Spoiled Children of Divorce

Exemplary Children of Divorce – Barbara Billingsly

Everyone knows that Beaver Cleaver’s Mom was a saccharin sweet dream of a mom who couldn’t possibly exist in real life.   She was always at home in the kitchen cheerfully cleaning and cooking while wearing legendary pearl necklace and high heels.  But, was the actress behind the Icon of Everyone’s Favorite TV Mom drawing from her own life or creating an idealistic vision of how Mom’s should act?

It’s really amazing how far from that life was the life of the actress who play June Cleaver on Leave It To Beaver.  Not only was Barbara Billingsly divorced with two sons of her own, but she was also a Child of Divorce herself.  She was also a Step-Mother. Billingsly’s real life had nothing to do with her famous TV character.

Barbara Billingsly was born Dec. 22, 1915 in Los Angeles, CA to a policeman and his first wife.  She had one older sister.  Billingsly’s parents divorced before her 4th Birthday according to Wikipedia.  Other sources say that they divorced when she was an infant.  Billingsly’s Father remarried.

As already stated, Billingsly had two sons of her own with her first husband.  She remarried two more times after that.  Her second husband passed away in 1956 a year before Leave It To Beaver debuted on TV.  Billingsly then married her third husband in 1959 and gained step-children through that marriage.

Leave It To Beaver aired  between 1957 and 1963 and is still playing in re-runs.

Billingsly passed away last week on October 16 (2010) at the age of 94.  I send my condolences to her friends and family and the entire TV viewing community.  That show was a classic.

The astrology of Billingsly’s chart is extremely interesting.  With regards to cycles, she was one of the few who not only made it to her Uranus Return, but she made it to her Pluto opposition.  In her case, both cyclic transits are significant.  Billingsly’s natal Uranus is in its own sign of Aquarius and in conjunction with her North Node (Destiny).  This aspect is unaspected by major aspect to the planets in her chart which means that it took on a life of its own.  Uranus/Aquarius is associated with Hopes and Wishes but also with Technology.  People who are comfortable with new technologies will often have a strong Uranian element in their chart.

Billingsly’s natal Sun was on the last degree of independent Sagittarius and was opposing Pluto 3 Cancer in her natal chart.  Astrology buffs will realize that she had recently gone through a major passage of Pluto over that degree.  While Pluto is often associated with Death it usually indicates a spiritual death of some kind, not a physical death unless the 4th house (end of life) and 12th House (chronic disease) are also involved.

Billingsly’s natal Moon, sign of the Mother, can’t be placed exactly because I don’t have a time of birth to draw up her chart with.  But it will definitely be in its own sign of Cancer.  It is possibly also in conjunction with natal Saturn in Cancer Rx which shows a difficult childhood and complicated parental role models.

Billingsly’s natal Mars is in Leo, sign of acting and drama.  It went retrograde by progression when she was around 10 years old so it remained in Leo for her entire life.  It stationed directly around 2003 or 2004. Since Mars is the sign which rules young boys it is interesting how Billingsly became typecast in her profession as the ideal Mother of two boys.

Billingsly’s portrayal of the ideal on screen female of her generation is also shown in her natal chart.  She has an opposition of Venus (women, arts) to Neptune (film, tv, idealism, the arts) in her chart.  Venus is in the sign of Capricorn which shows that she expresses her female side best through her career and by taking charge (not exactly the typical Mom, really).  Neptune is in the sign of Leo, sign of acting.  This combination can also show a marriage that is affected by alcoholism or addiction.

32 Year Old Woman Told She Was Abducted 26 Years Ago
October 14, 2010, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Melissa Reed of Incline Village, California was told by her Mother, Nancy Fiedler, that she had been abducted at age 6 during her parents’ bitter divorce proceedings.  Ms. Reed is now 32-years old and has believed that she was someone else for her entire life.  She was 6 years old during the divorce which occurred in New Jersey.  Apparently Reed was denied a Marriage License because she couldn’t provide proper identification.  I don’t know how she could have gone all this time without an ID but apparently it’s possible.  Sort of chokes me up that her Mother kept the secret until her daughter decided to get married herself.  What a mind torquing respect divorced parents continue to have for the institution of marriage.  The Mother had to turn herself in to the authorities and was thrown in jail.   Story here.

Exemplary Children of Divorce – Arthur and Irving Penn
October 2, 2010, 6:22 am
Filed under: Birth Order, creativity, Exemplary Children of Divorce, Uncategorized

This is a double whammy.  The Theater and Movie Director of the classic Bonnie and Clyde, Arthur Penn was a Child of Divorce.  He passed away this week and NPR’s Fresh Air show replayed an interview he did with Terri Gross where he discusses how his parents’ divorce affected him.   I love Terri Gross’ interviews but find it amazing how she let the ball drop when Penn was talking about the effect his parents’ divorce had on him.  I can never get used to this.  Penn literally paused and took a breath after mentioning the divorce.  It was clear that he would have liked to have discussed it but Gross didn’t respond at all and quickly moved on to another subject.  I’m pretty sure that if he had mentioned poverty, immigration, being a minority, being abused, or death, Gross would have probed further.

Arthur Penn passed away on September 28, 2010 at the age of 88.  It appears that he married once and had two children.


Article discusses Penn’s childhood.  Interesting the comments on shattered self identity which is at the center of the Joyce Carol Oates story I posted on last week.

Born in Philadelphia in 1922, Penn grew up during the Depression, spending his childhood divided between the city of his birth and, after his parents’ divorce in 1925, New York. The dislocation of Penn’s home life, coupled with the stigma of being a child of divorce, would have a profound and lasting effect on his psychological and emotional development. Moving among comedy, tragedy, realism, and absurdity (sometimes within the same story), his films address the traumas of childhood and adolescence through characters whose lack of self-evident identity is circumscribed by the impersonal social forces governing their lives.

Penn’s parents divorced in 1925 when Penn would have been about 3 years old.  He moved from Pennsylvania to New York with his Mother.  And then he moved back in with his Father and older brother, Irving, when he was around 11 or 12 years old.  Arthur’s older brother, Irving Penn, was the famous fashion photographer.  He was about 5 years older than Arthur so would have been around 8 years old when their parents divorce.  Irving lived with their Father so the sons had a separate childhood until Arthur moved back in with them.

Irving Penn was married once and had one child.

Here’s a link to his photographs as listed on Google.  Feast your eyes.

(Had to check.  I don’t believe that either Bonnie or Clyde was a Child of Divorce.  Whew, that’s a load off).

Discovery Health on Divorce Myths
October 1, 2010, 7:27 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

This is a little interactive article about debunking Divorce Myths from Discovery Health.  It’s written by David Propenoe.

4 of the myths actually discuss the children — go figure.  There’s talk from (I’m assuming, no footnotes) Elizabeth Marquardt’s study about how only kids from very high conflict marriages benefit from divorce.  Kids in step-families usually have improvement in financial status but the relationships bring so much stress that step-families are considered as stressful as single parent households.  The Long term effects of growing up in divorce are often worse than the short term effects.  And kids from divorce have a higher divorce rate in their own lives (just don’t plan on having children during the first marriage and this won’t be a problem).

On one hand, womens’ living standards drop by 27 percent while on the other hand mens’ living standards improve by 10 percent.  The kids usually live with the Mother so they become the lead weight in Mommy’s life, along with the fact that she’s a female, of course, she is under payed at work, and all of her friends are dumping her because they don’t want her to steal their husbands.