Oh, how I hate to share this news… Penelope (“Penny”) Marshall, (the writer of this blog, 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.
Above Photos: Penny in Coral – 2022, Penny & Soomsie (cat), Penny’s 90th birthday, and her fabulous family (2013), including Gilly! 🐾
I met Penny via email, years ago. A mutual friend, had sent an email including both of us. We would reply all each day, talking as if we were sitting across the table from one another. Everything had been via email until one day Penny emailed that she would be off of email until one of her family/friends could get her iPad working again. I realized what the problem was and responded directly to her with an offer to help. She immediately replied and she was back in business. I had no idea that one email would lead to a million future emails back and forth between us – I couldn’t have been happier to have my new “Pen Pal”. Penny was a brilliant woman (not just “book smarts,” this was a well educated woman that had common sense well beyond her years).
Penny would always tell you what she thought. She didn’t beat around the bush, she was direct, honest, and would share information with humor. Delightful humor. In later years, when email was difficult to see, we would talk on the phone. Not nearly enough, but we enjoyed those conversations. Most of her emails and chats on the phone were centered around her family. She has wonderful “children” – each one is brilliant and well-educated, just like their mom.
You can probably get an idea of how much she loved Howdy, her husband — it was so apparent when speaking to her, in reading her blog and her emails. Penny was such a strong woman. I told her I wanted to be like her when I grew up, she would always laugh. I was serious!
One year she came to Monhegan Island, which as many of you know, is no easy feat. She had a beautiful suite that was on the main floor right off of the porch facing Manana Island. Once Penny arrived we had the nice man from the Island Inn pick her up in his big truck (I can still see him plunking down a wooden platform for her to climb up on), she laughed with him on her way up the (very steep) hill. We had a nice lunch the first day we met. Fred and I felt like we had known her forever, she was that kind of person. We met again for dinner several hours later, a large group of us who came to the island at the same time each year. Fred would go to her room to walk her to the dining room. I would bring her coffee in the morning, so she could have it while she was getting ready for the day. Fred drove Penny around the island in a golf cart so she could see the different views, while I snapped a few photos of the adventure. We toured the museum and had the best time!
For two years we were able to spend several days together. Not enough time, but a blessing to have any time at all! After her first trip, Penny gave me a box of Effie’s Oatcakes. She would always end her emails with “time for my coffee and 2 Effie’s Oatcakes”. So many emails, I would ask her, what is an oatcake? I envisioned a mushy, small round of baked oatmeal for some reason. Don’t know why I never Googled it. Once I tasted one – I WAS HOOKED. I ordered a case from Effie’s! (It’s not mushy, it’s more like a cookie). I even sent Effie’s an email to tell them the reason why I ordered a case – it was all because of Penny. (I was hoping they would send her a little something, ha ha.)
Penny, you are missed. Your laugh, your brilliance, your quick comebacks that were oh-so-hilarious (and spot on)!
I am thankful that Penny shared some of her stories with you. The emails that I received from her had so many wonderful stories – nearly every time she sent one I would respond by telling her she needed to write a book. I told her I don’t know anything about writing a book, but I do know about writing a blog, and if she would do the writing part and could send me an image – then I could pop it into WordPress for her. It was then that Penny’s blog, Nearly Ninety, was born.
Thank you, Penny for being willing to share your stories with us. For caring so much and getting things just right. You have been a joy the short time we’ve known you. Your support for the arts has been immeasurable. (She loved art and had great taste in paintings!) The support and love you’ve shown your family and friends is the gift that keeps on giving. Heaven gained an angel – one that is with her loving husband, Howdy and with her youngest son, Alex. May you have a beautiful reunion, with so much joy! Don’t forget about us here on Earth – (but please do smile down at us to let us know you’re thinking of us).
For those of you who knew Penny, or those who got to know her through her blog:
✨When you look up at the night sky and see a brilliant star, you’ll know exactly who it is. Penny!
Penny had been working on another blog post over the past months, along with her daughter, Margaret (“Marker”). I love how they took on a challenge. Penny would dictate a paragraph or two to Marker and then, working together, they would edit. Change, add, take away, finesse until it was just as Penny wanted it. Marker’s editing skills are over the top excellent. What a special time to spend with your mom. I know Penny loved that time spent.
So be on the lookout for another post coming in the following months. Feel free to comment on this blog. So many of you commented on Penny’s posts and she was overwhelmed and grateful for your support over the years. She absolutely LOVED comments! So if you have a minute, feel free to leave a comment on this blog, Penny’s blog – that she worked so hard on. What an amazing woman!
✨Feel free to comment on this blog and perhaps even add your own Penny story✨
Well, I need to run… it’s time for my coffee and a few Effie’s Oatcakes!
Penny, I will think of you every. single. time. and I will smile, as you’ve made me do so many times throughout the years.
God speed sweet friend.