IN DECEMBER OF 1972, my daughter had just turned five, and her twin brothers were four. The long and embittered divorce proceedings were finally ending for Bill and me. My now ex-husband contested my half-interest in all our assets, stating that I had not worked outside the home and therefore deserved nothing. The role of mother or housewife didn’t represent anything of value in his mind. He was enraged by the eventual fifty/fifty financial split. A few days after the divorce was granted, he came to my apartment brandishing a gun. He pointed the gun right at my head and said, “I’ll be keeping my eye on you, and you best understand that I have absolutely no qualms about using this.” I was too fearful to tell the police or anyone else—not the first time I buckled to the pressure of a threat or harm.
The day after his threat he promptly departed for sunny California for an eight-month period to live with his friends Christopher and Lynda Day George.
Lynda and I met when we were nineteen. Our husbands went to college together, and had worked together on several “want-to-be” films. Whether it was our innate shyness, our lack of self-esteem, or our then-narcissistic partners, we bonded immediately. Perhaps it was our yet-undisclosed backgrounds of poverty and abuse that created a kind of familiarity that fostered our attachment. We had both had multiple fathers, alcoholism, abuse, knock-down drag-out family fights, little money or food, and pressure from our mothers for financial support while we were still in high school. Some would call our growing-up lifestyle hard times; others would call it trailer-trash.