A friend of mine always says she knew why God made mothers young. I often chuckle to myself, because I really don’t think that turning 40 this year with a 3-year-old is quite young. But I am grateful for the blessings I have, just like my friend, Virginia.
Born in Maine in 1912, West Roxbury resident, Virginia Plummer celebrated her 99th birthday on Tuesday, May 24. I have known Virginia for more than 10 years. She was the organist of Bethany First United Methodist Church in Roslindale, until she retired in 2003 after 40 years of serving in that capacity. She says she was supposed to have spent only two weeks filling in as an organist. Virginia continued to attend Bethany until just last year she returned to her church Covenant Congregational in Jamaica Plain.
She is a talented musician and a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where she majored in music. At age 30, she moved with her husband, Dr. A. Elmore Plummer to Boston for him to attend seminary at Andover Newton Theological School. He died in 1978. She was a teacher in Maine, but when she came to Boston she was not allowed to teach. Boston did not employ married teachers at that time.
Sometimes we don’t realize that the path our life takes is all planned and there is always a purpose. If Virginia had spent only two weeks at Bethany, I would not have had the privilege to have known such a devoted and inspiring woman.
The wisdom and encouragement she gives, remains for a long time. When she speaks, her words are profound. She is calm and her soft tone invites you to listen. She always has a kind word for those in her presence. Her humble nature and her examples of stewardship will remain with me forever. She has led a life of example by giving her time and her talents. Virginia is always willing to lend a hand, whether it was for Vacation Bible School at Bethany, visiting the nursing homes or knitting and crocheting blankets and clothing for the Roslindale Welcome Baby program. She still crochets for this program and continues to pray for the families who will receive the gifts she makes. She is a true example of a woman of faith and discipline.
In 2007, when Virginia found out I was pregnant, she gave me my first baby gifts. I will forever treasure the white blanket and knitted bonnet with ribbon. I remembered my heart “skipped a beat” when I held up the bonnet and realized that truly I was having a baby and his/her little head was going to fit in a bonnet that was the size of the palm of my hand.
The truly inspiring thing about Virginia is that she is visually impaired. When I visit, my son wants to rearrange her scissors and her crochet hook and I always have to remind him that they need to stay in one place so Virginia knows where they are. He also insists on playing with her clock because, “it talks to him.” She allows him.
I so admire her strength and her passion. A couple weeks ago, Virginia took me and my son, Zaccai out to lunch. It was such an honor. But the real joy for me was when I asked my son to say the Lord’s Prayer for Virginia and to tell her a bible story and he did. I was shocked, because my 3-year-old doesn’t usually do the things I ask him to do. He must have sense the presence of a remarkable woman. He told her the story about Jonah and the Whale. It was the greatest gift I could give, to thank her for her prayers and her inspiration.