Spoiled Children of Divorce


U.S. Census Data on Child Support

The U.S. Census does extensive work to track what kinds of financial support children receive from separated parents. It looks like the latest tabulated results are from 2015. Can’t say I can interpret them very easily but appreciate reading all the different categories. I think that non-custodial parents spend as much on gifts as they do on food. And, either way, that might not be much.

I remember the check coming sometime in the middle of the month. I remember being called Child #2 and my older brother was called Child #1. I remember the bartering over who will get the tax deductions this year. I remember being left alone in the house with boxes of cereal and gallons of ice cream to eat. I remember eating from my Mother’s doggie bags from her dates. I remember my Step-Mother bragging about how decadent the restaurant was that she and my Father had recently eaten at. I remember my Step-Sister ordering the Lobster to screw my Father out of his money.

https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2015/demo/families/p60-262-tables.html



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Ludwig Bemelmans

Wonder if there is a correlation between Children of Divorce and Children’s book writers. Just found a great article on Artsy.com about the writer of the Madeleine books, Ludwig Bemelmans. And, I’ve also read that the writer of “The Lonely Doll” books and Edward Gorey were children of divorce. I remember reading about Madeleine’s appendicitis when I was a child.

According to the article, Bemelmans had a very emotionally difficult childhood. He was born in Italy in 1898 and his Father ran off with a mistress in 1904. Daddy left both his wife and Bemelmans Nanny pregnant. The Nanny committed suicide and Bemelmans moved to Germany with his Mother because that’s where her family was. That is a huge amount of loss all at one time, including one’s innocence about how the world works. I’d like to say that back then no one would have paid attention to how a child feels about such situations but, in reality, they still don’t.

When he was 16, Bemelmans moved to New York City and worked in Hotels. His parents had run a hotel before his Father left. It’s interesting that Bemelmans never actually lived in France where the Madeleine books take place. He based his story on postcards which his Nanny had shared with him. Evenutally a co-worker saw his sketches and suggested he become a illustrator. His first children’s book was published in 1934 and Madeleine won a Caldecott medal in 1940.

Bemelmans married twice and had children from both marriages.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Gavin Newsom

For the first time ever, California the Divorce State extraordinaire, has put its money where its mouth is and elected leaders who are Children of Divorce. This is all within the last year. The Divorce State, which chooses not to share its divorce statistics with the CDC, has chronically avoided electing its progenies. What happens to all of those children of all those messed up people who are going through divorce and why don’t we ever hear​ about them?

Now suddenly we have Senator Kamala Harris and Governor Gavin Newsom. I posted about Harris before so will quickly look at Newsom’s biography. Newsom was born in San Francisco in 1967. That’s the Summer of Love. Don’t know if his parents were hippies. His Father was a lawyer and Justice so probably not. Newsom’s parents separated when he was 2 years old and divorced in 1972 when he would have been around 5 years old. He moved to Marin County with his Mother and Sister. I would have thought that he grew up wealthy but apparently just the opposite. His Mother had to work at 3 jobs to support their family. In spite of that,​ she took in Foster Children. Newsom’s Father apparently gave away all his money. He was a part-time lawyer in Truckee, CA who also worked at working-class​ jobs. Newsom would see his Father every few months when his Father would take him to political events​. Some good old divorced Daddy parenting here? Newsom struggled​ with dyslexia. It sounds like he bounced around in schools quite a bit. Okay, so it looks like Newsom’s ACE score might be a little high and he ended up as Mayor of San Francisco and is now Governor of California.

In High School Newsom worked at many janitorial jobs. He graduated from Santa Clara University with a major in Political Science. He attended on a partial baseball scholarship. He started a winery business which was funded by Gordon Getty. His Father was a lawyer for Getty. So Newsom has had good social connections. I’m sorry to sound catty about that but it’s important to analyze the situation. I mean, he’s a cool Dude, but California’s got lots of cool dudes. Newsom discusses his childhood here in a very interesting interview where he talks about things you do to connect with a divorced parent. https://www.kqed.org/news/11696701/gavin-newsom-on-his-childhood-personal-growth-and-teenage-wine-cellar.
Newsom has been married twice. He currently has four children with his wife Jennifer Siebel. His Mother passed away early on. She never knew his kids. His Father is still alive and struggles with dementia.

Best part is Newsom is putting extra efforts into supporting Children with Traumatic childhood pasts according to this article.



Sarah Colonna and Father’s Day Cards

Just heard comedian Sarah Colonna’s special called I Can’t Feel My Legs on Amazon Prime. Hope it’s ok to quote or paraphrase a part of her skit. I can’t write that fast and can’t read some of it. Awesome that the audience claps when she cracks a joke about having 2 dads. It might be safe to assume that she is a Child of Divorce but can’t say for sure. You don’t hear very many jokes about extended family stuff. A long time ago I was at a Comedy night and the comedian took a poll of the audience looking for Children of Divorce to see if it was worth it to crack Divorce jokes. He decided against. Only one girl raised her hand.

“I hate single grocery shopping because I’m not home a lot. I’m not in town a lot so I only buy a quick few things when I’m out at the grocery store.

I guess I need to make a list. Because if you make a list then you can look at what all your items altogether might look like to someone else when they’re in the basket.

Here’s an example. I was grocery shopping this (unknown word, can’t read my writing) in June which will make sense in a second. I was grocery shopping and had everything on the conveyor belt and there were two guys, early 30s and they were staring at me. ‘Oh here we go. Can’t even go to the grocery store anymore.’ I was bending over. Then I realize they’re not looking at me. They’re looking at the conveyor belt.

And that’s when I became painfully aware of what was on there. I had 2 bottles of vodka, you know, with the handle, the kind with the handle, tampons, skittles. I was hungry. And two Father’s Day cards (laughter & clapping). It’s like, O My God! Look at that girl with her period, her drinking problem, and all those Dads!!!”



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Jeff Bezos

Another member of Time Magazine’s list of exceptional people: Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com fame.

Bezos was born as Jeffrey Preston Jorgenson on January 12,1964 in Albuquerque, NM. His Mother was sixteen. Both parents were still in High School and eloped to Mexico in order to get married when his Mother became pregnant. His Father owned a bike shop and maybe had a problem with alcohol. Mom filed for divorce in June 1965 and the divorce was final when Bezos was 17 months old (depending on which source you read. Also look at USAToday article). According to the USAToday article Bezos’ Father dropped out of his life soon after Bezos’ Mother remarried. His Father relinquished parenthood so Bezos’ stepfather could adopt him. Bezos took on his step-/adopted Father’s last name. His bio Father didn’t even know who Bezos was until 2012. He still owns Bike Shops.

His Step-Father/Adopted Father, Miguel “Mike” Bezos, is an immigrant from Cuba. He worked as an Engineer for Exxon. Jeff would spend some of his summers on his grandfather’s ranch in Texas.

Bezos has a younger brother, Mark. He was educated in Montessori schools.

Bezos entered Princeton early when he got a degree in something technical. (sorry, too lazy to look it up). He married a colleague in 1993 at age 29. The couple have 3 boys and a daughter who was adopted from China.

Amazon.com was started in 1994 and funded by parents. Bezos is now considered the Richest Man in the World.

Interesting coincidences with Elon Musk. Bezos is working on a spaceflight business in Texas called Blue Origin. He has loved spaceflight since he was 5. I think I read he is an avid StarWars fan. Like Musk he is known to have some emotional problems which the employees call going “Nutters.”

Bezos is a not known as a great employer. Amazon has one of the highest turn around rates of large companies.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Elon Musk

The numbers of Children of Divorce who are included on Time Magazine’s 100 People of the Year Lists has gone up. I forgot the exact count, maybe 11 to 13. Plus about 5 more people who grew up in a single parent family where the parents never married. I couldn’t find out information on about 20 of the people on the list so I’m not taking these numbers too seriously. What I’m really happy about is the quality of the Children of Divorce on this list because many included are probably not really very impressive leaders in my opinion.

Elon Musk is one of the super impressive ones. Musk is a visionary who takes big risks like creating car company Tesla and turning space travel into a tourist industry. He must have watched a lot of “The Jetsons” when he was a kid. Actually I think he was busy doing other stuff. According to Wikipedia Musk read a lot. Became interested in computing at at 10. That’s just a year after his parents’ divorce so maybe have a lot of time to himself contributed to this. Must taught himself programming at Age 12.

According to this article from BusinessInsider, Musk describes his childhood as “excruciating.” He grew up in South Africa. His Mother was a Model from Canada and his Father was an Electromechanical engineer. His parents divorced in 1980 so Musk would have been around 9 at that time. After two years he lived exclusively with his Father. He says that this was a mistake and that his Father was emotionally abusive. They are currently estranged. According to People Magazine Musk’s Father had a child with his step-daughter who is, of course, his step-daughter, but is also 40 years younger. His Father calls Elon a spoiled child…..ah, hahahahahahahahahaha. How appropriate for a Child of Divorce. What a lovely man, and how many of these idiots are out there?

Musk’s Mother is the covergirl of a company. She talks about how she created the entrepreneurial spirit in her children in this Businessinsider article.

Musk is the oldest of 3 children in his first family, a brother and sister. He also has a half-brother and half-sister.

Musk was also deeply affected by bullying at school. During one episode he had to be hospitalized. He was knocked unconscious when some boys threw him down a concrete stairwell.

The Month that Musk turned 18 he got out of dodge and moved to Canada where he was able to get a passport because his Mother was Canadian. He finished two Bachelors degrees in Physics and Economics and then moved to California to get a Ph.d at Stanford. But dropped out after 2 days in order to start businesses. He partnered with his brother for his first business (funded at least in part by hs Mother) and has since started a series of successful companies such as PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX, the space rocket company.

According to Wikipedia Musk has been married and divorced three times, but the last two were to the same woman. He had 6 children with his first wife, but the first baby died of SIDs after 10 weeks.

According to this article in SiliconBeat someone got onto Musk’s Twitter account and asked him if he is Bipolar so he may have some issues. Musk answered “yeah” but qualifies that as not clinical.



Exemplary Children of Divorce – Carol Knuth

Just watched this video of ex-Foster Child, Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking Victim Carol Knuth describing her childhood. I’m feeling a little queasy. I had no idea that a huge portion of trafficking victims grow up in Foster Homes but I guess it makes sense. Like everyone else I thought this is something that immigrants go through.

People like Carol are coming out to try to educate the rest of us about the Foster Care System along with Trafficking and Sexual Assault. Her survival is totaling amazing. She has since married, had children, has received two degrees, and has held powerful jobs.

The complaint about growing up as a “Child of Divorce” seems to be overpowered by the rest of the story but I feel that it might be the seed. Knuth’s parents divorced when she was two. She was the youngest of three girls who her Father sexually assaulted. He had told his daughters that their Mother had died. He remarried and divorced her Step-Mother when Carol was around 6th grade. Sorry I didn’t write very good notes so can’t provide the exact age. Carol and her sisters went to their first Foster home when she was three. When she was in her early teens she had to testify that her Father molested her. His daughters were taken away from him but he was never charged with any crime. Carol bounced in and out of around 21 homes. At one point her Foster Mother was dating her Father. The lack of concern for her feelings is such a major theme in her childhood. She tells the story so stoically. There seems to have been no end to the amount that people would not stand up for Carol until she was a working adult. Knuth tells how a co-worker assaulted her while they were in the break room. She just figured “same old, same old” and went back to her seat. But, this time another male co-worker had seen the assault and reported it. The offender was fired. This seems to be the first time in her life that anyone stood up for her.

Wow. That’s all I can say right now. She looks so straight. I would never have known from looking at her that she could be a survivor of this type of history.