Friday, October 19, 2007

Kind Anonymous People

A lot of times when I write this Blog and the characters on April’s Real Blog, someone steps in from time to time and corrects my errant behaviour with good old-fashioned knowledge. More interestingly, a lot of times this happens on this Blog with comments which come in days after I had done the Blog entry. I don’t get an e-mail notification when this happens (I don’t know if Blogger does that), so from time to time I will go back over old Blog entries to find information I knew back then, and discover one of these knowledgeable persons has popped in and left me a treasure in the form of a comment I had not read before.

Way back in 2005, I had written that the character of Ardith Narayan on For Better or For Worse was probably Indian, and I later found a kind anonymous person posted to my Blog and said that Ardith was actually Armenian, which actually made a lot more sense than Indian.

During the Howard Bunt trial sequence of strips, I had an anonymous donor of information who was literally a treasure trove of Canadian law and procedure, and who produced more accurate criticisms of the way the trial was presented than anyone on any other commentary about For Better or For Worse I had ever seen. It was great.

Today I read an article in the Chicago Tribune about Lynn Johnston. In the article, she talked about her divorce from Rod Johnston and said:

"He fell in love with somebody else," Johnston said in a phone interview from her home in the Canadian city of Corbeil, Ontario. "It had been over a long period of time. I just -- " she paused, then continued, "well, it's a surprise."

The way she phrased it “It had been over a long period of time” struck me. You see, back on September 7, 2007 in the Howard Bunt Blog, I had come to the conclusion that the person with whom Rod Johnston had the affair was a lady named Nancy Vincent, who used to work for Lynn Johnston on For Better or For Worse until she left mysteriously, right around the time that Lynn and Rod apparently applied for a divorce. I was struck by the comment Lynn made in the article, because it made me think this description of the person with whom Rod had the affair fit the description of Nancy very well.

Back in September, as a proof, I had found a phone listing for Nancy Vincent and Rod in Corbeil, Ontario. However, my good friend, aprilp_katje, found a on-line donation listing for Nipissing University for a Rod and Nancy Vincent, so my proof had been disproved. Nancy actually had a husband Rod, so this was not Rod Johnston in the phone listing. Nevertheless, I had a lingering suspicion something had happened with Nancy Vincent, because it seemed too coincidental that Nancy had left working for Lynn at just the same time, and there was no fanfare for her departure, despite her years of working for Lynn.

Well, today, after I read the Chicago Tribune article, I went back to my old September 7 blog entry and found 2 comments there I had not seen before. They said the following things:

Anonymous said...
Why would the phone listing look like that? The way it's listed it's Nancy Vincent and Rod Vincent. Otherwise it would read Nancy Vincent and Rod Johnston. Besides, most online white pages are notoriously outdated - and updated only periodically, like once a quarter or once a year.

I think it's just coincidence that another MARRIED couple named Rod and Nancy Vincet live in Corbeil. I'm sure Corbeil's not huge - but those are all three pretty common names.

10:30 PM

Anonymous said...
The reason there is a telephone listing as Rod and Nancy Vincent is because Nancy's husband's (soon to be ex perhaps) name IS Rod Vincent. Never have to worry about shouting out the wrong name! Nancy Vincent workded for Dr. Rod Johnston for many many years in his dental practice as his restorative dental hygienist before being hired by Lynn. Nancy Vincent and Rod Johnston did work at Canadore College in the dental hygiene department. Nancy's husband Rod Vincent also worked at Canadore College for many years but has since left the college.
Rod Johnston and Nancy Vincent have since bought a house together in Corbeil, Ontario.

11:23 AM

Once again, I am kept well-informed thanks to kind anonymous people. Thank you anonymous people. Without you, I would wallow in ignorance.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How very interesting! After reading your first analysis, I thought the deduction of Nancy as the "other woman" was correct. And then when i seemed refuted by the telephone listing I still wondered about Nancy's sudden departure; and why Katie stepped in so suddenly.

Now, of course, April katje as posted again in Live Journal that Nancy wasn't the mystery woman; you are going to drive katje crazy!


9:06 PM  
Blogger howard said...


Well, I have driven aprilp_katje crazy before on many occasions, so I will just have to say, “Sorry”. I suppose it is possible the second Anonymous poster was incorrect, but the post does have an air of authenticity to it that is difficult for me to refute. It also answers quite a few of the questions I still had about the situation. Judging from the posting at the Foobiverse’s Journal, my first anonymous poster was LJ poster bigefries.

Since the history of Rod and Nancy as coworkers goes back almost to when Lynn and Rod moved to Corbeil, and Lynn said in the interview the affair had been going on a long time, there is the potential “a long time” could be more than 20 years. I wonder now if Nancy was the model for the young, attractive dental worker hired by John whom Elly resented in that strip all those years ago.

11:59 PM  
Blogger April Patterson said...

No need to be sorry--I'm stunned. Wow!

BTW, you can change your blog settings to get e-mail notification about comments. To configure that, you'll need to click on the "Settings" tab and then "comments." At the bottom of that page, you'll find "Comment Notification Address" and a space to fill in an e-mail address. :)

4:59 AM  
Blogger DreadedCandiru2 said...

What floors me is her admission that it had been going on all that time with her knowing about it. Either Rod is real good at covering his tracks or she's suffering from a severe case of recto-cranial insertion and needs surgical help removing her head from her corn-chute.

5:07 AM  
Blogger howard said...


Thanks for the information about the Blogger settings. Once again my continuity goddess has come to the rescue.

6:58 AM  
Blogger howard said...


The usual joke is that men are unable to pull off an affair because they will always make some mistake or leave some clue their attentive will catch. Certainly I have known men who have fallen into that category. One lady I dated back in my single days, told me the way she found out her ex-husband was having an affair was when she decided to clean his car out as a surprise to him and found a slip of paper with a phone number on it in his car and she did not know the number. Naturally she decided to call the number, and a woman answered and then rest goes from there. After hearing that story, I remember thinking to myself, “How could any man pull off an affair?” And yet, I later heard some story about some guy out in Florida who had 2 whole separate families in close-lying towns, where he was married to two women, had children with both, and neither of them knew about the other.

Now, let me put things in perspective. Nancy Vincent worked with Lynn Johnston in the same office with other female coworkers, for years. And she was married to boot. If Lynn needed help with her recto-cranial insertion, then there are a whole lot of people down there with her.

The alternative is that Lynn was the only one who didn’t know, and the rest of the people turned a blind eye, sort of like everyone did with Prince Charles and Camilla, including Camilla’s then-husband. Even then, Camilla did not work in the same office as Princess Diana.

Can you see the obvious parallels between Elizabeth / Constable Paul Wright / Susan Dokis? Lynn is Elizabeth, the city girl who insists on moving to Corbeil, Ontario (Milborough) next to large city North Bay (Toronto), after her “adventure” in Lynn Lake (Mtigwaki). Rod parallels Paul. He is the flying dentist meeting the needs of the First Nations people. He wants to continue living at Lynn Lake, Manitoba, where the city girl had agreed to live when they met. Nancy is the girl from the same tribe (dentistry) as Rod. The people of Mtigwaki are everyone in Lynn’s office, or in the towns of Corbeil or North Bay, who knew about the affair and didn’t tell her about it, because they felt it wasn’t any of their business. The guilt for Elizabeth/Lynn was that she tried to take/took a man away from the life he knew and loved. The guilt for Paul/Rod was having the affair and not having the decency to break things off earlier. The implication from the strip story line is that, contrary to what is in the press, Lynn knew about this affair long before April, this year.

As proof, let me show you that like Elizabeth in Mtigwaki, Lynn thinks of her time in Manitoba with Rod as an adventure (quoting from article):

"Rod and I had some wonderful adventures together," she said. "If it hadn't been for him, I wouldn't have gone up to northern Manitoba, I wouldn't have learned how to fly an airplane, I wouldn't have learned how to drive a combine and a tractor, I wouldn't have learned Spanish. I wouldn't have done nearly the things that I've done.”

If Lynn knew about or suspected the affair was going on, then this next sentence from the article takes on a new meaning:

Her goal was to wrap up her characters' present-day plots by the beginning of September, she told the Tribune in January. After that, "we can probably choreograph a year's worth of work in a few days," she said then. This schedule would allow her to pursue some retirement plans, including spending more time with her husband of 32 years, a retired dentist, she said.

If she suspects things about Rod and Nancy, but doesn't fire Nancy or confront Rod right off, then can you see some parallels between Lynn and Rod Johnston and her characters of Anne and Steve Nichols? If you can, then take Lynn’s knowledge or suspicion of Rod’s affair back even further in time.

7:03 AM  
Blogger DreadedCandiru2 said...

This sort of puts a bit of perspective on Katie's Elly-like presence in Lynn's post-affair life, doesn't it? Transpose the generations and you'll see what I mean.

8:24 AM  
Blogger April Patterson said...

howtheduck, it's interesting to note how many times the infidelity angle has come up in the strip, as well as from how early on.

For example, Ted McCaulay had a very brief marriage to his receptionist. When his wife filed for divorce due to his infidelity, Connie noted that she was not surprised--for Ted had cheated on Connie with the receptionist when Connie was dating Ted.

Then, of course, there are the Nicholses--Anne has stayed married to Steve despite many years of infidelity.

In the next generation, we've had Rhetta dating someone else (giving Mike the justification to pursue Deanna), Eric cheating on Liz with Tina, Thérèse having an affair with a co-worker, Paul and Susan hooking up, the teacher whose divorce (due to her husband's infidelity) led to Liz's job opening. We even have April concerned that Gerald will leave her for Becky. And the Chicago Tribune has hinted that tomorrow's Sunday strip is a reprint of an early one where Elly has nightmares about John being unfaithful.

I know a certain amount of this can be attributed to Lynn's failed first marriage to Doug Franks, who was unfaithful. However, I wouldn't be surprised if Lynn had harbored suspicions about Rod but suppressed them, only to play them out in the strip in various ways.

I can imagine that her staff could have been in a very awkward position, whether they knew something was going on or merely suspected as much.

12:54 PM  
Blogger howard said...


Very good point. People have made jokes that Lynn Johnston doesn't know how to have any of her characters in For Better or For Worse end a relationship except for infidelity, and now there may be a motivation for that.

As for the staff, that is an interesting question. Nancy was the #2 to Lynn's #1 in the staff. Obviously they sided with Lynn, since they are still employed. It is also obvious the women in the family side with Lynn since Katie works there now, and Rod's sister writes those biography things. Morever, if they knew about it and they suspected Lynn knew about it but did nothing, then where is their motivation to do anything? Nowhere I can see.

The question that remains is where would be the surprise in April, 2007, which would cause her to stop putting John Patterson in the strip for months? My suspicion is that she was like Anne Nichols, thinking Rod would be like Steve Nichols and ultimately repent of his misdeeds, ask for forgiveness and tell her he prefers her to the other woman; and then he didn't.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your all a bunch of losers!
I know Nancy and Rod Vincent and for some moron to come to conclusions on what happened and drag this poor lady through the mud is ridiculous.
Nancy had nothing to do with Rod Johnston.
Next time before you try and discredit somebody make sure you have the correct facts!
Nancy should sue the arthur of this blog!

11:21 AM  
Blogger howard said...

So, tell me Anonymous. Just why did Nancy Vincent leave Lynn Johnston's employ right around the time that Rod Johnston asked her for a divorce? Set the record straight.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The inside scoop is: OH, yeah- Nancy Vincent did have an affair with Rod Johnston and then tried to sue his wife. What a whore!

12:20 PM  
Blogger howard said...

As it turns out, Lynn Johnston did finally publically name Nancy Vincent as the person with whom Rod cheated during her session in the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, finally ending any doubts on our 8-year-old speculation. If you wait long enough, people will eventually talk.

5:08 PM  

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