Law School's 'Ms. Pronto' Gets Her Convertible
by Alan Hunt
A shiny Ford Thunderbird is a "dream come true" for 89-year-old Charlotte Reese, former registrar at the Law School. After 73 years, she's finally got the convertible she has been yearning for since her 16th birthday.
"Back then, Poppa told me 'No,'" she recalls. "He said it was too dangerous. Later, my husband said the same thing."
Fast forward to Ford's announcement of a 2002 Thunderbird convertible in a style reminiscent of the original Thunderbirds of the 1950s. Reese decided she could wait no longer. She and her daughter, JoAnne Norwood, jointly placed an order for a red Thunderbird at the Ford dealership.
They were fifth on the waiting list -- and the gleaming retro-style car won their hearts when it finally arrived. Offering both soft and hard top options, the Thunderbird can change into Reese's beloved convertible in a matter of minutes.
"It's been a long time coming," she says. "But well worth the wait."
Now she is trying to dream up a suitable personal license plate for the car. "I notice the way people look as they drive by me -- this white-haired woman," she says. "I thought about a plate that said "Why Not?" or "At Last," but I'm told they have both been taken. I'll have to give it some more thought."
Reese, who was affectionately known to her students by the nickname "Ms. Pronto," joined the Law School in May 1969 and retired as registrar 13 years later during the administration of Dean Emeritus Angus S. McSwain. The name "Pronto" stuck because in her posted bulletin board notes for the law students she would always conclude with the line, "See Me Pronto."
It was just a little nickname that made me feel good," she said.
Her husband, James B. Reese, died in 1978 at the age of 71.