Letter: Manhattan Manitoulin author remembers Phyllis Turner

A woman of great presence and humour

To the Expositor:

In August 2019, when I stayed at dear Debby and Jib Turner’s home as their happy houseguest, Debby and I went over to visit Phyllis Turner at her house, to say hello and chat.  

I found her charming, open and gracious to this New Yorker!

She had books in her library that she wanted to get rid of, and offered them to me. They looked interesting, but I politely declined, thinking about carrying them home in my suitcase to NYC. She smiled and said okay. We stayed about an hour laughing and joking.

We had driven in my rented car over to Phyllis’ and then left back to the Turners.

I did not notice, until the next morning, how those three books had been put into my backseat. And oh, did I laugh! Was there a lesson?

With Phyllis I learned we both were addicted to silly jokes and puns on the internet, and when I got home, in August 2019, I began to send every silly joke to Phyllis online, and she sent her contributions to me, and here she was, and I was, both of us, one slightly older than the other, enjoying this online email friendship, which endeared us to each other. 

It was never a contest for the silliest joke, just sharing.

When Debby told me Phyllis was in the hospital I was able to phone and chat for a minute.

“Keep sending those jokes, Bonnie,” she said. And I did, until I had news that she passed away. Phyllis was still smiling with her new friends.

I mourn her with great respect. Phyllis let me know the deep value of a Manhattan Manitoulin silly and wonderful friendship that began when Phyllis was 92 and I am still a Manitoulin learner. 


Bonnie Kogos

Manhattan, New York