Spoiled Children of Divorce


Exemplary Children of Divorce – Michael Bowen

Was wondering if the current Occupy Wall Street phenomenon is a product of Children of Divorce.  Are most of those people from Divorce or from Intact families.  Sorry, had to ask, nobody else could care less.  And  I guess we’ll never know.

I read that it was initially created by 2 ad executive guys up in Canada with a poster of a ballerina dancing on a Bull.  Of course, there was already a desire set in motion by the overthrow of Dictators of the Middle East beginning with Egypt.  That’s all the information I care to research on that topic.

Since I’m probably too old to understand what’s going on out there I did begin to look up a couple of wiki articles about the Flower Child movement.  Interesting that so many of the Arab Dictators held power for about 40 years which means that they came into power right as the U.S. was giving its power up to the hippies.

Most of the Hippies were probably from Intact families just because they grew up in the “ideal homes” of the 50s and because they were rebelling against their boring, stable childhoods full of irritable people.  That’s just my take on things, of course, which may diverge from reality.  I think this because Children of Divorce don’t really need to question authority much. We probably weren’t raised by authoritarians (and that’s a good thing, especially if you don’t mind feeling a little unsafe).

What I did notice is that one of the initiators of the Flower Power movement was a painter named Michael Bowen.  Details of Bowen’s childhood on Wikipedia and other sites say that his father was a rich dentist in Beverly Hills.  So Bowen was from an affluent family.  Another stand out detail said that his Mother’s lover was a gangster who was responsible for bringing Bowen to San Francisco for the first time when he was a kid.

There is no mention of parental divorce in Michael Bowen’s biographies, but a biography on his Father’s obituary says that he had divorced Bowen’s Mother in 1944.  This means that Bowen would have been about 7 or 8 years old when his parent’s divorced.

Michael Bowen’s obituary also says that he died of complications from childhood polio.  There’s no mention of having been sick as a child in the biographies.  Children with serious illnesses and who are from divorce probably don’t want to attract much attention to their neediness because they know they won’t get their needs met if they become a burden.  At any rate, it looks as if the LSD fixed whatever ailed him.

Michael Bowen’s parents seem to have been some pretty wild characters so it makes sense that Bowen grew up to not only be an artist but also to have created the first gathering of the Flower Children in San Francisco.  His Father had worked for a gangster in Chicago before becoming a dentist.  When he moved to Los Angeles he met Bing Crosby and became the Dentist who started capping all the Movie Stars’ teeth.  He is said to have created “The Hollywood Smile.”

Michael Bowen’s Mother, Grace, dated the gangster, Benjamin Bugsy Siegel who built the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas.

So, this family was responsible for a whole lot of what the West Coast became famous for if any or all of this information is anywhere near accurate.

The first Love In or Be-In happened on Jan. 14, 1967.  It appears that Bowen made it through a good art school so perhaps he finished college.  I don’t know if he had siblings.  Bowen married 3 times and had two sons and two daughters.



Being a Guest In Your “Own Home(s)”
December 14, 2010, 6:20 pm
Filed under: creativity, Happiness, Healing, Health, Mentors, Religion

So, Child of D, you can’t get locked out of your parents’ houses because you learned how to pick the locks long ago.  Carrying around all those keys gets really tiring, after all.

But, Child of D, you feel strange.  They keep telling you they love you, but, for some reason, deep down, you know that they don’t love anyone all that much.  There’s no unconditional love in split homes.  Not really.  Just parents who are told by experts on TV that if they tell their children they love them they can go off and do their own thing.  And those dates they bring home?  Well, you gotta love it.

But, Child of D, what about yourself?  What about the Holidays?  How to deal with this month of overextended horrors of scheduling and hugging and hanging out with strangers who want to love you, they really do.  How do you protect your heart in this time?  Your heart is a very beautiful thing.  Well, hang out at your friends’ houses.  Or turn to books and great thinking.  Realize that what you are feeling in part is grief and grief is what teaches us to have great depth of understanding and empathy towards others.  I remember hearing an interview with Bill Clinton who was discussing how he got through having his last public affair exposed, the one with White House Intern Monica Lewitsky, he said that he spent a year going for counseling and searching for answers in books.  Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar who studied at Oxford, so not only did he have the best Western Education a person can have, but he was intelligent enough to understand what he was reading.  But, still one can seek answers through philosophy and religion and poetry and art.  That’s why we turn to these things.  I remember hearing the poet W.S. Merwin say that the first poem was about grief.

This wasn’t supposed to be babbly.  Of course, Bill was married to Hillary, and Hillary went to Yale which is the second best education in the Western World that one can have and so Hillary has more brains than most of us as well.  And Hillary decided to stick with Bill because, well, for one, they are rich and can afford to own two houses and probably only see each other at tax time, and also I remember hearing Hillary talk about the affair and say that she was aware that Bill had suffered much abuse during his childhood.  She understood how difficult this is to deal with as an adult.  When you read about Bills’ childhood you sort of get it that his childhood was really bad.  His Father was a womanizer as well.  He was on his 4th marriage at age 32 (or something like that) when he died in a car crash along with some other woman.

So, if this ramble doesn’t make you feel better about being a Child of D during the Holidays, assuming that you are unhappy, that’s certainly not a requirement, but if you’re happy you’re not going to be reading this blog because it’s focused more on the downers.

I found this awesome poem by Rumi called “The Guest House.” Translated by Coleman Barks.  It’s about how we need to treat all of our feelings, the good ones and the bad ones as guests within our beings.  We need to show them our best hospitality.  I think that’s what it means.  If not, correct me.  Thing is, if you study what you are feeling you can gain distance from it and learn from it.  (You don’t need to live in denial of it the way your Mommy’s shrink is, although that looks like a very lucrative business.)



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.



Kids Who Move Around A Lot

I’m trying to read what is considered a classic book on child rearing, the name of which I can’t really remember, something on Nurturing?  It’s written by a woman who says that kids will turn out the way they turn out whether they have good parenting or not.  It tests the Nature v. Nurture theories in order to let the parents off the hook.  Needless to say it’s been a bestseller.

The book is highly praised by Malcolm Gladwell and Stephen Pinker so it has to be good.  And it’s fun to read, the writer lists all kinds of interesting studies and has a strong voice/attitude.  And then I start to get hot-headed about the stupid Children of D comments.  Watching the dance around talking about growing up in a split household is so unbelievably unbelievable.  The writer, can’t remember her name, will get it at some point, talks about a lot of the same studies that Paul Ekman talked about in his book, but from the point of view of the modern woman who is free to do as she pleases in life in order to pursue her happiness.  She does discuss Divorce, about maybe 30 pages worth in a book that’s about 400 pages long.  In those pages there is the stupid argument about the study that says that kids who grow up in Divorce are more screwed up than the kids who suffer the death of a parent.  She, the writer, rebutts that idea saying  it would surely be a whole lot worse to have had a parent who died of AIDS than to have have divorced parents.  What is the ratio of kids who had a parent who died of AIDS to the kids who are growing up in Divorce?  I’ve never met someone whose parent died of AIDS so I really can’t say.  So, a lot of the arguments are unbelievably immature and silly. A kid from a divorced family whose parent dies of AIDS has to go through the whole process by himself without the support of a healthy family to share the experience with.  Now, there’s something to feel bad about.

The writer says these things sort of in the same obnoxious tone that I say stupid things so it doesn’t bother me all that much (but I will point out that they are stupid arguments).

What does bother me is that all the arguments about how Divorce isn’t a difficult situation for a kid to grow up are stuck in the Chapter on Dysfunctional Families.

For one, when you are growing up in Divorce you are not necessarily growing up in a dysfunctional family. You might be growing up in two dysfunctional families.  You might be growing up in two functional families but you are strangers with half of the members in each and don’t really feel like you belong anywhere.  It is highly likely that you are growing up in one normal family and one dysfunctional family, depending on which parent enters a 12 step program (or not, their preference).  And the members of the normal family will constantly discuss how abnormal the member of your dysfunctional family are, but they acknowledge that they can do nothing to help you with that problem which makes you totally hate functional people who are generally very self-involved and concerned about their own self-preservation.  And, anyway, the only people who really view themselves as being functional are the shrinks, of course, and we all know how far from reality that is.

So, at any rate, the writer of the book on nurturing, or how we don’t need nurturing, says that one of the real problems for children, the thing that really does cause stress for a child is moving around a lot.  It turns out that the writer’s family moved around a lot and she’s set up the entire tone of the book around her own experience and needs.  She doesn’t discuss packing suitcases or traveling on airplanes alone so I don’t know how much she really did move around as a child.  I mean, by some kids’ standards, she probably had a pretty stable environment.  I mean,  a lot can happen inside the silverware drawer in one parent’s house during the week that you are at the other parent’s house.

So, folks, there are studies out there that say that kids who move around a lot during childhood are more stressed out than kids who don’t move around a lot.  Does this sound like something that many kids from divorce go through?  Why can’t the writer and her buds make this mental leap?  How difficult is it really to connect the dots here?  I know, I know, talking about how divorce wrecks the kids is a marketer’s nightmare.

You know, it really doesn’t matter as long as the CDC refuses to add California to their Divorce Statistics.  How can you claim to have any statistics at all about Divorce in the U.S. if you don’t include the most populated state, the State where everyone moves to and divorces a year later in order to find themselves?  The housing in California is so expensive and tight that many kids from Divorce live in the closet in their Mothers’ apartments for the first two years after the divorce.  Is this cozy?  Why yes, it must be.  That’s why Mommy’s going to school to become a shrink.  So she can help others to not feel guilty about making their kids live in the closet too and then if everyone’s doing it it must be right.  Right?