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.
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