Still sparkling, writing, contributing at age 86

Ex-Rockdale Chamber Manager going strong
By MIKE BROWN Reporter Editor

More than 30 years ago, the sparkplug manager of the Rockdale Chamber of Commerce contributed a lively weekly column to The Reporter.

And this week, at age 86, Marcie Reynolds is still actively involved in journalism.

She is writing for the Green- Ridge Gazette, the community newspaper of Buckner Villas, a senior living facility in Austin.

Reynolds and husband, Dr. Bob Reynolds, who was Rockdale High School principal from 1979 to 1982, are residents of Buckner Villas.

“Oh yes, I remember Rockdale well,” Marcie Reynolds laughed after being contacted by The Reporter on Friday. “We used to have so much fun there with all you wonderful folks.”

JOURNALIST— Reynolds kept up her writing career after leaving Rockdale.

At the 1981 Rockdale Chamber of Commerce banquet, speaker Gil Stricklin presented Bob and Marcie Reynolds with the ‘Ivory Snow Award,’ a gag commemorating nationwide TV ad appearance. 
Reporter file photo/Bill Cooke At the 1981 Rockdale Chamber of Commerce banquet, speaker Gil Stricklin presented Bob and Marcie Reynolds with the ‘Ivory Snow Award,’ a gag commemorating nationwide TV ad appearance. Reporter file photo/Bill Cooke She also contributed articles for newspapers in Lake Travis Island and Horseshoe Bay.

“Although we’ve been retired for quite some time, I found that I was excited at the idea of picking up my pen and writing again,” she said. “So when the opportunity arose for me to write for the new GreenRidge Gazette, I signed up to contribute.”

BUSY TIME—The Reynoldses came to Rockdale at a busy and productive time in the town’s history, the summer of 1979.

Sandow Power Plant Unit 4 was in the midst of a massive upgrade. Shell Oil had just announced plans to mine 25,000 acres of lignite and the area was in the running for a billion-dollar synthetic fuels plant.

The mine and synfuel plant didn’t happen.

Bob Reynolds was named RHS principal in August and one month later Marcie became Chamber manager.

She jumped right in with both feet. “There was so much going on,” she recalled. “Shell had just announced its plans and there were all kinds of meetings and activities going on with that project. Then a couple of weeks later we had the Fair.”

“And then we went right into the holidays. We had such a good time in Rockdale. There were parades, rodeos and we so enjoyed the people,” she said.

Reynolds also helped organize one of the most popular, and still talked about, events of the period, the November, 1980, “roast” of Reporter Publisher Emeritus W. H. Cooke.

It was one of the first events in the newly-expanded Patterson Civic Center.

Somehow the communi - ty managed to keep it a secret and surprised Cooke, who didn’t know what was going on until he walked through the front door and was greeted by a crowd of over 200.

“I’ll never forget that,” Reynolds said. “It was such a special night.”

IVORY—She’ll never forget something else that happened in her “Rockdale era.”

The Reynolds fami ly was entered by a friend in a nationwide competition to find a “real life” family to promote Ivory soap on television.

They won. Mrs Reynolds and three of the couple’s sons appeared in the national television spot.

It ran for several months in 30, 35 and 45-second versions.

“It was truly magical watching the ad come together, even moreso when I read about it in the newspapers,” she recalled. “I usually wrote for the papers and for once they were writing about me.”

And it wasn’t a “Madison Avenue pretend to use the product” production.

Marcie’s family had used Ivory products for generations.

“It started with my grandmother who used Ivory while she lived on a ranch and an Indian reservation in Oklahoma,” she said.

MEMORIES—Reynolds has a suitcase full of memorabilia and stories she has written.

“My favorites are the feature stories, especially those about senior citizens,” she said. “I find that every one has a unique past and story to share.”

Ever mindful of history, she’s delighted that the GreenRidge Gazette’s first edition launched on Sept. 25, a special day for the newspaper business.

“That’s the day the first newspaper in America was published in 1690,” she said.

(Publick Occurrences was issued in Boston on that day. Four days later it was shut down by the British government which didn’t like what it had written.)

Reynolds credits “the happiness I experience from writing and learning about others” as the factor that prompted her to start writing again.

“I think it’s important to stay both mentally and physically active as you age,” she said. “Of course I have some physical limitations but my mind is as sharp as ever.”

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