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Letter From Peggy Holland about Almetris Marsh Duren

Peggy Holland headshot
Peggy Drake Holland

Dear Vidal,

You once asked me to describe your aunt. I asked: “Physically?” You answered: “Yes.” I replied: “Doll-like” with no thought of impertinence nor facetiousness for, as a little girl, I had a favorite doll of which your aunt greatly reminded me.

“Miss Marsh”—that is how we, the first occupants of Almetris Co-op, addressed Mrs. Almetris Marsh Duren when it opened during the fall of 1958. [She also answered to Mama Duren and Mrs. Duren and other variations of her name.]

She will never be forgotten for we (all black girls and boys who knew her) were grateful to her for something. She was an exceptional human being. Everyone you could talk to has a good story to tell. Here follows a number of adjectives in no particular order which describe Miss Marsh:

Kind Perceptive Understanding Interested
Patient Generous Brave Intelligent
Selfless Protective Gentle Forgiving
Caring Ethical Soft-spoken Helpful
Encouraging Generous Problem-solver Observant [and more]

Your aunt could never be described with a word or two. She was the “complete package.” The above is my attempt to emphasize the size and quality of the shadow she cast over so very many.

Leon and I are elated that you are paying tribute in this special way to your very outstanding and unforgettable aunt.

Peggy Drake Holland

April 12, 2022