The Fun of Life: Nine Moments
About the Documentarian
Margaret DeMarco, mother of the documentarian’s boyfriend’s boss, has spent her life gaining memories from the biggest to the smallest moments. From dressing up in a variety of costumes for the Moose Lodge to working at a job that could not be named—but everyone knew was somewhere within the government—her memories have helped make her who she is today. Always living her life to the fullest, Margaret seeks to get the most out of everything she does, even to this day, as she “because [she] still has things [she’s] destined, and wants, to do.”
The Fun of Life According to Margaret:
by Taryn Buckley
“YOU DO IT BECAUSE YOU’RE HAVING FUN”
Many of the memories from Margaret’s younger years are the result of dedicating time to the local Moose Lodge. Each year, she would don a variety of costumes for Moose Lodge’s various parties. Truly enjoying delighting the children of the Lodge, Margaret would dress-up in nearly any costume for any cause.
One particular costume, a giant pumpkin, was particularly embarrassing. Held wide with a hula-hoop at its middle, to keep her round, it ran from her neck to her knees. The costume was completed with a large green-stemmed hat. Looking at her reflection in the mirror, she was left wondering, “How did I ever get the nerve to do all this?” Standing there, unable to sit due to the hula-hoop, she convinced herself that she did it because she was having fun and she liked seeing the expressions on the faces of whoever she was going impress.
“I ENJOYED EMBARRASSING MY KIDS.”
The pumpkin was only one of a list of costumes Margaret wore during her younger life. She remembers one particular holiday as one of the best she ever dressed up for. It was time for the Lodge’s annual children’s Easter party, and Margaret dutifully dressed in a bunny costume, a costume she admits made her look “a little ridiculous.”
Despite this and never one to miss an opportunity to embarrass any of her five children, she did not hesitate to fill up the gas tank while completely outfitted in her costume. Her daughter, Therese, worked at the gas station that she chose to visit. Seeing her mother pull into the station in floppy ears, a bunny tail, booties, and a big, pink stomach, Therese walked away, acting like she did not know the crazy woman that had just driven in.
Enjoying herself, Margaret paid no attention to her daughter’s reaction. She even went as far as to drive to and from the party without taking off any part of the bunny costume.
“THEY TOLD ME TO LIVE IT UP, SO I DID!”
Margaret simply loves Halloween. When her children were younger, she would dress up like a witch. Wrapping herself in a black cloth and sitting hunched over with a green face, all which made her wicked looking, she would hand out candy to the local neighborhood children. Unlike her other costumes for the Moose Lodge, this costume was one of the few that made her look evil. This costume was completed with a black wig, a pointed hat, and a fake nose, chin, and two inch tails. She outfitted the yard to perfectly accent the costume, with cobwebs and ghosts hanging from all the trees.
Loving the kids’ different reactions to her cackling and witchy antics, Margaret acted the same with each one that came up to get candy out of her bowl. Most of the kids were not afraid of her, knowing her as their neighbor or bus driver, and Margaret loved bringing a smile to the children’s faces.
“RAISE UP AND SAY BOO!”
The Lodge has having another Halloween party and, knowing very well of Margaret’s enjoyment of bringing a laugh to the people around her, they called on her to act as body in a casket. As the body, she had to lay in a beautiful wood coffin for one and a half to two hours in a row, being still as death. From this vantage point she could watch the party from between her hardly parted eyelids. She would occasionally rise up and say “Boo!” This would instantly bring a smile to the kids’ faces. Many of them loved her little act so much that they became “repeat viewers,” walking near the coffin multiple times to see what she would do each time they passed.
“I DON’T KNOW… THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT”
Always one to have people she enjoyed spending time with, Margaret had a few very close friends. Of these friends, her best friend was Georgiana. Georgie, as Margaret called her, was a fun to be around, but was always a trickster. Margaret needed to stay on her toes whenever they hung out, as she never knew what Georgie may do next. If Margaret let her guard down, Georgie would always get the best of her.
One such time, Margaret and Georgie visited a mattress store in a mall. Georgie encouraged Margaret to lie in a waterbed. After much encouragement, she laid down in the twin-size bed, but soon found herself unable to get out of the bed on her own. The angle and rolling motion of the surface prevented her from swinging her leg over the raised edge of the bed frame. Seeing her friend trapped on the bed, Georgie simply walked away laughing, pretending she didn’t know this crazy woman who had trapped herself in the bed.
After the manager of store, stifling his laughter about the woman stuck in a rolling sea of a bed, helped her return upright, she marched up to her still laughing friend, who stood outside the store watching the whole ordeal take place. “Why’d you do it?” she asked. Georgie replied: “the devil made me do it.”
Georgie may have been a trickster, but she always brought fun and laughter to Margaret and her time together. On one occasion, she picked up Margaret while riding a purring motorcycle, encouraging her to get on. After some convincing, Margaret climbed aboard and the two friends sped off down the road.
They drove to their friend’s house, honking and begging her to “come out to play with them.” Seeing how ridiculous they looked on the back of that bike, she refused to join them. Far from the type to be stopped by people thinking they looked funny, the two women left their friend and drove to the main drag to watch people gawk at them on the bike, “half a ton on the back of motorcycle.” They loved people watching them- the two “motorcycle models.”
“DON’T LAUGH…GET A TOW TRUCK.”
Not all Margaret’s best memories are from a distant past- some even occurred just a few years ago. When she was still allowed to drive, she slid the back-wheel of her car into a ditch while backing out of the driveway. This firmly trapped the vehicle. With her daughter standing in the front yard, laughing, she attempted to drive the car out, but to no avail. The car was stuck! She couldn’t drive it forward, and definitely couldn’t back it out. With nothing hurt but her pride, Margaret instructed her daughter, “Don’t laugh…get a tow truck!”
A tow truck was called and the car lifted from ditch, but not without laughter, from both her daughter as she recapped the story and the tow truck driver when he heard how the car ended up in the ditch.
While getting stuck was not funny at the time, nor does she find it all that funny now, the reaction her daughter has to this day to the memory of her mother’s huge mistake is priceless to her.
“DON’T STAND THERE AND LAUGH! GET ME A TOWEL!”
Another story which is mostly funny due to Margaret’s daughter’s reaction, not the event itself, is the story of how “being nice turned into a disaster.” Her neighbor needed to borrow a wheelchair, so Margaret walked one down to her house. Always a kind woman, she stayed a while to talk with the neighbor. By time she needed to head home, a storm had picked up and it has begun to rain.
Walking the folded wheelchair up the hill to her house, she nearly made it when the wheelchair sprung up. She flew over the chair and into the mud-filled ditch. After picking herself out of the muck, she continued home, dripping in mud.
Knocking on the front door, her daughter answered. Margaret could not even get a word of explanation out before Therese broke out laughing at her mud-covered mother. Cutting off her daughter’s laughter, she ordered, “Don’t just stand there and laugh; get me a towel!
“LET’S GIVE ‘EM SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT.” One of Margaret’s favorite memories to think about and laugh at is that of her 50th birthday party. At the party, her daughter surprised her by hiring a stripper.
With a single red rose in his hands, the stripper entered the backyard where she was opening presents. He walked up to swing where she sat and simple asked “Are you the birthday girl?” before he began dancing and stripping right in front of her. Red as a beet, she watched him strip down to his “nitty-grittys” from beneath the Panama hat she had just received as a gift.
By the end of the strip tease, the stripper stood before her in just his leopard-print g-string and Margaret was over being shy. To end the show for her family, she invited him into her lap, whispering, “Let’s give them something to talk about.” The two schemed together and soon the pair was pretending to intensely make-out, much to the guests’ delight.
Margaret DeMarco’s life has been filled with memories; many funny, a few even crude, and all of which bring her a smile each time she thinks about them. Her present life may not be completely easy, but many of her memories are happy and these memories help her. And, as she sees it, “what is life but nothing but memories?”◊
Taryn Buckley is a happy, motivated, and unique individual that is seeking to change the world in the best way she knows how—using her communication and writing abilities to make the world a better place. As a senior, she has already held four internship positions in the public relations and marketing field, on top of maintaining a steady position as a Christopher Newport University student worker. She plans to use everything she has learned throughout her four years at CNU to engage with whatever nonprofit career she obtains in the future.
"Moments with Margaret"
audio documentary by Taryn Buckley
“What is your life, but nothing but memories? You make them as you go and, when you get old, you can look back. Things just stay with you and one day you’ll wonder when you did all this.”—Margaret DeMarco
Audio interviews with Margaret:
"Moments with Margaret" (11:42)
"How Life Changes" (13:48)
"Margaret & documentarian Taryn Reflect" (1:42)