Scalpel's Edge

A surgeon's notes

Remembering Pennie

I just attended the funeral of Pennie Puckey, my primary school principal. She was a major influence in my life growing up, and I wanted to remember her briefly (indulgently) here.

Pennie was

  • The founder of my primary school, Plenty Valley Montessori School, which is now a thriving community. More history here.
  • The first single mother I knew, who taught me that having a loving family unit does not require two adults
  • The person who taught me to write, using sandpaper letters
  • One of those people who spent a lot of time singing.
  • The first adult apart from my parents who I remember seeing naked (Edited to explain: Pennie’s daughter was a very close friend when I was in primary school, and she treated me like a daughter when I stayed over)

  • One of the reasons I never understood hippies until my teenage years, when I could look at the teachers at my school more critically

  • Always loving, always caring, like a mum away from home.

    Pennie had the opportunity to meet death with warning, to plan her remembrance service and pen her own eulogy. Which is partly why her coffin was painted with flowers, and we all sang along (Take Me Home Country Roads, and Wish Me Luck as you Wave me Goodbye).

    In her own words:

    Have a drink of champagne, or a billy tea

    With some brie and bread or an anzac biscuit for me

    Get up and sing a song, loud and clear and true

    Remember me how I’ll always think of you

    Jenifer Pennie Puckey

    18/1/1946 – 19/9/2008

    5 responses to “Remembering Pennie”

    1. Vijay says:

      Wonderful post, Cris.

    2. Cris says:

      @Vijay: Thanks. Now @lukie is home I can get a scan of my grade one class photo to add to the post.

    3. rlbates says:

      I agree with Vijay, Cris. Nice to have teachers / people like her in our lives.

    4. Anne says:

      Pennie was a member of the Basketmakers of Victoria and a classmate of mine at the Geelong Textile Fibre Forum in 2006 when we did stumpwork dragonflies with Jane Nicholas.
      Pennie made a kind donation recently of her Basketry books to BOV. A number of basketmakers were at Forum last week and were unaware of her death. Vale Pennie.

    5. Cris says:

      @Anne: Vale indeed. Thanks for sharing your experiences with Pennie. I was not so involved with the crafty side of Pennie, although my Mum attended a UFO group with her for years.

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