Spoiled Children of Divorce


Exemplary Children of Divorce – Celebrities Named “Tom”
June 4, 2009, 9:08 pm
Filed under: Abandonment, Alcoholism

In my late 20s when I was dating around in desperation, looking for the perfect guy, I remember coming to the conclusion that you can’t go wrong with a guy named “Tom.”  I don’t know why that is.  The ones I met just seemed to be so much more nicer than the guys I dated, the Johns, the Harry’s, the I don’t even remember that guy’s name guy.  I would look in distant admiration at parties at the girl’s who dated the guys named Tom.  Their futures just seemed secure already.  Is there some kind of subliminal indicator in a name that suggests “In Tom We Trust?”

I’m trying to avoid talking about celebrities too much here in the Exemplaries Section because Success in Entertainment seems to be an unrealistic ambition for most of us to pursue.  Hollywood is full of Children of D.  Entertainment is probably the most realistic ambition for children of D since they can focus on Career over Family at an early age.  And it provides an escape and a creative outlet. Even so, I can’t help myself.  These Toms, they are an exemplary set of guys.

I was utterly delighted to find that the 3 Toms I could immediately think of are all Children of D.

What set off this little fantasy memory is the review I read last week-end about a biography of the singer/musician Tom Waits (sorry, can’t remember which newspaper).  Tom Waits doesn’t really seem like the ideal date guy, I sort of attribute his stability to his wife who must be an angel, but he apparently has an extremely long marriage to one person who he attributes much of his sobriety and even his success to.

According to the review (which I can’t link to, sorry, but look at Wikipedia and google around for his book) Tom Waits’ Father left his family in 1960 when Waits was 10 years old.  His Father was music loving and stayed up all night and was alcoholic.  Waits’ entire career is based on projecting this persona.  Wonder if he would have become a success if his Father had remained at home.  In many cases a kid is probably saved by Divorce from too much exposure to the “Fun” parent.

After the Divorce, Waits lived with his Mother in Southern California.  The family first lived in Whittier (Los Angeles county) and then moved South to National City in San Diego County.  I don’t know what National City is like now but in the 60s it was basically a town full of Tom Waits look-a-likes.  It wasn’t really a garden spot where you would want to raise your kids.  Waits dropped out of high school and began his musical career.

Waits has been married to his wife Kathleen, since 1980.  They have 3 Children.

Check out the lyrics from his song “Children’s Story” from the album Orphans:  Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards. It’s a riot.  Actually it reminds me of an old Irish song my Mother used to sing to me during my asthma attacks that went something like “Oh, I never had a Mommy.  No one to rock me to sleep.  I never had a Mommy….” can’t remember the rest of lyrics, no wonder.

Next Tom I looked at was actor Tom Hanks.  Hanks’ parents also divorced in 1960.  Hanks would have been around Age 4 or 5.  Hanks and his 2 oldest siblings lived with their Father, an electrical engineer.  Hanks’ youngest brother lived with their Mother.  Both parents remarried.  Hanks Father remarried twice after that so Hanks lived with 2 step-mothers.  On the Wikipedia site he says that everyone liked each other.  He also mentions something to the effect that he didn’t feel like he belonged.  Tom Hanks is married to his second wife, Rita, and has 4 children, a daughter and son from his first marriage and 2 sons from his second marriage.

Next Tom I looked at was Tom Cruise.  Cruise’s Mother left his Father when Cruise was 12 years old.  Cruise and his sister lived with their Mother in poverty until his Mother remarried.  Cruise has a bad relationship with his Father who he says was abusive.  It seems that his relationship with his Step-Father is positive as Cruise took his step-father’s name.  Tom Cruise is on his 3d marriage and has 3 children, 2 with actress Nicole Kidman and 1 with current wife Katie Holmes.

Of these 3, I think that Tom Waits was the only High School Drop Out.  I think that none graduated from College, as much because they were following careers rather than failing at something.

As regards Religious preference, Tom Cruise is a follower of Scientology.  Tom Hanks followed several Religious affiliations through his childhood and became a Roman Catholic when he married his wife Rita.  Tom Waits on his religious upbringing:

“What was it like growing up? Did you have a strict religious background? TW: “Yeah. Had to go to church every Sunday. Wore a tie that cut off the circulation to my head. Then I discovered donuts, cigarettes and coffee when I was fourteen, and that was it for church. My mom said, “Don’t forget that there’s nothing the devil hates more than a singing Christian.” (Source: “What Do You Say To Tom Waits?” The Village Noize, by Bill Dolan. Date: Issue 14, 1993)


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