Lucy Wyatt: A TurtleTrader Trained by Richard Dennis

Excerpt taken from The Complete TurtleTrader by Michael Covel:

For years, people who were aware of the Turtle story have assumed that there was only one female Turtle, Liz Cheval. But it turns out that there were two. Wyatt was a friend of William Eckhardt’s. Jim DiMaria noted: “While the rest of us were like Turtles and that’s what we were and that’s what we did, she would kind of come and go. She did actually have a desk . . . in the room. I guess maybe that’s the Turtle barometer . . . you have a desk in that room.” Off the record, several Turtles who’d been hired through the screening process commented that having Dennis employees and friends in the room trading as Turtles caused strife. One said, “The regular Turtles, so to speak, wondered how in the hell were they ever picked for this program. The ones not picked via a screening process just didn’t have the mental horsepower for it.”

All one Turtle could remember about Wyatt was that she was always doing her nails. Mike Cavallo said that Wyatt had been Eckhardt’s girlfriend. He noted, “She was in the room with us. So of the people, if you were going to say who was a Turtle and who wasn’t, she would have been considered to be the least likely to be called a Turtle.” Did Wyatt trade? Apparently yes.

Many people who hear the Turtle story make excuses for why they could never fit in. Wyatt made it clear that anyone could have fit in with the Turtles.

While there was no opportunity to interview Lucy Wyatt Mattinen before my book was released, she came calling once it was out. She was incensed that she was described in the book as “doing her nails” by another Turtle (in another article I used the term “manicurist”—which was false). She vehemently denied the descriptions of her. After some time we both decided to sit down for an in-person interview on April 12, 2008—an interview that quickly added more to the genesis for the Turtle experiment and established perhaps how important Wyatt was to the creation of the Turtles. La Mere Vipere, often called the world’s first punk dance club, opened in Chicago on Halsted Street in 1977. It subsequently burned down in 1978. The La Mere Vipere bar was where Lucy Wyatt met Richard Dennis’s brother Tom Dennis (also a trader). There is a very good chance the Turtle experiment would never have happened if not for that chance encounter between Lucy Wyatt and Tom Dennis (and that chance encounter surely included the Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten belting out at least once that night “God Save the Queen”).

It turns out that after becoming friends with Tom and Richard Dennis, Wyatt subsequently met Dennis’s childhood friend William Eckhardt. Eckhardt and Wyatt then dated off and on, but before the Turtle experiment had officially commenced, Eckhardt taught Wyatt trading and she subsequently made hundreds of thousands of dollars in the early 1980s when she was only a few years removed from her teens. Wyatt told me that Eckhardt had needled Dennis that her success was due to a “woman’s intuition.” Dennis of course never bought the intuition argument—the fundamental reason for his launching the Turtle experiment. Within a few years the Turtles were picked and Wyatt joined the Turtles in the Turtle room as an original Turtle.

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