There is a six page, hand-written letter my father wrote to me shortly after I got sober and was cleaning up the wreckage of my past. It is a response to a letter I wrote confronting him about his abuse. It is six pages of rationalizations and justifications about why what he did to me was not abuse but it does serve as proof that he did indeed abuse me, something his widow seems to believe could only have really happened had he gone to jail.
After the events of this weekend and the responses from my father’s Arizona family, I decided to send the letter to his widow in response to her comment along with my own.
I’ve not included his letter here for obvious reasons; the most obvious being that it is extremely triggering for surviving readers and just plain disturbing to others. If you are not interested, don’t follow the link to read more.
Dear Annie-Attached you will find “the proof”, in Duke’s own handwriting that you accused me of not being strong enough to send. I am far stronger than you think. To your credit, you did not hide behind an anonymous posting with a fake e-mail address, like your son nor did you use foul language and hurl insults like your daughter-in-law did. I had hoped not to have produce these papers until after your had mourned your loss or ever because they are unsettling and disturbing to most people reading them.Yet, I am compelled to do so now.
As I told you in the phone conversation we had, the laws and statutes in place at the time made it impossible to prosecute my father. Things are very different now than they were 35 years ago. It doesn’t matter that we couldn’t prosecute him now and it hasn’t mattered for many, many years. At least not since 1989 when he wrote a letter to me giving me all of his reasons why he believed that what he did to me was not sexual abuse or molestation or incest.
The fact of of the matter, Annie, is that he did force, me, his 7 year-old daughter to have oral sex and continued to do so until I was 14, stopping only when he left his marriage to my mother for another woman. The attached letter will prove my allegations are not lies. He also made it clear that the option was still available when I was 16 and again when I was 19 and living with him and his then girlfriend, Bobbi, in Rawlins, Wyoming.
I am not sure why you believe I said if he married you we’d never talk to him again. We hadn’t talked to him for over 10 years at that point. We found out he has remarried when he retired and claimed your son on his Social Security. My sister was still a minor at the time so my mother was notified. Perhaps you have confused us with the family he had created for himself in Rawlins before he met you. He wasn’t wrong when he said we didn’t want him around, he just did not tell you the truth about why.
As for the rest, none of us will ever know the real truth of George Owen Spencer. I’m not even sure he knew himself. If you work out the timeline, you will see he was never in any movies, he never owned a dinner theatre, he never drove an ambulance in Israel or was a weapons specialist with the Egyptian army or any of the other multitide of lies and mis-truths he told to re-create his life. Read the newspaper articles in your own local newspaper!
When we knew him, he was a unmotivated, sexually abusive, freeloading alcoholic who desperately wanted to be an actor. It was my mother who worked to support us throughout my childhood until my sister was born. In their 17-year marriage, my father worked 6 years and then left for another woman. There was no dinner theatre in Hollywood, no rubbing elbows with movie stars, no brushed with Hollywood bombshells. Had he needed to go to the Utah desert to be an extra in War Wagon, Hour of the Gun or any other film, my mother would have known about it. He was an ordinary man, not a mover and shaker in the film and theatre industry in Hollywood. He worked as delivery man for a local paper company for six years and did a few years of melodrama with a friend in a small restaurant in Long Beach, California. I know because I was in a few of those melodramas.
He may very well have turned over a new leaf but I don’t believe nor will I ever believe he did it to be a better person. He did it because it was convenient for him to do so. There was trouble behind him, lots of it so the best thing to do is keep your head down and hide in plain sight. People may well have loved my father. Outwardly, he was a very friendly and easygoing man, a fantastic storyteller, so it’s not hard to imagine that his family and community did love him.
As for your memorial service for my father, I was not there. I had no desire to go, no morbid curiosity strong enough to push me into witnessing such a thing. It was my sister and my mother who went. They did not want to introduce themselves in your time of grief though. My sister was thoughtful enough to leave a sympathy card behind. And as it was told to me, no one made a move to introduce themselves to them either. So who was it that had no guts?
For me, he is dead. He is something I was cursed with, something I lived through like a near-fatal, freak car wreck that could have left me dead. I am finally free of him and I’ll do something good with the tainted legacy he left me with. No one will stop me.
Crossposted @ www.krishanna.com