Spoiled Children of Divorce


Exemplary Children of Divorce / Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia

The Black Dahlia murder keeps showing up in my internet play. When looking up James Elroy’s biography I didn’t read about the victim of this murder, Elizabeth Short. It turns out that Short was not really a Child of Divorce, but her parents were separated in a weird sort of way.

After going bankrupt in 1930 because of the Depression, Short’s Father faked his suicide so the family could receive insurance. Short was 6 years old. He moved from Massachusetts to California and rebuilt his life.

Short’s Mother moved her 5 daughters and took a job as a bookkeeper. Short moved to California to be with her Father when she was 19 but he threw her out of the house. Short partied and slept around and moved around a lot. She dated some servicemen during World War II but one, who she was set to marry, was killed.

Her murder is said to be a mystery to this day. She died when she was 22. This was very close to her 2d Jupiter Return which is interesting because she would have been under the influence of her first Jupiter opposition when her Father disappeared. This would explain her charm and her risk taking life style.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – James Ellroy
June 11, 2018, 11:47 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Don’t know why I found out about two crime novelists/Children of Divorce at the same time. Good things happen in pairs, I guess. Both novelists are centered in California.

Along with Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy, is another great classic who has written The Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential, and the awesome Child of Divorce/Murder My Dark Places. This last one is the result of working with a detective for 15 months on the cold case of his mother who was raped and murdered.

Like Chandler, Ellroy didn’t start writing until he was much older. He has suffered from Alcoholism, Depression, Drug Addiction, Homelessness and a Criminal Past.

There are many interviews on the Internet with Ellroy which I recommend. Here is one from the TV News show 60 Minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dI0rpNoSLwA.

I think Ellroy’s parents divorced when he was seven years old, but am not positive on that because for some reason I didn’t write it down. The parents were given split custody. James lived with his Mother, a nurse, during the week and with his Father on 3 week-ends a month. He preferred living with his Father. In My Dark Places, there is a really eerie description of how he felt nothing after his Mother’s death and was happy to be able to finally live with his Father. There are humorous and sad descriptions of typical parental alienation games between parents. His Father called his Mother a whore and his Mother called his Father something else. Can’t remember, but Ellroy couldn’t have become a good writer without these words, no doubt.

Didn’t know that there were previous divorce boom’s in California but apparently there were. California just sort of “booms” a lot with Gold, Real Estate, Movies, Immigration, Divorce. In addition to the 70’s divorce boom which blew the small town where I grew up there was one in the 1950s. According to the CDC there was also a boom in the 1920’s. “In 1956 my mother moved us from West Hollywood to Santa Monica. I enrolled in a cut-rate private school called Children’s Paradise. The place was a dump site for disturbed kids of divorce. “A flurry of single moms hit the gate at 5:10. I developed a yen for women in their late thirties.” (My Mother’s Killer by James Ellroy, gg.com, July 8, 2007). The town, El Monte, place of where Elroy was living with his Mom, was called “The City of Divorced Women.” (p. 25).

My Dark Places is mainly about Ellroy dealing with his complicated feelings for his Mother. Her murder led him to obsession with crime. Reading about crime and committing it. He apparently had an obsession with older women even before that which led to his first novel The Black Dahlia which is about an unsolved murder of a beautiful woman in L.A. just like his Mother.

I suppose the Child of Divorce part of the story comes from the complexity of feelings for his Mother as a result of the stress from the Divorce. It is just not recognized as a catalyst, so maybe it wasn’t.

Here is a nice tribute of his feelings for her which is posted at the beginning of the book. I think a lot of us can relate to us especially when dealing with the grief of our parents’ deaths:



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler is a 20th Century detective novel writer written in a “hard-boiled style.” Some of the titles were The Big Sleep, Farewell My Lovely, and The Long Good-Bye. One might expect that a writer would discuss his childhood a bit but in the book Raymond Chandler Speaking (Gardner and Walker, p.20) he gives two liners to each parent.

His father: “My father was a graduate of Penn, a civil engineer. Divorced when I was seven…Never saw my father again.”

His Mother: “My Mother soon after returned to England to live with her mother and manage the house, and of course I went with her.”

Chandler grew up in Chicago until he was 7 years old. His Father worked for the railroads and was drunk most of the time. Chandler wrote that he was “found drunk if he was found at all.” (Hiney, Tom. Raymond Chandler: A Biography, p. 4).

Chandler’s Mother was born in Ireland and they moved to Ireland to live with family after his Father disappeared for the last time. They had lost their house and were living in a hotel where the boy caught Scarlett Fever. Chandler’s Mother never talked about his Father again.

Chandler said that he had wished his Mother had remarried in London. “I know that my mother had affairs — she wa a very beautiful woman– and the only thing that I felt to be wrong was that she refused to marry again for fear a step-father would not treat me kindly, since my father was such a swine.” (Honey, Tom. Raymond Chandler: A Biography, p. 10)

Chandler had generous relatives and grew up in Britain. He and his Mother returned to the United States. He worked at several professions, getting fired for drinking himself. He didn’t write his first story until 1933 at Age 45. His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published when he was 51.

Chandler fell in love with the step-mother of a friend who was 18 years his senior. His Mother forbade the relationship so Chandler didn’t marry Cissy until after her death. When his wife died in 1954 Chandler attempted suicide.

Chandler died in 1959 of pneumonia which was brought on by alcoholism.



Trying to Get Help if a Parent Attempts Suicide
June 11, 2018, 9:50 pm
Filed under: Abandonment, Suicide, Uncategorized

This is a morbid topic but probably much more applicable to Children of Divorce than to Children from Intact Families. Divorcing parents can try to end things. In the last week two celebrities have committed suicide leaving behind children. The 13-year old daughter of fashion designer Kate Spade was at the beginning of her parents’ divorce process and the 11-year old daughter of Chef/Journalist Anthony Bourdain has been separated from her Father for awhile. I’m not listing names in order to respect their privacy and wish to send my condolences.

The Veterans Health Administration has published a page on their website devoted to providing information to children who are exposed to suicide within their families. https://www.mirecc.va.gov. Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention. It is nice that different age groups are addressed.



CDC Study of Divorce Rate in the U.S. 1896-1967
June 10, 2018, 9:48 pm
Filed under: Statistics

Here is a compilation of some divorce information taken by the CDC for the years 1896-1967.

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_21/sr21_024.pdf

Some of the earlier surveys asked how many children were affected but the answers are sketchy. At least they tried. Looks like the average divorcing couple had an average of 1.5-2.0 children.

It is interesting how Divorce rates have risen after Wars end. Divorce is War. Probably the Veteran’s come home with PTSD. Or Marriages were rushed before soldiers were deployed.

It looks like there were Divorce Booms in the 1920’s and the 1950’s. Not included would be the Divorce Boom in the 1970’s and 80’s.

California and some other state’s hasn’t contributed any data to the CDC’s records since the early 1980’s. This increases the stigma for growing up in Divorce a huge deal since obviously it’s not important. California rarely elects a politician to run the state who is from Divorce.



Mr. Rogers Versus Mandated Reporters

Mr. Rogers had a way of talking with little kids that comforted the parents. In Divorce this is essential for the health of the child. Parents of Divorce Children are very busy and preoccupied. They are doing the best they can, but it is essential that they talk with their children about the divorce and about their own behaviors while trying to encourage the child to speak about his/her feelings and observations.

While working around some children I couldn’t help but notice that they will start talking about their parents and the divorce almost immediately if given a chance. It sounded like a cry for help to me. But, I didn’t feel I had the right to get involved. Children want an adult to discuss this stuff with. In one case I happened to tell someone who was a mandated reporter about one of the children. I wasn’t aware of the mandated reporter thing. Without any discussion, the child was removed from the problem parents’ custody within a day or two. I don’t know whether this was already in the works and that I had nothing to do with any of it, but the child stopped talking to me. The child was also crying a lot and the custodial parent became fairly grumpy. It’s surprising to me that most children of divorce will openly discuss what is going on at home and, although they speak about it in simple terms, they sound very stressed out. I guess most adults will hear a child say “My Mother is sick. I don’t see my Father very much. My parents are getting a divorce” and still not understand that an adult going through 3 such stressors would be drinking, yelling, calling in sick to work, going to the shrink, medicating, and who knows what else. For some reason, when a child says this most people ignore it. Maybe they tell the child to hang tight while their parents get their act together. This, of course, can take five years.

That is why I recommend that parents watch Mr. Rogers’ episodes on dealing with divorce. His understanding is kind of stupid. He makes a big point out of assuring the child that he/she is not to blame for the parents’ split. That applies to only a percentage of children, not all. In some cases a parent leaves because he/she can’t handle children, or they can’t handle having children with the ex so they vanish from the life. And the child knows it. And internalizes it because it is taboo to talk about and nobody can do anything to help. It’s amazing how the Blame Thing is the only element that gets through to adults. Obviously it’s a projection which arises from the Divorce because Blame is a huge fighting factor in the courts. It spills over on to the kids either directly or indirectly through observation.

At any rate, it’s best for a parent to talk with one’s children directly unless one wants one’s children discussing their problems with Social Workers. If the parent tell their kids that they are not to blame one can expect that a step-parent will come along who will.

In the end, let’s face it. Things go on behind divorced walls that aren’t good parenting. When the child goes to school they compare themselves to the other kids who are living much simpler lives. Okay, so that’s another stressor in addition to switching parents/home twice a week, having to talk about friends and school twice, having to monitor parents’ feelings about what happened while with the other parent…

Okay, okay, so there is stuff that Mr. Rogers doesn’t talk about…Kids going through divorce need extra parenting, not less. Instead, they get extra parents, which can often lead to even more stress. Would be great if schools would allow a child to talk with an interested third party without fear of mandated reporting.



Mom’s Obit
June 8, 2018, 12:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

“Son who wrote viral revenge obituary about his mom explains why he did it”