I loved Margo. And Margo let you love her. I remember her from Santa Monica. My dad was writing a book on Synanon and Margo’s job was typing up and re-typing up the corrections. Were there computers then, they would not have been compatriots. They were often together in that little office near the bottom of the stairs at 1351 and became friends. And then she wrote a book. Dad would have loved that.
For a short while she was my roommate in Oakland. We fixed up our room to look exactly the way we wanted. And then, as almost everything did, things changed- one’s job, one’s facility, one’s hours, one’s mate…
But we had our Wednesdays, Margo and I. Wednesday evenings were ours. We explained to those who invited us for dinners, Games, hanging out- that it was a twosome and we would be enjoying getting to know each other better.
In point of fact, we never once got together on those Wednesdays. There were other times for that. We used it as an excuse to have some time to do laundry or read. But others, when they heard that some event was being considered for a Wednesday evening would say- “Don’t count on Margo or Gita- that’s their special time.”
Years ago, after a stint in the legal world, Margo decided to take herself to law school. When she graduated, it became difficult for her to study for the Bar and do her part-time job. I told her I would lend her the money and she could quit the job. Back came an agreement stipulating due dates and the interest she insisted on paying. She nailed every date.
Margo went to an unaccredited law school in Nevada. The state allowed only accredited law school grads to be lawyers but granted a waiver to Margo’s law school and she was admitted to practice in Nevada (and also California) in 1988. She then moved permanently to Arizona where she applied to take the Bar but was denied on the basis of Arizona’s version of the Nevada rule. Margo and a Nevada classmate petitioned the Arizona Supreme Court for a waiver. The Arizona Supreme Court denied the petition.
This was a dark time for Margo who wanted to stay and practice law in Bisbee, her new hometown. Her Nevada classmate thought it futile to do anything further and stopped working on the case. But Margo was a warrior. She
believed she could change the Arizona Supreme Court’s mind and filed a motion for reconsideration. On her own, Margo produced what the court described as “detailed, voluminous, and persuasive documentation” to do just that. To the astonishment of many, the Arizona Supreme Court reversed itself in a 3 – 2 decision. The about-face decision was published on January 30, 1990. (In the Matter of the Application of Margaret L. McCartney and Roger M. Sherman, to be admitted as a Member of the State Bar of Arizona, 163 Ariz. 116, 786 P.2d 967) She was admitted to practice in Arizona on December 4, 1990.
Kathy and David Gomez (who supplied these legal details for me) and I were in the courtroom to hear the judge say, “I am impressed. I want to meet the person that pulled all this together.” And Margo approached the bench. Then we all went out to lunch for a celebration.
As David said, “Margo was a remarkable person, blessed with a good mind, a generous heart, and fighting spirit. Her memory is a blessing to all who knew her.”
Margo was so alive. And honest. Never felt she had to tell me the “up” end of a story. And every tale she related of life’s events did not need to elevate her.
Happily for me, Margo had an elderly aunt in town who needed help with all manner of matters. So Margo and I would get together for lunch a couple of times a year. Once I picked up our mutual friend, Lena, who lived not far from me, for lunch- informing her that a particular restaurant, close to an hour away in Pasadena, was so marvelous that I wanted to share it with her. I didn’t tell Margo I was bringing Lena. They were so delighted to see each other and had such a splendid time “cutting up old touches” that I didn’t get scolded even once on the way back.
I am less interesting of a person with Margo gone. My life is smaller. She took mutual friends- present and past- with her. And, unforgivably, part of my dad.
Years ago, before we were communicating electronically, Margo wrote me that she was coming into town and did I want to get together for lunch. That letter, misdirected, as a third of my mail is, by our local post office known, (the Feds have related to me) as one of the two worst in the nation, to the guy downstairs who would never look through the mail and give me mine, unembarrassed that I always gave him his, and I found said letter under a pile of magazines on his piano a couple of months after the proffered date.
I’d love a raincheck…