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Norman Allan
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Chapter Sixteen: Kate.

There is a letter dated March 30th, 1965 that Ted's therapist, Claire Russell, wrote to him while he was in New York: Claire coaching from afar. Ted was forty nine years old. This is long after Lucille and a little pre-Martie. Ted was conserned about his finances. "My money situation is amusing," he wrote. Claire felt that they were dodging the crux of the matter in his therapy and that the crux of the matter was Ted's "involvement with Kate". (They had been seperated for eight years at this time). "...you have the utmost reluctance to see Kate as Kate," Claire wrote. "You have anxiety attacks, running around, losing manuscripts, and now bursitis and fibrillations - KATE. I remember you told me, you once went to a play with Kate. In that play there figured a woman, who nagged and nagged and finally demanded to know what her husband was thinking, when he went to have some peace in another room. When he protested, she shouted she had a right to know for he belonged to her, the same as the house and fixtures. You told me: "I turned to Kate and said - That's you." Understandably, Kate looked blank, didn't know what you meant." Pages and pages of details of family interactions follow. Caroline Nicholson, was Claire's trainee and my childhood psychoanalyst, so Claire had reports about my analysis and she passes on to Ted. In this case she passed them on to Ted to demonise Kate. Not that Kate was blameless. She could certainly be cruel and manipulating. She and Ted had different priorities. She was angry at Ted and bitter that the twenty pounds a week promised in their settlement turned into an occasional five. But Claire fuelled Ted's paranoia. He was terrified of Kate. For decades after they separated, whenever they would speak on the phone, Ted would start out irritated and end up shouting. This went on for years.

"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.
     Yesterday's 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 trapped.
     What 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.
     Claire pointed 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.
     I 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. ...
     The 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.
     I feel about money as I do about politics. I argue. Kate, Sydney, Kate, Pa, money. Notice I repeated Kate twice, the darling.
        I 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.
     Kate 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.
     ... I 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.)

Ted had no humour where Kate was concerned, and the demonising, the paranoia was often unrestrained.

"Jan 19, 1974
     Woke 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.
     It 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.
     I 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.
     Thursday's 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.
     I was afraid of Kate's jealousy, so I had flops. She was a killer who would kill Claire or Lucille, but not me.
     Georgie's jealousy of me. Norman's... At the bottom is dependency.

After 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 were.
     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."
     Kate lit a cigarette. Ted grabbed it away from her. "Now that I've found you again," he said, "I don't want you killing yourself."
     Kate lit another. "Now that I've found you again, I'm going to do what the hell I please," she replied.
     "And they went on fighting all the time we were there," said Bonny.

Ted 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.
     Segue 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.)

Kate 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 Julie's father."
     "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."
     "Ted 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."
     "Sydney 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."
     Of 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."
     Speaking 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!"
     "People warned me not to marry him. Paul Burns was courting me. They didn't like Ted. They'd been in Spain, you see..."
     "But why didn't they like Ted?" I asked. Were they jealous? I thought.
     "And 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?"
     "A 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.
     "Doug 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 through simplicity.
     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.
     Some 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?"

chapter seventeen