Close Friends are Family Invited in by the Heart...
Margot's mother, Zelma, was a kind and concerned woman, anxious to see Margot and her brother, Bill, do well. Sometimes, Zelma used my presence at their dining table to impress certain desired attributes upon her daughter, much to my chagrin. "Margot, sit up straight. See how Chery doesn't let her hair hang on her plate." Margot would grumble a bit and snap back in a congenial tone, "Oh, Ma!"
Zelma Lucoff passed away in 1991, five years after the death of her husband. As a mother, she had worked hard to introduce Margot to all the beauty, knowledge, and opportunity the world had to offer. I remember going along on a trip to the Lawrence Hall of Science, and afterwards, walking the UC Berkeley campus, where Margot later attended, and the herb garden nearby. One day, Margot and I were driven out to the beach in Alameda where we walked barefoot in the salty, mirky tide, and gingerly stepped over knobby and rubbery sea snails embedded in the bay floor. On the way home, we ate string cheese--it was my first taste. 
Margot's friendship was precious to me because of her open, candid spirit. Being with her was refreshing, and she always offered up the unexpected; she was full of new ideas. It was she who introduced me to the mysterious worlds of philosophy, other religions, astrology, incense, sealing wax (for envelopes), and even Simon and Garfunkle, among a hundred other things. On her bedroom ceiling, she had taped artistic posters of individual signs of the zodiac so that she "could see them while laying in bed."
During the holiday season, she gave unexpected gifts that I treasure to this day. At a time when I was used to receiving things like Avon cologne, jewelry, or stationery from family or friends, she gave me a map of the moon's surface and a glass prism. Margot provided tools with which to explore physics, astronomy, space, and history... showing that one could do more than just talk about the wonders of the universe.
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Julius Lucoff was fascinated with science-fiction and was a member of the Bay Area branch of, I believe, the Science-Fiction Writers of America. Margot asked me to go along with her and her father to the club's private showing of "2001: A Space Odyssey," at a theater on Market Street in San Francisco. The theater was completely packed with people who took science-fiction with some degree of seriousness. Among the audience were local engineers, scientists, teachers, and writers, including author Poul Anderson, who would later serve as club president. Previewing "2001" was an exciting event to the science-fiction community, because it was the first film in many years to deal with space exploration in a sophisticated and intelligent manner, without the typical monster-of-the-day or tongue-in-cheek campiness.
I was also taken along to several science-fiction conventions. Oh, lucky me! At the Claremont Hotel in Oakland, I met Gene Roddenberry, the producer of Star Trek, and marveled for the first time at the art of science-fiction illustration. At another event held in S.F., Margot and I dashed from lecture to lecture, disrupting things to find seats in the crowded rooms, and then leaving each after only 5-10 minutes. She was always so excited to experience a piece of everything that it was hard to keep her in one spot for very long.
I owe my friend, Margot, a great deal of gratitude for expanding my horizons at at time of my life when lasting impressions were made: not just because of those special excursions I would never have gone on otherwise, but, for long coversations on topics that weren't really of interest to the average 13-year-old. She opened my eyes to the world at large: to science and art. She showed me how to explore new topics, new music, new ideas. She introduced me to Jewish family life and beliefs, and helped me realize similarities across cultures and religions, and not just differences.
Most of all, Margot was an example of what courage was in the face of a potentially devastating disease, and showed that a brave heart and passionate mind can conquer any limitation.
(To be continued in Part III)
Note: This tribute is based upon personal memories and conversations with Margot. If her family or friends should find any errors or inconsistencies with what they know to be true, please notify me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will be happy to make corrections.
 Bernbaum, Diane, e-mail to Chery Kinnick, Dec. 28, 2007.
 Lucoff, Julius. Social Security Death Index.
 Lucoff, Zelma. Social Security Death Index.