On one of my many phone conversations with Lloyd’s mother, I thanked her profusely for all the time she spent teaching Lloyd as a boy. She laughed when I told her that he could iron clothes better than I could, but that I was learning. We finished our time on the phone, but her parting words have stayed with me: “No matter how difficult life may be, Carolyn, plan for a better future, expect the impossible. There is nothing too hard for God.” She was right, our lives are markedly better, and the following generations continue to improve, beyond us. It is quite a lovely legacy and one that spread beyond Loquetta’s family to countless people who took the time to listen and hear with their heart.
It was a bit of heaven to be married to a man of sound convictions, drive, talent, and a great sense of humor—qualities united with sensitivity, respect for life, people, nature, and the wisdom to know that housework or raising children is not merely “women’s work.” A powerful combination in a man who never took himself too seriously. I have painted a picture of a possible saint so let me assure you he was not. There were battles of disappointments; goals not reached, the anger of mistreatment, and injustice going on inside, to be sure. However, he chose to build steadfastly on the assets he saw around him, change what he could, and work on forgiveness tirelessly.
Someone asked me what a typical day was like with Lloyd, and it didn’t take too long for me to remember a day that summed it up. He was working on a movie at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and treated like royalty. His dressing room was gorgeous and was at one time Clark Gable’s, so the story goes. During that extraordinary day, he had an interview away from the lot with Variety magazine, then, signed autographs for the adoring, energetic, and screaming fans. While trying to get into his car and return to work, several of the paparazzi crowded him and were yelling questions. Lloyd calmly answered their questions, then, drove back to work.
When he arrived home, the man who walked through the door was lovable Sonny from South Bend Indiana. He hugged me and kissed me as if I was the only person in the world, grabbed a cup of coffee, and wanted to hear about my day.
We sat and talked, then, he put on his favorite jogging suit and tennis shoes, and took the trash to the large bin. I could see him through the kitchen window, and he looked back at me with his huge smile and said laughingly, “I’m doing man’s work.” Then he came back in and cleaned the kitchen floor for me. There were numerous thoughtful daily gestures that touched me beyond the expensive gifts of long-stem red roses, or exotic orchids, although I did enjoy those too. For me, it was those small, countless, exquisite moments in time that have left an indelible beauty upon my life.
The story of Lloyd Haynes is an important one that stretches well beyond his playing Mr. Dixon on the classic TV show Room 222. His life was rich, full, and extremely difficult on many levels. The author, Carolyn Haynes, was the late actor's wife and thus brings an inside perspective to the story, but this is more than a memoir; it's a carefully researched and well-written biography set in the changing and often tumultuous culture of the US in the 1960s-1980s.
Author Carolyn Haynes is a member of Screen Actors Guild and the Author's Guild. She attended the American Film Institute, Pasadena Playhouse and Film Industry Workshops, and she was invited to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London England.