Beyond the Banks: Renaissance Woman

An entrepreneurial spirit sometimes manifests itself from an early age. Case in point: the Hendersonville tyke who charged admission to her playhouse and later blossomed into a successful businessperson and civic leader.

Melinda Lowrance was born to Alexander and Sarah Louise Gash Pilgrim in 1951. Before she was 5 years old her father built a first-class playhouse for her. “With real wooden floors and window sashes,” Lowrance said of her prized childhood possession. “I furnished it and had a bone-china tea service.”

Expecting the neighborhood children to leave messes behind, Lowrance charged a nickel for admission to her playhouse. “A cleanup fee,” she explained. “Like a security deposit.”

Expanding on her wee enterprise, Lowrance made mud pies from red clay. “I charged two cents each for those,” she said, “and believe it or not, the other kids bought them!”

The resourceful child gave generously of her friendship. “I always looked out for underdogs,” she said, “the ones no one else would play with.”

That compassion extended into her adult life.

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