you aren't familiar with what Joan Crawford did to her children in her
will, here's a brief synopsis: After bullying and abusing her kids for
years, Joan Crawford left nothing to 2 of her adopted children "for
reasons well known to them".
I am documenting my last few days this way so I can share this journey with other people who have an interest and in the hopes that people who may find themselves in similar circumstances will find something they can use in this series of posts.
So picking up from my last post, I got a phone call from my father's widow no long after I spoke with her pastor about adding us to the memorial service bulletin.
Annie: Hello. This is Annie.
Me: Hi, Annie.
Annie: I'm calling about Duke's memorial service. You wanted to be acknowledged on the bulletin?
Me: Yes, I would and so would his 3 other daughters. He had 17 years with my mother before he met you.
Annie: I know he did and he 22 years here with me and his family and friends. he loved and cared for! Well, the church isn't going to include any survivors on the bulletin. You weren't included because Duke didn't want you acknowledged in any way. So, even though it is against his wishes, there will be no survivors listed on the bulletin. I'm sure he sees what's going on and will forgive me.
Me: Why didn't he want us included? What about the obituary?
Annie: You never visited, you never called, you never even bothered to send a Christmas card. He said that since you guys didn't want to have anything to do with him, you didn't deserve to acknowledged as his kids.You weren't listed in the obituary because he didn't want you listed. He only wanted his wife and son in the obituary.
Me: We had very good reasons not want to have anything to with him. We can't just be erased.
Annie: Like what? He was your father.
Me: Well, he sexually abused me for one and…
Annie: That was never proven! I have the documents to prove it!
Me: It was proven…
Annie: No, it wasn't. The records from the department of child welfare say it wasn't proven.
Me: It was proven, Annie. The doctors proved it. He wasn't convicted because he never wanted to go to trial about it. I KNOW what happened to me, Annie. Just because law enforcement couldn't PROVE it doesn't mean it didn't happen. The laws in California at the time stated that *I* had to remember a specific date and a specific time in order to prosecute him. It happened so often, could not remember one specific date or time. Furthermore, I have letter he wrote to me calling what he did "sex play". Why WOULD I want to keep in contact with him, let alone visit the guy?
Annie: Do you still have the letter?
Me: Of course I do. I'll share it with you if you like.
Annie: Well what about Daughter #4? He told me he wrote, sent cards and sent presents but he never got anything back so he quit sending things.
Me: He never sent ANYTHING to my sister…no letters, not cards, not child support, not anything…ever.
Annie: Well he said he did. And what about the house your mom got in the divorce? he said he was buying a house when your parents split up and the court gave your mom the house.
Me: What house? There was no house. They looked at buying a house before my sister was born but decided it was too expensive. We've rented my entire life. When my parents divorced he was living with another woman; the woman he left his family for.
Annie: Oh my god. But he said…
Me: I know what he said, Annie. He lied to you. I am so sorry to have to to tell you this but he lied to you. It was not my intention to upset you further or have this conversation today when you are grieving the loss of your husband but his other kids should be acknowledged.
Annie: Oh, I'm already upset. I've been upset since he's been gone.
Me: I'm sure you are and I'm sorry for that. It was not my intention to cause you more grief; however Duke Spencer had a past and we are a part of it.
Annie: What about Daughters #1 and #2? Where did they come from? Are they older than you?
Me: His first wife, D. He was very young when he married her. Yes, they are older than me and they have children and grandchildren. Daughter #4 just found them 2 years ago. You're his 6th wife.
Annie: I knew he other wives just not how many. I figured I was his 4th or 5th wife. So, you mean I have 4 step-grandchildren and 2 step-great-grandchildren?
Me: If you want to look at it that way, yes.
Annie: Well, can I call you again? I'd like to talk with you some more. I need to go now.
Me: Sure. Get through the service, wait till things calm down and call me when you're ready. I have nothing against you and no reason to dislike you. Take care of you.
Annie: Okay. I'll talk with you again.
And that was it. I was absolutely enraged by the time I got off the phone with her. Not at her but at him. He had once again ruined someone's life with his lies and and half-truths. Someone with whom he constructed a life with by fabricating his life history. Anything that was uncomfortable or unseemly he simply omitted. If he couldn't omit it, he changed it by telling half the truth and filling in the rest with lies.