Joyce Don (1932 - 2016)

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Joyce Don
1932 - 2016
May 10, 1932
May 14, 2016
Joyce Don was born on May 10, 1932. She died on May 14, 2016 at 84 years old.
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Updated: July 7, 2022
For many years, from about 1957 to 1992, Joyce Don was an English teacher at Manchester High School (and Manchester Community College) in Manchester CT. For 63 years she was married to Richard Don.
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Joyce Don
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The only move I'm aware of was her move to Manchester CT in 1963. She probably did that to make commuting to work easier, as she began teaching at MHS several years prior to that.


She earned a BA in English from the University of Connecticut.


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For 35 years, Joyce was an English teacher at MHS and MCC in Manchester CT.

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She liked travel and telling stories.

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Tim Donovan commented on Jun 20
Mrs. Don was one of my teachers during my final semester in high school--roughly February-June 1976. I chose her class after I dropped out of physics and needed another source of credit to graduate. After looking at the papers I brought (stating I was taking her class after failing physics) she told me to sit in a vacant seat at the front of the class near her desk. Soon, during my first day in her class, she sat on my desk; when I looked up once or twice I saw her looking right into my eyes. If I remember right, the course she taught was called "Impossible Dream." It was about visions of utopia. I'm unsure about her ethnic or religious background but got the impression she was jewish. Recognizing that Dave Rappaport was jewish, she apparently thought it likely he knew what a nebish(?) is, and asked him.
Tim Donovan commented on Jun 21
Mrs. Don didn't like social pressure forcing women into traditional roles. She once noted people would say to a young lady "What, you're in your senior year in college and you're not engaged??" Then they'd say "What, you're engaged and you're not married??" And "What, you're married and you don't have a kid??" Next: "What, you have only one kid??" She didn't object to marriage and having kids just the way society hindered a woman's freedom of choice. Not everybody wants to go the traditional route. Mrs. Don pursued a career but also raised a family. One day I saw a short girl with freckles speak to the teacher. I may have said an unkind word about her and a girl cautioned me "That's her daughter." Mrs. Don once said something to the effect that, aside from school or work, there's no place where girls and boys can meet one another. Standing nearby, she seemed to anticipate my reaction, reflected in my facial expression--"soooo what." Lol, social interaction wasn't my forte.
Tim Donovan commented on Jun 21
For a while in her class we had a teacher trainee--Mr. Breslin. Once he came to me in the cafeteria and asked my opinion of something (his way of teaching or speaking?). I humorously noted that Mrs. Don interrupted him. For example, the little speech about pressure on women to conform was delivered on his watch. Mrs Don was then at the back of the room while Mr. Breslin stood silently; he was supposed to be teaching. I also recall Mr. Breslin said the make of a car a person has mirrors their personality. He then asked kids what kind of car they wanted. I said in effect one couldn't express my personality in car--he repeated that a bit derisively it seemed…He then asked a girl what car she wanted. She said she'd prefer a horse. Mr. Breslin then pressed his hands down on her shoulders and said in effect that she had the build of a horse(?). Once when I said "We don't need India for anything" Mr. Breslin replied "I wouldn't say so." Also, when I suggested cloning someone like Einstein might hasten progress, he said a professor stated that Einstein was only of use in a certain time frame--the thirties. I dunooo….he seemed eclectic to me. When we read Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD Mr. Breslin seemed to play the devil's advocate when he said "everyone would be happy" in a society like that. A girl replied that the methods described in the book--to ensure class stratification--are "pretty repulsive."
Tim Donovan commented on Jun 22
No doubt, many male students thought Mrs. Don was attractive. By the time I had her, early in '76, she must've had around 20 years experience fighting off their advances. Even in middle age, she retained her allure. I was under the impression she was "getting to" one guy I knew slightly, Guiseppe (Joe) Bernardi. One day he stayed after class--just before mine--to talk to her. Joe was kneeling on the floor right alongside her desk. The talk sounded like business but the overall impression was a romantic interest. Noting his kneeling, a girl said, "Look he's proposing."
Tim Donovan commented on Jun 22
I recall a few things Mrs. Don taught in class. She mentioned it was possible to tell who was in charge just by looking at the belongings of the people present. Leaders had their things spread out whereas subordinates kept their stuff in a neat pile. One day, when Mrs. Don was seated atop my desk, she mentioned something about altering the brains of monkeys to work without expectation of pay. Excitedly, I looked up at her and said "there would be more money for capital investment, inflation would be completely wiped out…." Other kids weren't enthusiastic. " would take away our jobs" someone said. I also recall when we wrote something about space I predicted in the near future unmanned probes would perform most of the missions until conditions are safer for manned flight. She commented "well thought out." Later, on some "future wheel" paper--i.e. how one invention can have wide ranging effects--I wrote that cloning the best people in each field would lead to military superiority, industrial superiority etc. She gave me an "A." Lol, I may not have deserved that as such scenarios are rather far fetched. Robots and AI may be more likely sources of future success. Another time, Mrs. Don had us read a magazine article by Johnson C. Montgomery (?) and write our response. The writer opined that we shouldn't care about the starving masses in third world countries. I think he added something like the future belonged to "loved children" in contrast to the dying third world hordes. At the time I agreed. When I finished the article I looked at Mrs. Don, who knew immediately I was ready to reply…. and seemed uneasy with my looks….. She got up right away and gave me some paper for a response. When my paper came back I noted her comment: "a strong statement Tim." I was a passionate type--at the time too much so….On yet another occasion a spat with another student left me in a melancholic state which she noticed with some concern…..but she was obviously pleased later to see me relaxed and talking humorously with some other kids about certain rules kids had invented--like no smoking pot in the swimming pool, lol.
Tim Donovan commented on Jun 22
One day in the spring of '76 the class went outside and we were separated into groups to play some kind of game. First we were given "occupations," from a certain list. "Tim" she said humorously, "you're a stripper." (Evidently being male didn't disqualify me from that line of work….)We then--just like attorneys--had to argue in favor of certain positions even if we didn't like them or agree. I had to argue in favor a starting WWIII or something like that. My use of big words to make my argument impressed David Rappaport (who incidentally died young, around 20 years later). Mrs. Don accepted my arguments. Soon afterwards, when I suggested rich people are more interested in politics or ideas because they have more of a stake in what's going on, Mrs. Don replied, rightly, that they tend to be satisfied with the way things are and hence are unlikely to be interested in new ideas or movements. I was apparently too soft-spoken, so at one point Mrs. Don came closer to me with her ear close to my mouth… Mrs Don had a realistic view of religion. She noted that the medieval elite didn't give the peasants much money but saw to it every place had a church or chapel. "That way they would be less likely to rebel." Btw, one student in her class, early '76, was my old second grade classmate, Alan Robb. One day when Mrs. Don asked him about something he said "Is my integrity being questioned?" She smiled and clarified matters. On one occasion, some guys in the class were making unusual sounds and Mrs. Don said something about strange noises. She remained cheerful, and wasn't the type to get mad.
Tim Donovan commented on Jun 22
The culmination of Mrs Don's class was in June 1976, when each student had to write their idea of a utopia. Knowing I would have a lot to say, she brought the stapler to my desk to staple the pages of my voluminous work. It was entitled IIRC "2093 A 21st century Universal Utopia." The work predicted the rise of an authoritarian US, which will subdue and unify the world, and then expand far into space, aided by "subclones" and "superclones." "This will amaze you" I said, and she replied "Good, I like to be amazed." A day or so later I got my paper back graded, with comments. At one point in the work, where I mentioned mass production of UFOs by a future regime, Mrs Don rightly pointed out that they'd be identified under those circumstances. And where I first mentioned the future ruler, the Leader, she wrote "How did "the Leader" get his job?" (Believe me I would get to that!) In conclusion she wrote "It made interesting reading, if frightening." Soon I showed the work to valedictorian-to-be Doug Baker, who laughed at Mrs. Don's comment ("It made interesting reading if frightening"). I told Doug to keep it in memory of me. Of course, that paper was a mere maiden effort, far inferior to later iterations of the thesis. One of these btw, is said to have "scared the heck out" of another teacher, in 1988. I believe OMNI editor Pamela Weintraub reacted the same way. ….Mrs. Don was far from the only one who found my writings frightening… Btw I think I last saw Mrs. Don at the Sheldon road P.O. in Manchester, maybe in the late 90s or early 2000s. After she got in line behind me, another former student--who probably had Mrs. Don long after I did and still recognized her--greeted her warmly.


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Joyce Don died on May 14, 2016 at age 84. She was born on May 10, 1932. We have no information about Joyce's family.
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1932 - 2016 World Events

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In 1932, in the year that Joyce Don was born, five years to the day after Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic, Amelia Earhart flew solo from Newfoundland to Ireland, the first woman to cross the Atlantic solo and the first to replicate Lindbergh's feat. She flew over 2,000 miles in just under 15 hours.

In 1949, when she was 17 years old, comedian Milton Berle hosted the first telethon show. It raised $1,100,000 for cancer research and lasted 16 hours. The next day, newspapers, in writing about the event, first used the word "telethon."

In 1963, when she was 31 years old, on November 22nd, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson became the 36th President of the United States when President John Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. Johnson was sworn in on the plane carrying Kennedy's body back to Washington D.C.

In 1978, when she was 46 years old, on November 18th, Jim Jones's Peoples Temple followers committed mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana - where they had moved, from San Francisco, as a group. Jones was the leader of the cult and ordered his followers to drink cyanide-laced punch, which they did. Whole families (women and children included) died - more than 900 people in all.

In 1998, by the time she was 66 years old, on December 19th, the movie Titanic - based on the 1912 sinking of the ship and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet - was released. Winning 11 Oscars, it was the first film to gross over a billion dollars and eventually grossed over $2 billion.

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