November 23, 2011

Constance Joannes Dickman Brescia

Connie Joannes in an Avon AdConstance Joannes was 16 years old when she had her first meeting with legendary modeling agent John Robert Powers in 1938. Powers saw potential in the dark-haired girl, but told her to come back when she finished high school. (Good for him, recognizing that brains shouldn’t take a back seat to beauty!) Connie did just that, leaving her hometown of Woodridge, New Jersey, for New York City in 1940.
“I went to work right then and there,” she says, “and worked continuously, modeling in print and television until I was in my mid-forties.”

Those of a certain age might remember Connie as the chic Avon Lady of the 1950s and 60s. (Who wouldn’t answer the door when she called?) She modeled for many of the biggest brands of the day: Ivory soap, Coty cosmetics, Ipana toothpaste, Bell Telephone and Rheingold beer. She even competed in the Miss Rheingold contest, but we’re positive she never got lit on the product, as the Anne Taintor design suggests (see below).


Connie Joannes magnet from True Romance MagazineThroughout her long career, Connie appeared on a number of magazine covers, including McCall’s, Cosmopolitan and Redbook (where she was the cover girl eight times). One magazine cover she vividly remembers is True Romance; the image would later become a popular Anne Taintor design. Considered something of a titillating rag, True Romance was an unusual place for Connie’s wholesome face to appear. “The issue was on the newsstand when I was being introduced to my future in-laws,” she says, “and I was hoping they wouldn’t see it!”

Connie Joannes Ivory Soap AdApparently, a scandal was averted, for Connie and her fiancé married in 1941. Emerson Dickman was a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox who matched his wife in enviable good looks; his teammates waggishly called him Robert Taylor, after the popular heartthrob actor. He and Connie had three children, Emerson, Robert and Connie; you can see six-month-old Bobby in the Ivory soap ad below. (“Tell everybody where you get that lovely complexion, Mommy!”)


Emerson DickmanEmerson left the Red Sox to join the Navy during World War II and spent much of his time putting cadets through his famously punishing physical drills, what he called his “Gene Tunney tactics.” After the war, he coached baseball at Princeton—taking the team to the Eastern Intercontinental Baseball League title for three consecutive years—then switched careers and was in radio/TV sales. He passed away in 1981.

After retiring from modeling, Connie put her good taste to use as an interior decorator; she owned two shops in northern New Jersey.

Years later, her daughter, Connie, was shopping at a Sparta gourmet and gift store called Garlic & Oil, when she spotted her mom smiling at her from a shelf. There was Connie, on Anne Taintor napkins! At the cash register, Connie told the shop owner that the woman on the napkins was her mother. The owner replied that a lot of people thought the photos on Anne Taintor’s products remind them of their mothers, and Connie said, “No that really is my mom!”

Connie Joannes

Connie JoannesIn the late 1980s, Connie married Patrick Brescia, who has since passed away. She now splits her time between New Jersey and Florida. At 89, Connie is still as beautiful—and active—as ever. She paints, cooks (“loves to entertain!”), plays bridge and golf, and keeps up with seven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. She’s also somewhat hooked on technology, “I am addicted to my iPad,” she confesses. “My favorite game of the moment is Angry Birds.”

Posted by Anne on in Meet the Taintorettes, UncategorizedLeave a Comment

7 Thoughts on “Constance Joannes Dickman Brescia”

  1. Ross LeCompte

    I remember Connie and Emmie visiting my Aunt and Uncle, Hug and
    Dot Bonino, at theit West Englewood home, many years ago.

    My uncle Hug was a former pro football player and very successful
    businessman. ( Chemicals )

    He and Emmie hit it off and were friends. My Aunt Dot ( Dorothy ),
    was an an very good golfer and won many tournaments. She and Connie were good friends. Theyre both past away, as is my mother,Ursula, at age 99. hug past in NC at 68.

    I looked up Emmie on google, as is customary these days and was surprised to see Connie still living, as I was told she had passed some years ago, in Sparta, NJ.

    I hope she remembers Dot and Hug, as they were very fond of them both. – ” Skip” LeCompte

    1. Connie

      Hello Skip. Just saw this post. Such a small world. Hug and Dot were my godparents! I have such wonderful memories of them both!

  2. Ross " Skip " LeCompte

    I’m sorry I didn’t find your reply until now – in my 80’s ( but still playing music ) I find computers helpful, but time consuming and I’m stillstill learning how to use it. Do you remember Hug’s sister Ursula ?

    She had moved to Point Pleasant in retirement, was still driving at age 97 when we started to find too many dents in her car. She passed peacefully at 99.

    Hug didn’t find it as easy, passing at 68 in NC, from cancer and old football injurys. You look like you’re still enjoying life and maintaining your beauty, which my mom so admired. If you ever want to travel to southern, New Mexico, my wife and I are great hosts.

  3. Ross LeCompte

    Thanks for the reply, Connie.

    They were also my God Parents and later I became a ward of Hugs.

    I believe I only met you and Emmy once at their house in West Englewood. Good for you, being so well loved in the Sparta area. When I inquired as to your whereabouts,back in the early nineties, folks there really expressed thier love and appreciation for you.

  4. Jim Boynton

    Dear Anne,

    You are incredible and your work is wonderful, my entire life I have been adding fun expressions to all my printed photos much like you do. I actually had one of your desk calendar books I had kept for a few years and finally got my act together to do what I had always wanted to do make collage which is in a beautiful frame and is 16×22 with cut outs of all your fun photos and expressions. I would love to send a photo to you of the work. I have it on the wall of the powder room in our home, and let me tell the howls I here when they are reading it in the bathroom, never thought using the powder room could be that much fun my 93 year young mom said. My good friend and neighbor told me she was laughing so hard she had to, well go again…love your work, please allow me to share my home project with you.

    Happy Regards,

    Jim Boynton
    328 113th Street East
    Parkland, Washington 98445-7732

    1. Editor

      Thanks so much for your message! It made my day. I hope this doesn’t sound *too* creepy… but I’m really enjoying picturing your mom and friends using your powder room. Please share pictures with us!

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