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Red-StaterWisdoms explores the differences between the Red and Blue states on social, personal and political issues.

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Location: New York

Thursday, February 24, 2005

1960 Flesh Colored Plymouth Chrysler

I was preparing to post Marjorie H. Terwilliger's Death Notice as it was written in The Leader, when it struck me the real fundamental nature of Marge would be missing. So instead, I'd like to record what the Death Notice couldn't...that Margie Terwilliger was a real character.

Marge stood just four feet tall and had a ten foot tall personality. She was pleasantly plump and always kept her hair done. My most significant memory of Marge has to do with a 1960 something flesh colored, Plymouth Chrysler with the most outrageous "wings" on the backend, very stylish for the day. Marge was always in it going someplace, two and three times a day, and it drove my Grandmother crazy.

Grandma lived at the end of Church Creek Road and Marge lived at the top of Church Creek Road. Grandma sat on her front porch most of the day and watched for such things like Marge barreling down the road. Marge barreled whenever she wanted and Grandma complained often that a woman shouldn't take to the roads so much.

The memory of the four foot Marge driving that beast of a car is lasting. Often I'd peer through the rear window of the Chrysler clean through to the front windshield and never see Marge driving as she traveled back up Church Creek Road.

Marge's energy and gift for clever conversation is legendary. You just never knew what Marge would come up with when you were talking to her. Unfortunately, a lot of Marge's quips and quotes can't be repeated here. Marge wasn't the "Shampoo Lady" for the WQIX Country Music Radio Station for nothing. She was quick and had a "right back at ya" delivery a little on the naughty side, but not so bad to keep her out of heaven.

The only time I ever saw Marge out of her spirited character was after my grandfather, Liston Larrison, had died. Our family took his passing hard because we did not anticipate his death. He was fine the day before the last time any of us saw him alive, just a little under the weather we thought, nothing so serious a good doctor couldn't cure.

It was along towards dusk when Marge parked the flesh colored Plymouth Chrysler along the road in front of our house. She went inside without knocking because she didn't have to, and placed a big pan of Southern Fried Chicken on the kitchen table. I'll never forget her saying, "I thought this might help." Marge knew how close my mother, Monnie, was to her father-in-law, Liston.

For the longest time, Marge sat at our pink formica table and talked to Mom in almost a whisper. Memories of Listen quietly passed between them as did the unspoken bond of friendship.

Marge was a loyal friend and I'll always remember the years she and her side-kick, Edith Calkins, barreled around town coming and going to places only they knew.

The last time I saw Marge was a few years ago when I ran into her up at Prestons. By this time Marge had been living in Painted Post for quite awhile. I asked her if she was back in Lindley to see someone that day. She said, "No, I miss Lindley and have to come back as much as I can."

We walked out of Prestons and stood by her car, a dark blue compact that fit her size better and chatted about her gig as the Shampoo Lady. She loved making those phone calls to WQIX at the crack of dawn. I worried about her driving away that day. Not that she had lost a bit of her zip for driving, but because she was leaving a place she loved and had left a lasting impression on those who were fortunate to know her. I'm glad I did.


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