This week I learned of the loss of a kind and magical person who was a loyal reader of this blog. I want to devote this space to her today and share with you a glimpse of what made her so special.
I first met Penny through my friend Mary Kate. (Mary Kate is very important to my story because she is the person who said to me, way back when, “You should have a blog,” before I even really knew what a blog was.) It was clear from the start that Penny was the kind of person who gave you her complete attention and made you feel valuable and cared for, even if you didn’t know her well.
Over time Penny became a reader of this blog. But she wasn’t just a passive reader; she participated. She interacted. She made the blog better by putting herself back into it. Penny responded to posts about Columbia with her perspective as a long-time Columbia resident. She was a devoted supporter of arts education. Penny offered words of encouragement when my blog posts responded to injustice or heartache. If I exhorted readers to write a letter about something, Penny would let me know if she had. If I suggested a worthy cause for donation, she would consider it seriously and often sent something along in support.
It made me smile when Penny offered me this birthday wish:
Of course, no blogger can really do that but the sentiment truly tickled me.
In a remembrance of Penny’s life, Mary Kate wrote:
She moved to Maryland as a young adult and made her mark in so many ways. She was an editor of the magazines Spinning Wheel and Ad-Media, the first volunteer Post Mistress at the Oakland Mills Post Office in the brand-new planned city Columbia, and a volunteer-extraordinaire; perhaps most notably for her work done on the annual OM Haunted House in the village center. She was also seen on stage in various theater productions in Columbia. For those of you who know what this means, Jim Rouse told her that she was one of the people on the People Tree.
As I sifted through my Facebook memories of Penny I found a birthday wish I made one year for her.
One of my favorite memories of Penny comes from a time when she had first purchased a convertible. Her delight in experiencing the world with the top down and the wind in her hair was contagious. You felt her joy.
We all need more people like that in our lives. I will miss her.
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