“Never, Margot. It’s Margaret. Margie to my friends.” Thus was I admonished early in our penpal relationship. She signed that note back in Bush-time, “Margie.” But there would be moments, years later, when she’d call up well after midnight (she was a creature of the night) and speak sternly into the answering machine (I’m a creature of the morning), “Jeffrey, this is Margaret. Call me, damnit.” And I’d know by the steely timbre of her voice that I’d made some transgression, written something that had struck a sour note, probably slandered Canada or ripped the antics of some Hollywood nymphet or passed along some ribald piece of gossip from a tabloid. She hated the tabloids, especially the British scandal sheets which had libeled her so savagely, and she had sympathy for anyone else they skewered. Margaret Kidder had her standards and she rarely bent them and she never hesitated to let you know when you’d crossed a line. That’s one of the things I loved about her. She was fiercely loyal to her ideals and friends. And she had an intolerance for bullshit.
When you became friends with Margie, you stayed friends, even through the rough passages, which could be long, rim-bending and infuriating. But she possessed a brilliant magnetism that always drew you back into her madcap orbit.
I was stunned at the news that Margie had died on Sunday in her house in Livingston, Montana. It’s not that she hadn’t had close calls with the Reaper before….