Stan and Joan Lee Tribute
Tomorrow is the second anniversary of the passing of Stan Lee. To Marvel fans, Stan Lee was an icon, the greatest superhero creator of all time. To me, he was family. My parents were their best friends and they in turn were my parent’s best friends for fifty years. It was only natural for my siblings and I to call them Aunt and Uncle. They wouldn’t have it any other way.
Dad and Uncle Stan met in N.Y.C. at Timely Comics where Uncle Stan worked. Martin Goodman, my dad’s friend, owned Timely Comics and he introduced Stan to my dad. Soon, uncle Stan and my dad were joined at the hip, becoming quite the dynamic duo in their own right. Becoming best friends, they decided to find apartments in the same building in Manhattan. Soon thereafter, Stan met and married Aunt Joan, a British-American model. Both Aunt Joan and my mother were models working for different agencies in Manhattan. When my dad met my mom, he took her for a carriage ride in Central Park. They ran into Stan and Joan. Dad introduced them to mom and she and Joan hit it off immediately. They were, as Aunt Joan would say, “fabulous best friends for fifty years!”
When life in Manhattan proved to be too hectic, my dad bought a home on Long Island. Uncle Stan and Aunt Joan followed suit and bought a home within minutes of ours. My older brother and J.C., their daughter, were born the same year. My mother and Aunt Joan went through both of their pregnancies together. Aunt Joan lost her second child just days after she was born. Months later, my mother gave birth to me.
Aunt Joan and Uncle Stan became my godparents when I was christened. Needless to say, they played a big role in my childhood. Our families were always together. My dad and Uncle Stan had a terrific sense of humor and were incredible storytellers.
Uncle Stan inspired me at an early age to be both creative and enthusiastic. I’d be swimming in their pool, Aunt Joan would be making us lunch, and Uncle Stan would be standing at his typewriter working on one of his storylines. I was young, but I took note, watching his creative enthusiasm at work.
Joan was an effervescent, sharp witted and creative creature that I adored. She was a bundle of energy and love. That’s how I remember her today. I miss our conversations of her take of what’s going on in the world. Even in her nineties, her mind was sharp as a knife and she had keen insight into the news of the day. Of course, I loved hearing her tell stories of my mom and dad and her escapades with them. When my mom passed away, Aunt Joan was devastated. They were as close as friends could be.
My mother was an artist. Watching her paint, inspired me to become an artist, but it was Uncle Stan who inspired me to create out of the box and never give up. Later in my life, he was the impetus for me to open my own art gallery. I think my desire to create and work until my last breath, flows naturally from knowing him.
I lost my dad when I was thirty-two and my mom when I was forty-nine. It was comforting to know Aunt Joan and Uncle Stan were still here and part of my life. When Aunt Joan passed away, it was simply devastating for Uncle Stan and losing her was a deep heartfelt loss to my sister and I. She was like a second mother to both of us. A little over a year after Aunt Joan passed, we lost Uncle Stan. They both lived long, productive and glorious lives.
I miss picking up the phone and calling them. I miss having wild conversations with Aunt Joan and laughing with her. The void can only partly be filled with sweet memories and a grateful heart that I had them in my life for over sixty years. To my Uncle Stan and Aunt Joan, I love you to the moon and back. Excelsior!