De­s­pair­ing let­ter that asked: Where did it all go wrong?

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IN 2003, in Sur­rey, rum­mag­ing through an old box of papers af­ter the death of my pa­ter­nal Grandma Grace, I found a hastily scrawled let­ter in my mother’s hand, dated Fe­bru­ary 13, 1970. It was ad­dressed to my fa­ther: The cup­boards are bare and the pain be­comes more in­tense… I’m des­o­late and de­stroyed – see­ing the clos­ets and shelves bare of your clothes I be­gin to re­alise, per­haps for the first time, that our mar­riage has ended.

What the f*** hap­pened to us?? Cer­tainly I loved you ter­ri­bly – and I’m not one to love lightly – I was al­ways hop­ing for some­thing more, al­ways ex­pect­ing that one day you would start en­joy­ing me more and en­joy­ing life more. You didn’t.

It be­gan to wither and die – grad­u­ally… I guess it started about 1967 – just be­tween Dolit­tle and Heirony­mus. I changed from a girl to a woman – I’ll never change back – I’m a s****y writer… I did try – really really – but it was a los­ing bat­tle.

It’s like cry­ing on some­one’s grave – it’s gone gone gone gone – you and me – Tony and Joan. Fi­nis.

It’s such a waste and I’m so sad. You’ll never know how sad, mis­er­able, bereft I felt com­ing to the end of our mar­riage. You think I’m cold or don’t care – I did and I do – but it’s too late isn’t it? Too many girls, too many lies, too many nights spent with­out each other.

Are you happy in your new house? Are you happy with the ‘Con­nies’ and ‘Deb­bies’ and ‘Sandys’ and ‘Sh­eryls’??

Were they worth it?? Were they??? Tony, only you can know.

I’m not be­ing re­crim­i­na­tory, just search­ing my soul – but my eyes are full of tears – 3AM Bev­erly Hills.

BE­FORE THE SPLIT: Joan and hus­band An­thony in 1965

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