This online memorial was created in loving memory of Joan Reynolds, whose life story is told throughout this memorial website. Please sign Joan's guest book and let us know you came to visit. We will remember Joan forever
I'm sure, all of you have experienced it, missing the little quirks and mannerisms, and special sayings of your loved ones. "I Love Lucy' did an episode about everyone's annoying little habits: Lucy clinking her spoon, while she stirs the cream in her coffee, Ricky rat-a-tat tapping his fingers, Fred jiggling the coins in his pockets. They may have seemed annoying, then, but, you'd give anything to hear or see them, now. I, fondly, recall, what I liked to refer to her as Joan's use of 'Archie Bunker's fractured English terminology.' I would, sometimes, sneak in on her, and listen to her, talking to herself. I loved to watch her, tinker with something, with her hands. She was a marvel. She was not only my little mechanic, around the house, but, she, also, knew how to tie my tie, which, I've never gotten the hang of doing. Aah, the true confessions, of a long time married man. I, simply, enjoyed, watching her sleep. But, when she was with her stuffed animal collection, she was in her element. She was a big kid, at heart. While some women would fawn over a bottle of Chanel 5, Joan was content on hugging and squeezing her Rugrat doll collection, or Kermit and Miss Piggy, her precious Garfield the cat (she had the cat, while I had the 20th President of the US), Shrek, and, her dear Alf. We had not been married long, when, one of us, leaned her furry Alf doll, up against the bedroom window. Sadly, it was a cold, winter's day, and when she went to grab for it, a while later, Alf's ear became detached. I, ended up taking Alf to the Doll hospital in New York City, to be repaired, at a cost of $130. She was so excited with this new Muppets series on ABC. She, only, got to see the first couple of episodes. Now, I hear, it is danger of being cancelled. Golly, I didn't realize Joan was a member of the AC Nielsen family (of viewers) who are monitored for their viewing habits And, Shrek, that lovable oaf. Just the other day, I saw a campaign button that likened one of this year's presidential candidates to Shrek, with their pictures, side by side. In a, not so complimentary way, I can assure you. I just had to order it. It's being mailed to me, as we speak.
And, just like, my dear mother, who made up her own curse words, 'like 'Skunk-A-Goose,' Joan had hers.
I look around, at my extensive, presidential memorabilia collection, and the memories we shared. During the 1987 Sesquicentennial Celebration of Grover Cleveland's birth in Caldwell, New Jersey, I played Grover Cleveland, while Joan played the wife of his 1888 and 1892 opponent, Benjamin Harrison. We traveled to presidential homes, like Warren G Harding and Rutherford B Hayes, in Ohio, or Martin Van Buren's in Kinderhook. NY, and Calvin Coolidge's in Vermont. When I had a research assignment to spend time with Grover Cleveland's last surviving son, in Tamworth, New Hampshire (Francis Grover 1903-1995), I recall, being within a couple of miles from our destination. Tears started welling up in my eyes. Joan asked me, why I was crying. We were about to meet the oldest living son of a president of the United States. And, would you believe, after our visit, Francis Grover paid me the highest compliment. He said, that I knew more about his father, than he did.
Or the memories, we shared, going to the Lucy-Desi Festival. One year, we recreated the Mr. and Mrs. Quiz segment. Another year, we participated in a Masquerade contest. Joan was dressed like the woman, who Lucy fought with, in the gape vat. While I was dressed as Fred Mertz' Little Lord Fauntleroy, in the 'Lucy Hires an English Tutor' episode...complete with knee britches, velvet outfit, wide-brimmed hat, bow, and all-day sucker, lollipop, ad skipping, merrily along, and singing 'School Days, School Days,' as I made my entrance. I won for funniest costume.
Or the more than 30 years, we shared, working on the polls. Usually, at every pre-election seminar, our Town Clerk would demonstrate how to use the voting machine. But, this was the town clerk's final year. She was retiring. Rather than do the demonstration, herself. She picked one of the inspectors. She picked Joan. Joan was my very own Vanna White and Betty Furness, all rolled into one. I was so proud of her (and the 'monster' I helped to create. Joan could open and close a voting machine, with her eyes closed.
At an age, when most people retired, Joan chose a second-profession. She became a certified Home Health Aide. I remember the pile of heavy books, she carried to and from classes. Taking two buses, each way, to get to class, but she did it. Upon graduation, she received commendations from the then-County Executive and then-Governor.
Tragic accidents as a child, prevented her from finishing her formal education. Her older brother jabbed a metal nail file, puncturing her left ear, when she was a baby, rendering her deaf, in that ear. At age 9, she was run over by a truck, and sustained severe head injuries. There was no such thing as Special Ed classes, back in the early 1940s. But, when my Joannie decided to earn her GED, at age 79, through an accredited Home Study program, I was never more proud of her. She accomplished it, in only four months' time, earning the highest honors with a 92.5% average. She received letters of congratulations from US Senator Chuck Schumer and a special commendation by the New York State Assembly.
And, then, in the blink of a moment, she was gone. It's, nineteen months..