Joan Winston: Recollections and Tributes
Joan passed away on September 11, 2008. Additional Memorial Tributes are linked through a large table on the main page of this site.
Presented as Part of A COMPANION IN ZEOR'S
Thirtieth Anniversary Year
Part of A Companion in
Recollections, for inclusion, can be e-mailed to Karen MacLEOD
tributes are linked through a table at the bottom of this page.
Please note in your subject line JOAN WINSTON, or something similar, to weed out from the spam this address receives.
Since I came late to Star Trek, and later still to Star Trek conventions, I didn't meet Joanie Winston until New Year's weekend of 1979. We became instant friends, and whenever I came to New York I would stay with her (yes, she let me into the infamously off-limits apartment-- probably because she knew a kindred packrat spirit when she met one!)
Joanie was the epitome of Úlan, a mixture of grace and chic, style and warmth. If Joanie was your friend, she was there for you. Always.
As one of those who was privileged to have read the entire manuscript of her almost-published novel, Keep Me Warm, I knew her to be a truly talented writer-- all the more remarkable because her old-school parents had poured their educational investment into their son, and she had not been able to attend college. That didn't stop her from being a cosmopolitan and cultured New Yorker, even though she was self-educated.
She took care of her parents throughout their lengthy deterioration from Alzheimer's, and we can rejoice in the fact that she was spared a protracted battle with that cruel disease herself.
I have so many Joanie stories-- how we and Sharon Jarvis threw a party in L.A. and invited everyone we knew, and wound up with all kinds of A-list celebrities there (not bad for kids from out of town who made the food themselves!), or the "galactic garage sale" at Worldcon that helped us weed down the collections that were pushing us out of our homes, or how Joanie and I discovered a wonderful pair of dressy looking walking shoes at a discount shoe store in New York and bought up every pair in our mutual size.
I remember a con in Cleveland for the fact that Joanie and I had been chatting in the dark about whatever, when she suddenly lit up a cigarette-- in bed! I had been brought up on those "Don't Smoke In Bed" ads that used to play on TV in the fifties, and all I could think was, "We're gonna die!" so I sat straight up in my bed so I wouldn't fall asleep for the duration of Joanie's cigarette. Only once I was sure it was OUT and in the ash tray, and the ashtray was off her bed and on the night table, did I dare lie down and go to sleep. I never said a word to her about it at the time, but it scared the heck out of me. I'm so glad she quit smoking years ago."
But one story stands out: After her mastectomy but before her reconstructive surgery, she and a friend who had also had a mastectomy attended a large science fiction convention-- it might have been a Worldcon-- as Amazons, brazenly flashing their scars for all the world to see as they brandished their bows and arrows in defiance. That takes a New Yorker's gutsiness, to stare down a life-threatening illness and turn it into a science fiction costume.
That was Joanie-- all New Yorker, all guts, all style, all heart. I'll miss her.