The Loss of a Legend…

It’s never easy to lose someone who is so wonderful. A person who contributed so much to this world, made it better in every way. Penny had a gift with her words, and with her humor. I am so thankful she shared some of her stories with us. Go hug your favorite people right now, let them know how much they matter. Because time is not guaranteed and it is fleeting. I sadly share this news with you…

Penelope (“Penny”) Marshall, (the writer of NearlyNinety.wordpress.com), passed away peacefully, in her sleep, on Thursday, October 6, 2022. She was at her home with family. Penny was where she wanted to be. 

Years ago, around 2015’ish I believe, I had the opportunity to meet Penelope (“Penny”) Marshall, an incredible woman with so much spunk. Well, I didn’t actually meet her in person, as she lived in Maine and I live in South Carolina, but we met via email, where we corresponded almost daily. Sometimes, multiple times a day. We talked about everything you can imagine. Penny became my Pen Pal of sorts. Penny would read my blog daily, and if she saw an image that she liked, especially of Maine and the people there, she would ask me to send her a copy – so when I got a list of enough images, I would have them printed and send to her. 

Penny was a great supporter of the arts – she loved art, and loved sharing with me paintings that she had purchased. She was thrilled once they adorned her walls. Fred and I visited Penny one year on our way to Monhegan, Maine. We stopped in and had lunch – Lobster rolls – they were fabulous! We met her son, Tad – and saw her many paintings in person. Penny’s house is exquisite and so PENNY! There was art everywhere – just like there is here on our walls. 

To think that our friendship began because I was CC’d on an email that included both Penny and I is pretty amazing. It show’s you the world works in mysterious ways.

The subject of many of Penny’s posts were about her family, growing up, and funny stories along the way. Oh, the love she had for her children, grandchildren and the rest of her family was so strong. She absolutely adored every single one of them with all of her heart. She had a way with words, and her stories were hilarious at times.

Penny lost her husband years ago, and this year, her youngest son. So I have no doubt that she is in Heaven, having the grand reunion to beat all reunions. 

Everyone who has been to Monhegan knows actually arriving on the island can be a logistical nightmare at times, (i.e. ferry ride, steep incline to the Inn, etc.), yet Penny ventured out to meet the Monhegan group of friends who arrived each year at the same time. We all met years ago, and prior to the trip, I sent Penny images of each person and a little story about each one, so when she arrived she would feel as if she had already known them. We didn’t want her to feel like an outsider, we wanted her to fit right in on day 1!

The first day we met Penny, she arrived on the island. We got her situated (Thank you to the nice man from the Island Inn who took her up the steep hill in his huge truck, Penny, laughing and talking all the way up the hill). Penny made friends with everyone she met, I truly believe that. Since it’s not easy for someone in their 90’s to get around the island (let alone 70’s, 80’s!) we had rented a golf cart and Fred drove, taking her from location to location so she would be able to see as much of the island as possible without venturing out on the hiking trails. 

Penny often ended her emails with “It’s time for my coffee and 2 Effie’s Oatcakes”. What is an oatcake I would ask her? I had never heard of an oatcake, and would often ask her what it was – she never responded. On our last trip to Monhegan where we met Penny, on her departure, she gave me her Effie’s Oatcake box. THIS is the mystery I had been wondering about! It looked more like a cookie, but the box refers to them as a “tea cracker”, hmmm? On our way to the airport we had one. Eyes bugged out. Good grief, these things are like magic they’re so good! We’ve had them ever since. Penny’s daughter, Marker said that in recent days she changed her reportoire a bit, having one Effie Oatcake and one Walker’s Shortbread. Two excellent choices!

The second year that we met Penny at the Island Inn on Monhegan, we had a great time yet again, had another golf cart tour, sat on the porch taking in the sun, looking out over the water, and we shared all of our meals together. I would bring Penny coffee in the morning, so she could have it while she was getting ready for the day. Fred would escort her to dinner each evening. Penny was a gift. Her bright smile, the twinkle in her eye, her fabulous laughter and the way she would “sign off” on her phone calls – “Be well” and for the life of me, I cannot remember the others – they were fabulous and I wish I would have written them down.

Over time, via email – and after receiving fabulous story after fabulous story – we worked out a way to get some of her stories in a place where they could be read by all. Penny’s blog, Nearly Ninety was born. I helped Penny with Nearly Ninety, but I did not write her posts, those were her words, each and every one of them. At first she would send me an email with the post and we would work back and forth to edit. She would send me an image (computer savvy!) and I would drop it in WordPress and *poof* another post was born. I write off the top of my head. Penny was a deep thinker. Very accurate, and to have it perfect was important to her. Over the years, Penny’s sight made it difficult when it came to reading/editing on the computer, so she enlisted the help of her daughter, Margaret (“Marker”), who’s editing skills are over the top fabulous. In time, she would call Marker, and dictate a paragraph, together they would massage each post getting it just right, and then add another paragraph until the story was complete. Penny loved working with Marker on her blog. At one point her son, Tad had edited her posts while he was in town. She loved working with him on her blog. Tad also had mad editing skills. Penny was a brilliant person. She was well-educated as are her children. She also had common sense, I loved hearing her advice. I told her when I grew up I wanted to be just like her. She always laughed. I was serious.

Penny, you were such a bright light in our lives. Someone who we could email or call and our day would end with a laugh. We will miss you so much. We’re so thankful to have known you.

Be on the lookout in the future for Penny’s last post, on the Nearly Ninety blog. She had started it months ago, but it wasn’t quite finished. Her children are going to work their magic to finish it – I cannot imagine Penny’s delight. 

I urge you to pop over to NearlyNinety.wordpress.com and read some (heck, read them ALL!) of Penny’s posts. You will be smiling from ear to ear, or laughing out loud (the wedding post comes to mind). Trust me, if you need a smile or a good story, Penny’s blog will be a good place to find one. Also some pretty incredible photos!

For those of you who knew Penny, the many artists she supported over the years, the friends that she made on a daily basis – please:

If you have your own Penny Story, head over to her blog, and share your story in the Comment section. I have a feeling, she’s going to hear about every single comment.

Well, like Penny, — it’s time for my coffee and Effie’s Oatcakes! 

Penny, I will think of you every single time I reach for one, and I will smile, just as you’ve made me do so many times throughout the years.

God speed sweet friend.

-barbara

7 thoughts on “The Loss of a Legend…

    1. Thank you, Susan. I wanted to share her stories (from her blog NearlyNinety.wordpress.com) they were so incredible! I only had the opportunity to meet her in person the two times that she visited Monhegan the same time a group of us did. I will never forget her (I say with a smile).🙏

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    1. Thank you Lyne, she was smart as a whip and so interesting to talk/email with. Her take on the world and her “ruminations” of life I will certainly miss – Luckily, she captured some of those stories on her https://nearlyninety.wordpress.com blog – She was almost 95 and still working on her next post. I love the fact that her children hope to complete it. #inspiration!

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  1. What an enjoyable time we had… Penny showing us her art collection. She had a story about every painting, artist, and why she picked the paintings. Her location choices for every painting was just as deliberate. It’s not often you meet someone who loves life and art like Penny. I was proud to be in her collection. We had a midday snack of cheese, crackers and beers. The visit was wonderful. Tammy and I left with smiles on our faces and I, with a rebooted reason to do what I do… as Penny told me… these paintings make me very happy.

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