Educator honored with Riverfront Park sculpture

October 18, 2021 | Fredericksburg City News | Parks & Recreation

The below article is from Fredericksburg VA Main Street’s newsletter. We loved it so much that we are reposting it here, with Main Street’s permission. 

Have you had the chance to visit the new Riverfront Park downtown? If you have, you may have noticed the statue in memory of Linda D. Pisenti. 

In honor of Linda and the new statue in Riverfront Park, we reached out to hear the story behind the statue from Linda’s husband David Pisenti. He describes:

“Linda’s legacy is the effort she put into generating advancement in children. Linda received her teaching degree from Oklahoma State University and thereafter taught elementary-level children in both the states of Oklahoma and New Jersey. My employer, an agency of the federal government, transferred us to the Fredericksburg area in January 1973, where we bought a home and took up residence. Because of Linda’s prior experience, she was hired as a teacher at Hugh Mercer Elementary School. After a time, when our children started entering our lives, Linda felt it in the best interest of our family, to be a stay-at-home mom until such time as the kids could go to school, and that she did. But afterward, she jumped right back into teaching, first at Great Oaks Country Day School, and then on to St. Luke’s Elementary School in Culpeper. Then, in 1985, Linda and her very dear friend, Mona Albertine decided to go into business together, and the theme had to do with children. So, they established Jabberwocky Children’s Books and Toys at 824 Caroline St.

After a few years, they expanded and moved to Jabberwocky’s present location, in the shops at 810 Caroline St. Now, I fast forward several years to more current times, and one might have come into the store and seen Linda acting out scenes to Pete The Cat (should explain the sculpture’s book), telling tales of Dr. Seuss, or showing a child how to play Spot It. Now, I can attest to this firsthand, that Linda was very good at this, because she so loved what she was doing, and so loved all the children whose hearts she touched. Several more years went by, and in 2007, Linda was sworn in by the court as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). As a volunteer, Linda was ordered by the court to conduct an intensive investigation into the life and conditions surrounding an abused or neglected child. At the conclusion of the investigation, Linda would choreograph a comprehensive report under the strict guidance and scrutiny of the CASA Office and then present that report back to the court, allowing the Judge to make an informed decision in the best interest of the child. Once again, Linda was really good at handling these most important assignments, and her reward, a monumental amount of self-satisfaction she received, knowing she was having a positive impact on the future of all these children. So important was this to her, that Linda held that position for almost eight years, which is virtually unheard of for CASA. On April 13, 2014, Linda passed from this life, leaving behind her legacy to many friends and acquaintances, and all those many children, who I am sure will remember her well into their adult lives.

Now this sculpture, which from this day forward will be known as “The Jabberwocky,” actually has a very important secondary significance, in that it depicts a little girl in the seated position reading a book. Because, that depiction was actually copied from a painting, that appeared on the wall of the original Jabberwocky store. And the little girl was modeled after Mona Albertine’s eldest daughter, Carrie. I am very proud to present, to my family and friends, to all the citizens who reside in, and all those who come from afar to visit our beloved historic city, and to the City of Fredericksburg, this tribute to my best friend, Linda Delahay Pisenti, who dedicated herself to the advancement of children in the Fredericksburg region.” – David Pisenti

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