"Tuesday, Jan 29, 1974..." Ted
was fifty eight, living with Genevieve. He wrote... "Awoke in a state
of semi everything - semi paralysis, semi constipation and told myself I have
to develop a cascading flood of language again for the script.
session dealt with my constipation and depression and script problems, going back
and forth. Important that I associated my depressed feelings thinking of Kate
and money with the time my mother forced me to quit high school and go to work.
I developed a new depression at that time and it is this depression that has stayed
with me, or comes back to me, giving me the feeling of hopelessness and of feeling
is this thing I've done with Kate. I have made her up. She is a combination of
Pa and Ma to me. Her depressions are Pa. Her money attitudes Ma. I associate Kate
with villains I can't laugh at.
out I don't know Kate's and Sydney's weaknesses, so I don't know how to laugh
at them. Then we went on to discuss a much more interesting subject. Me.
am a bully. So I bullied Kate. So I made her go along with my attitude to money.
Money should look after itself. I am a lender and a borrower. ...
danger in this script (1) is the mixing of
Mama and Kate and Mama and Rose. Which is what Claire wondered about: if it gets
too mixed up.
feel about money as I do about politics. I argue. Kate, Sydney, Kate, Pa, money.
Notice I repeated Kate twice, the darling.
am back to the memory of Mama. "Memories of Mama." Not a bad title.
One memory is her making me quit school and I developed psoriasis. Wait. I developed
psoriasis when I started working late at night for the drug store. I quit school
later. Mama made me work so that I was exhausted from lack of sleep every day
and the teacher remarked on it and said I had better get some sleep. I think she
sent a note to brilliant Mama, and that shamed Mama into allowing me to quit.
Interesting that although I quit that job we didn't starve.
has Ma's negative qualities. Both Ma and Kate always wanted me to have "regular"
jobs so they'd have regular access to my jugular. My fundament just started to
ache, to itch. I feel very ill at ease. I hate to think about MONEY AND KATE.
My life with Kate was mostly one of tension. I thought that Kate kept my stresses
at bay. I hoped she would take care of the children.
wanted Kate to come to Mexico to "coax" with - not love - but relief
and nursing (another reason I have felt guilty). She didn't want to come. I "coaxed"
her to. This coaxing is a pretence of affection. I hope I soon find it funny (oh
my aching balls). To thine own self be funny. (My advise to Norman.)
had no humour where Kate was concerned, and the demonising, the paranoia was often
"Jan 19, 1974
up this morning (after a lovely evening of love making with my darling) with the
thought and image of Kate. The thought: I must get rid of that fungus, this spook,
this clinging vine; that I won't get anywhere until I get this clinging excrescence
off my back.
is true that Kate's phone calls smear me as with goo and guck and crap - so that
I attempt to stay "objective" by not screaming. But it is also true
that she spooks my life and my work. I have a built-in spook.
appease her. I pay her off. I keep telling her to stop telephoning. I am nasty.
I shout. I am quiet. I use reason. Nothing penetrates. She continues to phone.
She is like some brain damaged animal. She can't understand.
session dealt with my fear of Kate - and analysing the different kinds of jealousy.
Kate's kind. Pa's kind. And Ma's kind, which is more normal and not murderous.
Inasmuch as I am fixated on Ma I am married to her.
was afraid of Kate's jealousy, so I had flops. She was a killer who would kill
Claire or Lucille, but not me.
jealousy of me. Norman's... At the bottom is dependency.
their separation in 1957 Ted and Kate did get back together again for a short
while - for some weeks during the early 1960s. I recall driving somewhere with
Ted in his little Renault Dauphine, him speaking of how beautiful Kate's legs
Bonny (our friend whom the RCMP had told
"We know who your friends are!")... Bonny recalled visiting Kate during
that brief spring of love. "They were both in dressing gowns. Les and I were
a little embarrassed. Said we'll come back later. "No" Kate said, "I'm
just a little behind schedule."
a cigarette. Ted grabbed it away from her. "Now that I've found you again,"
he said, "I don't want you killing yourself."
lit another. "Now that I've found you again, I'm going to do what the hell
I please," she replied.
went on fighting all the time we were there," said Bonny.
saw Kate as a ball buster, a demoraliser, and minimizer - the worst of "Pa"
(and "Ma") - a momster. A quintessential moment in their relationship
occurred in the 1940s. Kate read one of Ted's short stories and gave it faint
praise, and then a short while later she read a story by their friend, Saul Levitt.
A fine writer, Ted agrees, concedes, and Kate runs on. "What a writer! What
a story!" Ted related this anecdote to me, sometime in the 1980s, as the
prime example of how little support he had felt... of how Kate undermined him.
It reverberated bitterly with him still.
to Claire Russell's monster letter, about "Kate's dinner party", alluded
to above. "One other little tid
bit. In her room which Kate showed Bill and me, she had a large Olympia typewriter.
This, she told us. she had acquired from Ted. "For creative work - said Kate,
a small typewriter is alright, but when you're doing real work, you need a big
one like this." " (2)
This last summer (3) when Kate was over here
in Toronto, and when I went back with her to London, I spoke of this "demonising".
She was so pleased I could see this.. that I felt this way now. And she spoke,
brought up on her own, the Saul Levitt short story story; told me how Ted "Kept
me up all night. Hammering at me. Something about praising other people, not him.
Not respecting him. All the time I would say he was a marvellous short story writer,
but I didn't think he could carry it right through, but I didn't tell him that."
"Oh, yes she did!" said Ted (not his ghost,
but the image of Ted I carry in my head.)
spoke of "the last time I went out with him, in Toronto, he was already very
ill. He told me that most of his life he was living in a dream world, not the
real world. And I think that that included his relationship with me."
"And something else he told me. I don't know
when he thought he had come into the real world. Oh, that I had told him once
that I admired very much when I saw him walk away and he seemed like a man who
was very sure of himself, and I admired that, and he said did I realise that he
was always quaking in his shoes.. I don't know whether he used that expression."
Kate told me how jealous Ted was, for no good reason,
and how when they first met he used to try to spy on Kate and David Weiss, her
boss. "Dave was gay, and a very good friend, but Ted still thought he was
"And Bill Lawrence
too," I added.
"How do you know that
name? He was my other boss. I had two bosses. Dave Weiss was really a friend of
mine. I think Ted was a terribly confused man. He was jealous with Bill Lawrence
too. I didn't have a relationship with Bill Lawrence. I was good friends with
Dave Weiss." Then Kate became thoughtful. "I guess he was right - I
guess this is a terrible thing to say to my son - I was still in the aura of John"
(John Lenthier, her first husband, lost in Spain. (4))
Kate and my conversation rambled. Some
of it was sparked by this manuscript. Kate read the first half of a draft that
was ready at the time, and she didn't like it much, but corrected factual errors.
Through-out my life, Kate has been perturbed at how much I have been under Ted's
shadow, particularly when I've been involved directly with his work. "Write
your own stories," Kate would caution. "Write of your own life. It's
a wonderful life." But now there's more time for Kate's Ted snippets.
"Sam Wanamaker had once made a pass at me,"
Kate reminisced, "and I told Ted. A rather obscene pass."
was very mean with me about money. He was supposed to give me twenty pounds. Then
it was ten pounds. Then nothing. Then he gave me five pounds. Five pounds! I told
Mordecai about that and he used to kibbutz Ted about it."
Gordon was a pompous ass. I had never liked him. He was a pompous shit. I remember,
when Ted left me, Sydney sent me a letter that assumed he was a friend. He took
sides, but that made me very angry."
the house up in Hampstead where the North American ex-patriots gathered in the
fifties: it was James Ramsay MacDonald's old house and the hosts were Ella Winters
and Donald Ogden Stewart. And - reminding me of Frances Bethune telling Ted, Beth
never called her "Darling" - Kate says of the character in a short story
I quoted earlier, that I thought might describe their courtship, "And I never
said "swell" in my life. And," she continued, "there is too
much of Harry" - (his father, Harry. She was right, but I will have cut a
lot by the time you read this) "...There is too much Harry. I had so much
of that in my life, in my marriage and it's sick making."
of Sadie, Kate was bitter that Ted went off back to the States and left Kate with
his sister, for Kate, an ex-in-law, was the only caring relative left near and
thus felt compelled to take some care of her. Of Sadie, Kate told me, "Sadie
died just after New Years, and three days before she was over for dinner. She
was hysterical. She was shouting, "I don't want to die alone." She was
with me. It's alright for him to slough off people. God!"
warned me not to marry him. Paul Burns was courting me. They didn't like Ted.
They'd been in Spain, you see..."
why didn't they like Ted?" I asked. Were they jealous? I thought.
I don't know why," Kate continued. "They didn't say why. And about the
time I met Ted... did he call it a death marriage?"
marriage of death."
"God. It's beautiful.
Just before... I had two friends. One was Paul Burns. He was very shy. And Doug
Roach, this beautiful Negro man. Ugly as sin, but beautiful. Doug Roach carved
that wooden piece, the peanuts and elephant that Jessi asked for. Every morning
they brought me a rose. Doug Roach was speaking for Paul, he let me know. And
Paul was in love. He pursued me a while. He didn't have personality enough. That
shows you my weakness. He was dry.
died shortly after that and that was painful. Tubercular meningitis."
Correcting Ted's memory, or his spelling,
Kate told me, "Ted's agent in New York was called Francis Pindyck."
Somewhere in his notes Ted has mentioned (Ted
has claimed?) that he slept with Pindyck. Somewhere in his notes he mentions that
when they, Ted and Kate, came back from Mexico because they wanted the baby, Julie,
to be born in America, Ted stayed in L.A. while Kate went on by bus preceding
Ted to the East Coast. Ted stayed with some friends, a couple, both lawyers, and
ended up bedding the wife, he confessed (or claimed).
Of Ted's story about meeting the wounded man whom he thought had died in the hospital
in Madrid, the second symphony fellow, of meeting him in Mexico, Kate said with
indignation, "I was there! It was in a narrow lane-way. It was Bob Colodny.
He was with Bobby Ortez. You remember Bobby Ortez. I was with Ted when we met
them, bumped into them. That's why his stories are so cockeyed!" (5)
After Ted left Kate
in 1957 she spent two years going through an alcoholic breakdown, bottoming out
with six weeks in the mental hospital at Frein Barnet. Then she put her life together.
She has become one of my heroes by demonstrating how a good life can be built
During the nineteen sixties
Kate worked as a secretary for the Society for Anglo Chinese Understanding (SACU).
So at some point Kate got to visit China with SACU.
years later Ted was back in China and, as he tells the story, he was off in some
remote corner where tourists never tread, but an area of relevance to Bethune.
Here Ted was introduced to the head-man in some obscure village/commune. "This
is Ted Allan, Pa Chu En's (Bethune's) colleague." "Oh," said the
elder. "Are you related to Kate Allan?"