. "They know nothing except what's on television.

Television has become the babysitter at home. We hardly ever have it on here except for bad weather."

When Brinson looks back at the last 42 years, she's very glad about the choices she has made.

"The kids are wonderful, they know they are loved, and I wouldn't trade one of them for anything on this earth," she said. "It's been so rewarding for me, and I hope for the kids, too. This is the best job."

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