Today is a day that Jim and my grade school friends and I reminisce about the beautiful person were we fortunate to call our best friend. Marjorie Claire was a true gem in our lives.
It’s hard to believe that she’s been gone for fourteen years today. While packing our house to move from North Carolina back to Louisiana, I came across the eulogy I read, with Blakeney at my side, at her funeral to a church packed to full capacity. She was so well loved! For those of you who were there, for those of you who knew her, and for my “newer” friends who never got a chance to meet her, I’d like to share my 1998 eulogy with you now.
Marjorie Claire McAnelly
September 17, 1977 – July 26, 1998
Marjorie Claire was (among other things) the queen of scrapbooks. She was never far from her camera, and she has every trip, every convention, every happy moment we shared captured in her scrapbooks. In fact, Blakeney and I have no doubt right now she is up in heaven with the biggest wide angle camera, trying to capture this crowd. So, everyone, please join us… Look up and give her a big smile for the first entry in her next phase of scrapbooks.
MC cherished her scrapbooks not only because they captured all of her many adventures (like her semester in France and the infamous U-Haul ski trip from New Mexico) but because they also captured all of the wonderful people she met along the way. She was a thoughtful, outgoing, people magnet who made instant connections with everyone she met. And once a link was made, those people could count on her for anything. The word “no” did not exist in her vocabulary when it came to a friend in need. She cared so deeply for everyone and everything around her. And friends and family were drawn to her in the same way because she always had a smile on her face with a cheerful greeting to accompany it. Not only was she friendly, cheerful, and outgoing, but she won the admiration of everyone around her with her intelligence, her get-involved “let’s do it” attitude, her beauty, her determination, and her character. The numerous awards and honors she received were truly well-deserved. She had a special sparkle in her eye and a giggle in her voice that could charm anyone. Her determination was obvious in her dreams to become a doctor in that she worked her way up at the hospital and loved every second of it.
Among MC’s many gifts was her talents as an outstanding Strong River Camp counselor. She had a special skill at nurturing self-esteem in young campers, and they loved her for it. She was always happy, laughing with campers, and challenging them with countless riddles. Her inner-child never missed a beat. Our dream together was to one day run our own summer camp for children.
We are so lucky to have so many cherished memories to remember her. Dance recitals, Girl Scout cookie sales and camp-outs, LSU football games which she enjoyed with her family as a child and then college friends more recently, her ever-growing collection of frog trinkets, our New Kids on the Block infatuation, Key Club rallies, our debutante ball, the Biological Engineering sweet potato sale, and her corny jokes that made her laugh more than anyone else.
Marjorie Claire had the most vivid, creative imagination. When we were younger the ligustrum tree was our castle and sheets and tables would become a palace. We played “animal hospital” where we even had patient files and instruments saved for the next round. At Strong River Camp, where we spent thirteen summers together, she created a secret language for us one year. The only phrase I remember is “Palama-ala-agaia” which I don’t quite remember meant “thank you” or “I love you” – but she had a whole dictionary. In college she used her imagination to create fictional wild adventures that she shared with others to see how far she could stretch our imagination and still have us hooked. She never answered the phone as herself to friends. She was Bill’s pizzeria or a small village in France… so we always knew we had the right number.
Marjorie Claire was so blessed in her life. Her family and the love they shared were so important to her. All along the way she was taught family values, love, and loyalty. She loved each member of her family with a special bond, and she talked about them constantly. Her loving parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles formed a nurturing support group from which she grew. Jim, she was so proud of everything you did, and, Megan, you were the apple of her eye!
So let’s rejoice in Marjorie Claire. You are each a part of the scrapbook of her life today and forever. She is up there dancing the night away with James Dean to a private concert from Elvis while watching Lonesome Dove next to a campfire. And from all of us here, MC, I say to you, “Palama-ala-agaia!” Whether it’s “thank you”, or “I love you”, or some combination of the two… that is what we say to you today.
And finally, the reason I can share this beautiful story with you today is because I have one Musketeer holding this hand… and my other Musketeer holding the other. Forever.
Join me today in remembering our beautiful friend. Jim and I will always love her, and we cherish this online photo album that captures many of our favorite memories of her!
I think MC would’ve been excited that Jim and I are moving back “home” next month. She would’ve been over the moon that I’m expecting twins. I know she would’ve been an awesome *Aunt MC* to my crew.