Mary Packard was a chestnut-haired, vaudeville dancer barely out of high school when she was crowned Miss Ohio. That was in 1941. Now 92 and a resident of Cathedral Square Senior Living in Burlington, Vermont, Mary recently had a chance to meet a fellow, modern-day beauty queen. Rylee Field, also known as Miss Vermont 2016, paid a surprise visit to Packard’s apartment after making a guest appearance at the community.
“She was clearly so surprised to have a visitor with a crown on,” Rylee said of the impromptu meeting. “But she was so welcoming and excited to share her own story with me.”
The two women traded stories about the joys and trials of beauty stardom. “I owned over sixty pairs of shoes and almost as many lipsticks,” Packard confessed, chuckling. “I just loved shoes and lipstick.”
In parting Packard gave this advice to Field who will go on to compete in the national Miss America competition in Atlantic City on September 11th: “No matter what happens, honey, keep smiling! During the swimsuit competition I tripped over a power cord on stage and almost fell down. My reaction was to smile and laugh and to this day I think that’s why the judges voted for me.”
Field, a wedding planner originally from Montpelier, Vermont, says there was much to take away from her meeting with Mary. “She remarked how it all goes by so quickly; it’s so important for me to really soak in each experience. Also there is so much “life after the crown”. [She] has so many wonderful memories of her kids, grandkids and great grandkids.”