When Margie Penny and Linda Dilday met in the ninth grade at St. Anthony High School in Long Beach, they instantly connected. It was 1962, and Linda was the new girl at school. Margie already had a group of friends, but knew Linda was a great addition to her crew. She was kind, not full of frill, and incredibly trustworthy – teen girls who gossip are a generational constant, and Linda was not that girl. Margie calls her a “vault” for keeping her secrets behind lock and key. Linda describes her best friend Margie as caring, loving and a great listener.
The ladies began building the foundation for their working relationship through their time on St. Anthony’s drill team. They organized events and prepared cheers for all their school’s athletic games. It was then that they realized, not only did they enjoy each other’s presence, but when they put their minds together, they could accomplish a lot for their community. They became the definition of best friends. Even after high school, Margie and Linda remained close and always kept in touch. Through the years, as they became mothers, their children were inseparable, and their husbands were great pals. But both women each felt the urge to devote their time back to the community.
In 1970, one of Margie’s daughters fell ill with a bacterial infection and spent days at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. The hospital had just opened its doors. Margie was so grateful there was a specialized children’s hospital nearby for her daughter, but she was mostly impressed by the excellent care they had received.
“If MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s hadn’t been there, we would have had to travel to Los Angeles, and I don’t think she would have survived the trip up,” said Margie. She continued, “The hospital gave our daughter a fighting chance.”
It was then that Margie knew that MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s was the organization that she wanted to support. Linda had already joined the Associates, the junior league of the Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach Auxiliary. The Auxiliary is a fundraising group, that volunteers and organizes fundraising activities and events to help support the hospital. It was the perfect group for Margie to join. And just like Margie had invited Linda to join her group of friends all those years ago, in 2000, Linda invited Margie to join the Auxiliary.
For the past 22 years, the two women have poured their hearts into raising money for the Auxiliary. With the support of one another, they have each become president of the organization. Each year, they organize a fashion show, featuring Hollywood designers, to help raise money for different pediatric programs. Margie and Linda also volunteer their time at the hospital gift shop on the same Wednesday every month, just to be together.
Linda exclaimed, “I love all the memories I’ve made with Margie over the years, but I especially enjoy our time volunteering together and giving back to the hospital. We are blessed to have been best friends for 60 years.”
The women look forward to continuing the legacy of the Auxiliary and spending the rest of their days together as colleagues and most importantly, as best friends.