Reading Nancy’s Lips and Wyman’s Beads

I don’t know if Facebook still does Throw Up Thursdays but I thought I’d offer this rare photo of Ronald Regan’s sister wives together. It may be the only time Nancy Davis Regan and Jane Wyman Regan were captured in the same frame.

My big take-away from the aftermath of the Harryghan Nuptials was the need for more experienced lip readers. There’s a lot of storyline being missed that not even the exhaustive reporting of CNN or HuffPost can capture.

So I enrolled in a Phoenix University correspondence course and one of my first assignments, for which I received a C-, was of this photo.

In 1954 when Nancy pulled some family values trickery and deliberately got pregnant, Regan was forced to take one for the Gipper and marry her. Nancy with the laughing two-face made no joke of her disdain for the divorced first wife, Ms. Wyman. Like any cult with weak-minded recruits, all links to past personal relationships were severed so there could be no escape route. Nancy forbade mention of Jane, treated her as nonexistent and never acknowledged her for the next 50 years.

When the sole issue of the Regan-Wyman union died in 2002, the two women were forced to call a brief truce to the pettiness and meet in public at Maureen’s funeral. As best I can tell, the former first lady consoled the bereaved Mother with these words: “I mean it, the Meissen was Ronnie’s, it belongs to us!”

Ms. Wyman seems stunned, unable to express herself. She hadn’t been this lost for words since she won her Oscar for Johnny Belinda, in which she played a deaf-mute.


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