“Half-way up they closed in on me and started talking. The girl said, ‘Look the crazy girl, you crazy like your mother. Your aunt frightened to have you in the house. She send you for the nuns to lock up. Your mother walk about with no shoes and stockings on her feet, she sans culottes. She try to kill her husband and she try to kill you too that day you go to see her. She have eyes like zombie and you have eyes like zombie too.”
–Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
Lenny Bruce had a wife named Honey. She was a burlesque performer on the same circuit as Lenny when he started out in the fifties. Lenny and Honey had a messy time of it together. For instance, they had a car accident in the Catskills and Honey was crushed and maimed. But she didn’t die.
“For years I’ve wanted to write a note of gratitude to the surgeon who made my incision. He could have cut right down my stomach, not knowing I was a stripper and how much I depended on my body. Instead he made a tiny incision hidden in my pubic hair. To this day, I don’t even know the good doctor’s name.”
That’s a quote from her memoir, Honey. She and Lenny had one child together, Kitty. Her actual name was Brandie, but Lenny decided it sounded too much like a stripper. So they called her Kitty instead.
Honey also had a life-destroying heroin addiction for sixteen years, for most of Kitty’s childhood. Honey’s drug problem kinda sorta made her a . . . uh . . . bad mother. She spent time (years) in prison while Lenny’s mother raised their child. Honey was also a fugitive, she was on the lam in the states for a while so that made the family thing complicated, too.
Honey kicked, at least for a while, because she was clean when she wrote the memoir, for maybe six years or so, and she writes that her relationship with her daughter was “blooming.”
She had repaired the damage, you dig?