Nola Reardon was one of the Reardon’s seven children, and she was also the one who resented being raised in a poor family who ran the local boarding house. She often escaped her boring Midwestern life by watching old movies and dreaming of the perfect man who would sweep her off her feet. She thought she found that man in med student Kelly Nelson. He was straight-laced and handsome but unfortunately he wasn’t interested in her and instead pursued Hillary Bauer then Nola’s friend Morgan Richards. A jealous Nola tried every kind manipulation to get Kelly’s interest but nothing seemed to work. And in typical soap opera fashion Nola decided the only way to get Kelly was to get pregnant.
In 1981 she told Kelly that Morgan was cheating on him while plying him with alcohol. When Kelly passed out she undressed him and placed him in her bed and the next morning she convinced him that they had made love. Her plan worked perfectly and Nola announced her pregnancy to Kelly, though she knew all along the child was Floyd Parker’s and was conceived many weeks after she claimed. When Nola’s mother Bea found out the truth about what Nola had been up to she was unable to let her daughter ruin her own life and the promising life of Kelly. She told Kelly the truth that there was no way he was the father of Nola’s unborn child. Just as they were leaving town to get married Kelly confronted Nola about her deception. Nola briefly considered an abortion but reconsidered and accepted Floyd’s marriage proposal. However, at the justice of the peace, Nola realized she couldn’t marry a man she didn’t love and dumped him at the altar.
Nola’s deception made her a pariah in Springfield. Deciding to raise her child alone she sought employment and answered an advertisement for a live-in assistant at an estate on Thornway Road. Upon arrival Nola was sent to meet her possible employer, young Archeologist Quinton R. McCord, at the gazebo. And although she had no experience, and was indeed quirky, he was charmed by her. After learning she was pregnant and unwed Quinton took pity on Nola and hired her.
Nola was very imaginative (not to mention quirky and a bit flakey) and the young woman immediately began concocting all manner of dreams and odd scenarios to explain the goings on within the old house, complete with secret passageways, eerie organ music coming from the attic and odd archaeological artifacts. And although Quinton intrigued Nola she was also found his dark and gothic nature to be strange.
In January 1982, Nola went into premature labor alone at Thornway Road. She contacted Kelly Nelson to come and help her and was passed out from pain by the time he arrived. She ended up giving birth to her daughter in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. She named the baby Kelly Louise, Kelly (for Kelly Nelson) and Louise (Floyd Parker’s mother’s name). Mrs. Renfield and Mr. McCord, Quinton’s housekeeper and chauffer respectively, took an interest in Nola’s baby daughter which concerned Nola.
However, soon Nola and her best friend Gracie were snooping around the mansion in order to learn Quinton’s secrets. Also around this time Nola began discovered that she had feelings for her employer especially when she started being his Archaeology assistant rather than his live-in household supervisor. In March, Quinton took Nola to London and on this trip Nola encountered Quint’s ex-fiancée, Helena Manzini. Helena Manzini was the woman whose monogram “HM” was embroidered in the chinchilla coat that Mr. McCord had given to her.
Nola also learned of Quinton’s arch nemesis Silas Crocker. Quint and Silas had attended Oxford together and had a history of rivalry, not the least of which was over the exotic beauty, Helena. Quinton was an honest and good archaeologist, he desired only to uncover the earth’s treasures for the good of all mankind while Silas exploited his archaeological finds for financial gain.
In the Spring of 1982, Nola finally made arrangements to christen her baby daughter, Kelly Louise and also nervously admitted to Quint that Floyd was in fact the biological father. Quint was surprised it was not Kelly Nelson, but relieved to know the truth since Floyd wanted to play a part in the child’s upbringing. However the Christening didn’t go as smoothly as Nola had planned. Believing that Nola spilled the beans to Derek Colby about his burgeoning relationship with Hillary Bauer, Nola’s hotheaded brother Tony blew the whistle on Nola about her prior summer shenanigans right in front of Floyd and Quint. Floyd had thought that he and Nola were “in love” when the child was conceived not that Nola had actually used him as a sperm donor to trap Kelly into marriage. Floyd vowed to get custody of the child away from Nola, feeling that she was an unfit mother. Though shocked at the revelation Quinton quickly softened when he realized Nola had skipped town with the baby. After discovering that Nola had gone to London he followed her there and promised to help her financially and emotionally in the battle against Floyd, and brought her back home to Springfield.
They were barely back in town before it was time for Quint and Nola to head off to St. Croix on his quest to find the Temple of Gold. His late friend and colleague, Professor Taylor, had been able to decipher some ancient maps before his untimely murder. These maps indicated that an ancient Phoenician barge had gone down somewhere in the Caribbean near the island of St. Croix. While diving down to the bottom of the sea with Quint, Nola believed she saw something in a secluded area that looked promising. Quint warned her it was unsafe to venture there. But in pure Nola fashion, she let her curiosity get the best of her and checked it out anyway. Nola got stuck among the coral reefs, and would have died there had Quint not rescued her. They struggled to the surface of the water, and breathlessly Quint dragged a choking and sobbing Nola to the safety of the beach. It was there that Quint and Nola shared their first, very passionate kiss.
However their romance hit a major snag when Helena Manzini showed up on the island. She informed them that Silas Crocker was also on the island. On a dive a few days later Nola found the maps Quint had been searching for! Though Helena swooped down and tried to seize them from Nola in an effort to gain praise from Quint. They struggled and in the mayhem, Helena’s oxygen tank was disconnected. Though Helena claimed that Nola had tried to steal the maps from her. Quint wanted no part of the cat fight and was stern with both women, but helped Helena who almost drowned from the disconnected oxygen tank. In a fit of anger and jealousy, Nola swam to shore, only to be abducted by a waiting Silas Crocker.
Silas had placed Nola into a volcano pit but Quinton rescued her, but just as he was helping her to safety, the volcano started to rumble, revealing the precious Temple of Gold that Quint had spent his entire adult life searching for. There was no time to explore the Temple, as the volcano was erupting, and they had to run for their lives. Assuming the temple was melted in the eruption, Quint was terribly disappointed, and Nola misread those emotions to be upset feelings directed at her. Nola went back to Springfield with a broken heart thinking that Quint no longer loved her, and decided she must move on with her life, and that included moving out of Thornway Road and back with her mother into the boarding house. Little did she know that Silas Crocker was stalking her.
When she went back to Thornway Road to collect all her belongings, Silas took the opportunity to abduct her again. This time he took her miles away to an abandoned, rat infested freighter ship. A devastated Quint and Nola’s brother, Tony, united to rescue Nola. Several weeks later Nola was found though she was sick and malnourished. While in the hospital, Quint could no longer be silent about his intense feelings for Nola and told her while she was “sleeping” just how much he loved her.
She heard every word, but did not let on, fearing her would stop the proclamations. Also Nola was relieved to find out that Floyd would drop the custody suit for her daughter. Nola got out of the hospital and after a meeting with the FBI decided to move back into Thornway Road and take her old job back.
The next drama was that of the “room on the third floor” of Thornway Road. Mrs. Renfield and Mr. McCord kept a secret room that eventually became the temporary room for Rebecca Cartwright. Quint had been engaged to Rebecca several years before when she was involved in a terrible accident and in usual Quint style, he believed he was responsible for her massive injuries. He cared for her and paid for all her surgeries which included extensive plastic surgery to restore her face and vocal cords. She would spend her final recovery time between the last procedures at Cedars Hospital in this secret room. Just when things seemed like they couldn’t get worse with the Rebecca situation, Quint finally proclaimed his love again to Nola, and they kissed.
Quint and Nola were finally an official couple, and Nola dropped calling him Mr. McCord. Nola also decided to change her child’s name to Anastasia Louise. This action was part of Nola’s maturation and redemption from villainess to romantic heroine, since she originally named the child for all the wrong reasons. Romance continued to blossom for Quinton and Nola even as Rebecca became more and more of a problem. Rebecca claimed Quint pushed her off the cliff all those years earlier, and Quint could not dispute the story as the trauma from the event caused him to block it out. Quint kept promising Nola to get Rebecca out of the house, so they could “start their future together”, and Rebecca kept blackmailing Quint to stay.
Rebecca’s deeds got more and more dastardly and more and more painful for Nola. First she pretended that she couldn’t speak when she could. Then she tried to make it appear that Quinton had slept with her, betraying his relationship with Nola. When Quint was finally going to make amends with Nola and tell her all his “secrets,” Rebecca caused a car accident which put him in the hospital. While hospitalized and believing Quinton could die, Mrs. Renfield finally revealed to Nola that Quinton was Henry Chamberlain’s long-lost, illegitimate son, Sean Ryan.
Quint recovered and was angry that Renfield broke their long standing trust, but then felt relieved that Nola knew and would protect his secret from Henry. He also planned a trip to the mythical Tanquir and unravel the mystery surrounding the death of Professor Renfield (his housekeeper’s husband). In his efforts to uncover the truth, he got trapped with his enemy Silas Crocker in the same cave where Prof. Renfield died, and in doing so discovered that, in fact, Silas was responsible for his mentor’s death.
Nola, knowing that Quint was in dire jeopardy, went to Henry Chamberlain and revealed the truth about Quint’s paternity, that Quint was Henry’s son, Sean Ryan. Henry used his contacts and wealth to rescue his son from the cave and capture the unscrupulous Tanquir “officials” that assisted Silas in his malicious plot. Both Silas and Quint’s friend Gunther died in the cave. Quint and Nola had a romantic reunion and took a transatlantic cruise back to the States. On that cruise, things became very heated with the couple, but after all her problems of the summer of 1981 and having a child out of wedlock, Nola decided that as much as she wanted to, she and Quint should wait to make love.
Before he could ask Nola to become his wife Quint first had to resolve the Rebecca Cartwright situation. Quint finally revealed to Nola the details about Rebecca’s accident, and that he could not remember his part in it. He also admitted that they had been engaged, and when he came back to her after a three month work related absence, he found out that she had gone off and married another man. He also revealed to Nola that Rebecca had been carrying his child when she fell, causing her to lose the child. After learning the truth, and proving Quint’s innocence Quint asked Nola to be his wife. On the rocky cliff, Nola joyously agreed.
In order for Nola to take the proper surname when they married, Quint legally changed his last name to Chamberlain. Henry and Vanessa threw them an elaborate Antebellum Costume Party in honor of their engagement. This of course didn’t go smoothly as Nola and Vanessa showed up in the same dress. Quint and Nola, after much debate and coaxing from Henry, decided to move out of their home on Thornway Road after they were married and in with Henry and Vanessa.
Quint and Nola married on June 24, 1983. However, that morning Nola missed the limousine and had to run to the church. and even hopped on a fire truck along the way. Immediately after the nuptials, Quint surprised his new bride with a ride in a hot air balloon.
The Chamberlains embarked on a romantic honeymoon to Ireland and then later Scotland. While on the honeymoon, the innkeeper where they were staying entangled them in the mystery of an old Irish legend of star crossed lovers. It turned out that Nola and Quint were more or less incarnations of these lovers named John Ryan and Nora Reardon. Quint and Nola recited their wedding vows at the altar of the church where these young lovers were to wed in 1883, and for the first time in 100 years the church bell rang and the lovers and Quint and Nola were united for eternity.
They returned to Springfield and got embroiled in the solving of the mystery of the fishing picture. In September 1983, Nola discovered that she was pregnant, much to the delight of her husband, Quint. When the mystery of the picture was solved, the Reardons found little solace in knowing that their father had not thoughtlessly leave them, but had been killed.
A few months later, it became a concern of Quint and Nola’s that their daughter Anastasia was not yet speaking. After taking her to some specialists, they realized that she had a hearing problem that could easily be corrected with surgery. Nola took Anastasia out of town for surgery and therapy. She came back with Anastasia just in time to attend Tony and Annabelle’s wedding as a very pregnant matron on honor. She gave birth two weeks early in the middle of the ceremony. They named the baby Anthony James Chamberlain (called AJ) in May 1984.
In early 1985, Nola started an exercise business with Annabelle that became quite successful, but then Quint was asked to go to Tanquir for an extended period of time to follow up on Prof Renfield’s work. Although Nola didn’t want to leave behind her new business, which was quite successful, Nola knew her life was with Quint. Quint and Nola packed up their family and left Springfield for Tanquir on April 25, 1985.
In 1993, the entire Reardon family returned to Springfield to attend Maureen’s funeral. Nola and Quint returned, but were never shown on camera.
The History Best Forgotten
In 1995, Nola returned alone to Springfield. The absence of Quint was explained away by a story of infidelity. A rapidly aged, teen AJ followed his mother in 1996. Quint returned, too, for his father’s funeral. It soon became clear to Quinton that he made a huge mistake and was still very much in love with Nola and wanted her back.
However this story was dropped for a story so awfully bad Lisa Brown wouldn’t return until 2009 for the final episodes.
After Quint left town without reuniting with his love, Nola came into more contact with fellow restaurateur, Frank Achilles “Buzz” Cooper. In August 1997, Buzz started receiving mysterious unsigned “gifts” including some flowers. Buzz began to be concerned that he was being stalked. As it turned out, Nola was the one who was sending the gifts, but originally Nola’s intentions on this were purely innocent and she meant it as a prank.
Near the end of September 1997, Nola decided to give Buzz one more “gift”, when Buzz complained with her around that the frame to a picture he had in the firehouse of him and Coop was falling apart. Nola decided to take the picture with the old frame and replace it with a new frame, and she had to break into the firehouse, twice, to do so.
Two days later, when Nola broke back into the firehouse to replace the picture with a new frame, she also moved one of Coop’s stuffed toy bunny’s and then lost an earring. Jenna was also slightly spooked because of the moving of the bunny and the picture being replaced and because for a brief time, Nola had to hide in the closet to not to be seen by her.
Buzz found the earring and gave it to Frank to find out who it belonged to. When Frank went to Company he questioned J, and J had to admit that the earring belonged to his mother. When J went to find his mother, Nola had left overhearing the whole conversation about the earring. In the first few days of October 1997, Nola hightailed it up to the Bauer cabin, and decided to try to hole up there until the earring mystery and Nola’s disappearance died down. Unfortunately, Buzz had his suspicions about Nola, but wasn’t angry with her and he too arrived shortly after Nola had started to chastise herself about the “gifts.”
A little later, Buzz and Nola found out that they were stuck at the Bauer cabin, when a bridge back to Springfield got washed out in a fall rainstorm. And then unfortunately, Buzz as he was getting firewood, fell down the stairs at the cabin and hit his head and suffered from amnesia where he didn’t know who Nola was or who he was!
The next couple of days, Nola tried her best to explain that Buzz wasn’t in love with her and the pain she had caused him, and also tried to explain his relationship with Jenna and Coop. Shortly after, Buzz was reunited with his family. When Buzz’s memory returned, Nola realized the mistakes she had made and asked Buzz and Jenna for their forgiveness. Surprisingly, Buzz and Jenna were not as angry as Nola thought they would be and both quickly forgave her.
Eventually an ashamed and character-beaten Nola left Springfield to presumably live near her daughter in California.
The Return of Lisa Brown
In 2009, Nola returned to town with Bridget to attend Vanessa’s wedding to Billy Lewis. Before going to the wedding, the pair stopped in at Company, which originally belonged to the Reardons before Nola sold it to the Coopers.
The audience was led to be believe that Quint and Nola had reunited since Nola came bearing a gift from Quint to Vanessa.