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Wednesday, March 08, 2006


My neatest memory of Mary Lee, by Lib Gibson

Mary Lee worked for me for part of the time when we were together at IPSA. I remember her as vibrant, talented, and, enthusiastic — just plain fun to have around. I particularly remember one time when I wanted people on our team to dress up strangely for photos to illustrate some theme in a presentation I was giving. The reason for this goofy approach is lost in the mists of time, but my memory of Mary Lee’s part isn’t. One afternoon I requested people to come in prepared for these goofy pictures the next day — an idea that Mary Lee didn’t take warmly to. This was quite apparent, as Mary Lee had reacted with her usual, ahem, subtlety. However, by the next day, this idea had transformed itself into a creative challenge, and she threw herself with gusto into the role of ring leader of the photo shoot, and gave us all a hilarious day. Of all the interactions I had with her, this captures for me both a certain prickliness of character but most importantly her incredible zest for life. To be around her was to feel energized.

—Lib Gibson

I remember that photo shoot. Mary Lee was dressed, I believe, to resemble a gangster's moll. I, sourpuss and spoilsport, wanted no part of the whole thing, which earned me the moniker of "Curmudgeon."
Yes, she wore the mink coat that had been her mother's, and dark glasses, and her name for this purpose was "Boom Boom" Coombs.
Quite right! I recall her shades now. I also think she had to explain to me what "curmudgeon" meant.
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