What I learned from Former Munchkin, Margaret Pellegrini
Several weeks ago a new little 3’4″ angel joined her “Wizard of Oz” cronies in heaven. Her name was Margaret Pellegrini (featured in the image with the Ferguson family) and she played the flowerpot girl (see below) along with several other roles in the original “Wizard of Oz” movie with Judy Garland.
And through an interesting series of events, we became friends. I kept thinking that I should call her this summer, but then it was too late.
I met Margaret when I was working as a Publicist for The Musical Theater Center. Our Producer, Laurie Issembert, arranged for Margaret to perform with the students in their production of “The Wizard of Oz.”
We were all so in awe of her, but I was the one who was lucky enough to be her escort for her visit to Rockville.
I picked Margaret up at National Airport and we were fast friends. She was kind, gentle, fun, funny and so easy to talk to. I enjoyed every moment I spent with her. And she cared deeply about those around her, including me.
Her luggage was lost and luckily she always traveled with her hat on the airplane, so that she didn’t risk having it damaged. We had set up flowers in her hotel room, but now we had to find her a t-shirt to sleep in because she didn’t have her clothes. But she remained calm, kind and gracious and couldn’t wait to touch the heart and soul everyone she met.
She was tireless during her meet and greet events and made everyone she came into contact with feel so special. She loved telling her stories over and over again about being a Munchkin and behind the scenes stories from the set.
As I got to know Margaret I learned that she was married and was a mother and a grandmother and led a normal life – except that she did many personal appearance tours as one of the last surviving Munchkin performers from “The Wizard of Oz.”
We stayed in touch for several years and whenever I would call she seemed so genuinely happy to hear from me.
And she taught me a great lesson…when you think of someone you love – CALL THEM!! I waited too long to reconnect with Margaret, but because of what I had learned, I called my ‘Aunt’ Flory Jagoda, who I had been out of contact with for several years. (She’s not technically my Aunt, but I love her as if she was, and we share a deep musical and family historical connection.)
And I found out that Flory is being honored at the Library of Congress for her work in preserving the beautiful Ladino Music from Bosnia, which has been her life’s work. WOW!! Now, hopefully we’ll be able to share this great event with her. Here’s a link to Flory’s Celebration Concert Video which is currently sold out – can you believe it – she’s amazing!
I also reconnected with my college friend Stu. It was so great to talk to him and it had been too long. He and his wife are now empty nesters and he reassured me that he is really enjoying it, because next year it’s our turn!
There are so many riches surrounding us…they are our friends and loved ones…if you think of their name…don’t wait, reach out today!
For more stories, check out Embracing Life in Club C at www.strategicshoppingnetwork.com. We Embrace Life without Breaking the Bank!