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