ROBYN REEDER was my neighbor, but I didn't know her very well. She was the inspirational best friend I always wanted, but was too insecure to have.
Outside of a few interactions at Primary Art Supply and one epic yard sale—who just happens to have the word “LOVE” written in three foot high, metal lettering and makeup mirror light bulbs laying around house, anyway?!—I couldn’t bring myself to approach her, even when she invited me to stop by for a beer sometime. In my eyes, I was a nerdy dilettante and she was one of the cool kids, in the best, most positive way.
I coveted everything about her: the gothic house she shared with her loving husband, two businesses that could have been my dream jobs...I wasn’t even aware of her punk rock legacy and cultural contributions to the downtown scene until reading Anna Chandler’s Connect article last summer. But of course I totally covet those accomplishments, too.
As a human being in general, and a product of Mean Girl Culture specifically, covetous feelings are always tricky. It’s hard to be reminded that someone has something that you want. I tend to deflect potential jealousy with techniques from the “You Go Girl!” school of fellow female empowerment.
But as someone routinely hazed by members of the “I Hate You, Skinny Bitch” sorority, I still tend to relegate myself to feeling “lesser than” in the presence of those who have mastered their destiny. Especially one that’s been mostly paved in starlight and pixie dust.
I’m not sure if Robyn’s star burned so brightly because she knew that life was short, or if things just worked out that way. Regardless, she taught us by example to juice every possible moment of magical elixir out of life.
She also proved that you’re never too weak to be strong for other people. When it became clear that Primary Art Supply wasn’t going to survive Utrecht’s competition, she negotiated both the sale of her store AND a consultancy position with Blick to help the company integrate her business values into its corporate culture.
She also negotiated the higher salary and health benefits that she hadn’t been able to afford as a small business owner. In the depths of her illness, she spent the final years of her life minding the wellbeing of her former employees.
Robyn Reeder was more than an inspiration; she was a superhero. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take the following excerpts from her obituary and modify them to fit your own origin story; to honor her memory by bolstering your own innate superpowers:
“Robyn fell in love with Savannah immediately and did not waste a moment there, spending her remaining years radiating her unique sparkle and rallying her friends together time after time for countless creative projects and extraordinary events.
...She took great joy in contributing her unique imprint to the burgeoning culture of downtown Savannah...she loved and nurtured her businesses like they were her own children.
...Robyn married Igor Fiske, forming a partnership that only strengthened her appreciation for life’s joys. Together they renovated a home, welcomed furry friends into their family, and generally lived life to the fullest.
....Robyn was lucky enough to be born with a best friend who was also her sister. Jenny Reeder was a constant positive force in Robyn’s life, both sharing everyday joys and happily joining Robyn for endless adventures, large and small.
...Robyn’s dedication to art, vintage clothing, downtown Savannah, music and creative revelry is legendary.”