“The Diary of an Extraordinarily Ordinary Woman is a wonderful work of art: a rich, emotional, fascinating tapestry of family love and sorrow painted on the backdrop of American history and culture over seventy-five years.”
—Dennis Hall, Ph.D., Founder, Trauma Management International
“Reads like a Tennessee Williams play. I read quite a bit, but as I have aged, it usually takes me at least a week to read a novel, even good ones. This is the first in many years that I could not put down after I started, except for meals. It carries the reader from the wonderful times of the Fifties through all the years up till now. I can’t wait to read another from this wonderful writer.”
—Kent Patrick-Riley, Pianist and Horticulturist
“I had trouble putting this book down. An amazing story of the resilience of one woman in an extremely dysfunctional family.”
—Paulette Avery, Retired R.N.
April 13, 1962
Mommy has a boyfriend. I don’t think Daddy is going to like this. Mommy and Daddy used to go square-dancing together. Daddy hasn’t been dancing in a long time because he spends a lot of time at the place where he keeps his airplanes. Mommy still goes dancing, and this man brings her home and comes into the house. I’m supposed to be asleep, but I sneak out of bed and watch what’s going on because nobody tells me nothing. Last night they were sitting on the couch, kissing. Gross!
January 18, 1976
Boone tried to rape me. It was late at night, and he’d been drinking pretty heavily. He came into our room stark naked and got into bed with me. He started to pull at my pajama bottoms. He put his hand over my mouth and told me if I screamed, he’d kill me. All I could think of was Rachael asleep in the bed on the other side of the room. I prayed she wouldn’t wake up. I grabbed ahold of his dick and twisted as hard as I could. He grabbed my other hand and began to bend it backward. I grabbed his pinky finger and pulled it back until it snapped. He clamped a hand over his own mouth and ran from the room. Mother remained asleep. I checked on Rachael. She had not stirred. Thank God! I grabbed my brother’s Black Betsy baseball bat from under the bed and sat there huddled against the headboard until the sun came up. I heard Mom and Boone stirring and smelled coffee brewing. With Mom awake, I felt safe. I dressed quickly and went into the kitchen for coffee. Mother was in the shower. Boone was drinking coffee. He said, “Good morning. Did you get a good night’s sleep?” I was stunned at his nonchalance. Then he went on, “It’s nice having you live here with us. You’re sexy, and you turn me on. I want to fuck you. I’d take good care of your needs and satisfy you. I’ve never had a disappointed woman in bed with me. We’d have fun. We could all go camping and fishing together. But, of course, you couldn’t tell your mother because if you did, I’d have to kill you.”
November 10, 2011
We’re having an issue with Mom’s hearing aids. She doesn’t want to wear them. She says they’re annoying. As a result, when Deedee calls, we have to put the phone on speaker so Mom can hear, but Deedee yells at the caretaker or me, “Get off the fucking phone. This is a private conversation.” Then I try to explain to Miss Dump and Duck that Mother can’t hear if the phone isn’t on speaker and that I have other things to do, I don’t have time to sit and listen to their silly conversations, so it is private. Deedee wouldn’t hear me, though. She just kept screaming over my voice. So, I put the phone off speaker, gave it back to Mom and left the room. The next thing I know, Mom is calling me, “Please put the phone back on speaker because I can’t hear Deedee.” Deedee is still screaming “fuck this” and “fuck that” while Mother is now trying to tell her that she can’t hear if the phone isn’t on speaker and that I am not listening in on the call. By now I am certain that I am being filmed by some psycho reality TV show.
November 7, 2007
You’ll never believe all that has happened in the past few months. The first week in October, I was at Mom’s, reporting. I’d just arrived home from a particularly stressful day when Ken called. He’d been very attentive the past few weeks, calling me several times a day, asking where I was, what I was doing. What he said shook my world. He’d moved all my furniture—piano, clothing, jewelry, library, wine collection—into a storage unit in Texas and was sending me the keys via FedEx. I was stunned! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Shouldn’t we have discussed this? I could have moved myself if he’d just told me that’s what he wanted. I was furious! I caught the next plane back to Texas. He did pick me up, and I did stay at the house; it could have been worse. The next day I went to the storage unit and nearly threw up. All my beautiful things were crammed into a very small storage space. The hallway was so narrow that I don’t know how he and his friends had managed to move things in here. I felt violated, having these men go through my personal belongings: journals, jewelry, lingerie. There was no way I could sort through things in that hallway and get them moved back to California. He’d packed my checkbook, my computers, my clothing, my court reporting files, backup equipment, even my car keys. I couldn’t do without these things for the sixty days or so it would take to give my tenant notice and move back home. I was sick to my stomach and shaking at the realization of this atrocity. I sat on the cement in that hot hallway and cried.
I sorted through everything Ken had packed, trying to control my anguish and anger. He’d tossed $100,000 worth of jewelry haphazardly into boxes, packed lamps using cashmere sweaters as wrapping material. I was appalled! What causes someone to do something like this?
September 1, 2014
I had an appointment with my attorney today. She told me that I needed to hire a forensic financial person and that her ex-husband would be perfect. I nearly cried when she told me he wanted $7,000 up front, but she insisted this would be necessary when we went to court. We needed to show that there was no financial abuse. So, I sucked it up and ran up another credit card. While I was sitting there, she called her ex to make arrangements. They were chatting, when all of a sudden she threw the phone across the room and shoved all the files off her desk, scattering them everywhere. I was aghast! I began to pick up the files, and she screamed, “Leave them alone!” I sat back down quietly while she attempted to compose herself, but I was too shaken up to remain there. I said, “Oh, goodness, look at the time. I’d better scoot,” and quickly and quietly exited the office. Outside I called Darwin and said, “Meet me at Henry’s,” the nearest bar, where I downed two manhattans!
January 1, 2019
Leslie won’t sign the loan on the LA house over to me. The bitch! My attorney said he’d take care of it. He sent me copies of the settlement documents on the suit with the mortgage company and said it would be all right for me to sign Leslie’s name to give the loan to me. He said they told her she wasn’t a party to the lawsuit. She’ll never find out what became of the loan, so it doesn’t matter. My attorney is so smart.