Perfect American Family

Friday, October 23, 2015

Random Acts of Kindness

Shouldn't Random Acts of Kindness just be called kindness?

The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others. ~Albert Schweitzer

There are websites with 100's of suggestions for Random Acts of Kindness. One I read was 'if you spill sugar at Starbucks, wipe it up'. That's a random act of kindness? Isn't that called manners? Another; 'let the person behind you at the supermarket checkout with one or two items go ahead of you when your cart is full'. That's called consideration. I worry that we've become so self-involved that we forget that it's nice to be kind and considerate to others- just for the sake of being kind.

Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change. ~Bob Kerrey 

I admit I attempt to do a (Random Act of) Kindness each day, it makes my day better if I can help others when they least expect it. That doesn't include holding a door for a colleague or making a new pot of coffee when I see that it's empty (I don't drink coffee). At my place of employment on a daily basis I interact with somewhere between 600 and 1000 people.   It's easy to find a way to be kind and make a difference in someone else's day and it barely takes any time.   

Give Compliments- It costs nothing and can make the difference in someone's day. 

Say Hello! It doesn't cost a cent. I've noticed since I moved back to Southern California that people don't say hello or wave when walking by each other on the sidewalk or along a hiking trail. Join me in my campaign to 'say hello to strangers'. 

Volunteer- You can do small activities once a year or one Saturday a month at a Habitat House, read with children, walk a dog at your local animal shelter. The internet makes it easy to find volunteer opportunities in your area of interest.  A couple of hours takes you out of your own head, do for others and allows you to try something new, and meet new people. 

This is not meant to preach, just to help you think about what your days and weeks are comprised of and perhaps if we all do a little bit more for others you'll find your own world to be more joyful. 

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. ~Mark Twain

Lastly, if other's had not reached out to me with their kindness in my time of need, I would not have been able to function. Friends who I could count on for their love and support were my lifeline. A local priest I had never met knocked on my door shortly after my husbands arrest and asked if he could pray with me. 

Monday, January 9, 2012


I have been thinking about the word dignity. Almost to the point of not thinking about anything else. Well nothing else except work and 175 student applications and interviews and shadow days and marketing plans, but I digress. 


The only kind of dignity which is genuine is that which is not diminished by the indifference of others. ~Dag Hammarskjod

On or around the time that Rick had served about six months of his twelve month sentence in the federal prison, his attorney, Andrew Murphy, asked the Family Court to relieve him of his duties as Rick's attorney. Will Meredith had confided in me that although Andrew Murphy had not been paid since the initial retainer, Murphy's reason was only partially because he had not been paid. Will told me that Andrew Murphy's desire to resign was primarily because he was sick/tired of dealing with Rick and Rick's family. Often people say that threatening to quit while not being paid for the job performed is a negotiating tactic- but isn't it really about dignity? Andrew Murphy was providing a service and the family had means and I can only imagine at some level he felt he was being taken advantage of by Rick and the Webb/Kotter family. Andrew Murphy was paid by Mel (Rick's father) and thus remained Rick's divorce attorney until we finalized the divorce in June of 2001. Rick's criminal attorney, Eric Lee, has represented him in our ongoing legal battles for the past 10 plus years. I miss the patience and candor of Mr. Murphy.


Let not a man guard his dignity, but let his dignity guard him ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I write this blog post today on January 9th 2012. The post is not about the past- it is about the present time. Hannah continues to be strong with the boundaries she had to establish with her father.  Hannah has put serious limits on their contact and consequently with her relationship with her father. As a result of Hannah's strength, her father's entire family have decided to further minimize/eliminate their relationship with her. This past May was Hannah's 21st Birthday, Rick acknowledged it with a card and a gift. There was not a single card, letter, text message, note or phone call for Hannah's Birthday from any of her many Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and/or Grandparents on Rick's side of the family. Six months later in the month of December as we celebrated Christmas (and Hanukah) and went on to celebrate a New Year, there was no contact from any member of Rick's family- and by any member I am including Hannah's father, Rick. Hannah feels relief from all of this- I feel anger.

Rick and his family have chosen to 'punish' Hannah for taking care of herself. Her father by the way who happens to be a convicted felon, sex offender, who preys on children. The following is a draft of a letter I am considering writing to Rick's family:

Dear Candy, Harv and Ingrid (Mel's widow)and carbon copies to all members of Rick's family,

I have had no interest in ever communicating with you and had anticipated never doing so for the rest of your lives. Recent events however that pertain to Hannah do not allow me to just sit back and let you all bully your granddaughter any longer. Are you using this as an opportunity because Hannah refuses to enable Rick's narcassism? While I am writing about that situation I have some other things I'd like to get off my chest.

Since the day I served Rick with divorce papers you have somehow believed and behaved that the children should be the ones to come to you instead of you, the adults, reaching out to them. Your actions and responses seemed to reflect a family torn apart by a normal divorce. Our divorce was never a normal divorce, ever, Rick is a pedophile, a convicted felon, a registered sex offender, he served time in a federal prison, and by the way he can't vote. This is  pertinent because you all have clearly chosen to take sides. Jan at least had the guts early on to admit that it was hard and she was told not to have contact with me. Ingrid sent messages to me through the children telling them that she missed me and wanted to be in contact with me. Ironically, when Scott suggested Ingrid write to me she said she could not as she was afraid the rest of the family might find out.

I heard it said many years ago from one of you that I was keeping the children away from you. I never discouraged you from contacting the children- however you always wanted the children to approach you. I did not trust you, nor do I now trust you and I would argue that you all were/are complicit in Rick's actions as you had first hand knowledge of Rick and his previous activities. You did not like the supervised visitation that needed to occur, not only because it was the law but because it was what Hannah and Scott wanted. You had complete and utter disregard for me but mostly total disregard for the safety and well being of Hannah and Scott, your grandchildren.  The fact alone that you knew Rick had molested Barb and chose to keep me in the dark about this- was and continues to be reprehensible. Candy's immediate response when I phoned to inform her of Rick's arrest (for crossing state lines to meet a 14 year old boy to have sex) was that men only think with one part of their anatomy. Really? About a 14 year old boy?  At the time I was in a state of denial and shock about my husband being arrested let alone what he was arrested for and could not even respond to what she had said. Candy did not skip a beat and continued on and  immediately asked me; "You dont think Rick ever did anything to Scott do you?"

Every decision I made, with the advice of my attorney, and our counselors, I did on behalf of my children. This does not make me a marter, it just makes me someone who recognizes the situation, gets the facts and makes a decision based on what is best for the children. Children who were young and did not have the qualifications or life experience or knowledge of who their father was to make decisions for themselves- oh by the way that is what a parent does. Hannah now as an adult has taken in to context all that Rick has done and how he has treated her and chosen how she wants her relationship to be with him. I guess you all have chosen how you want your relationship to be with her as a result. Don't get me wrong, Hannah is relieved that you have decided to cut her off. It is me who is angry at your ridiculous behavior.

Since the day of Rick's arrest even before we separated, you never once asked if we were okay or if the children needed anything?  Rick treated us horribly. Everything was all about him, as it had always been.   These are his children and these were his actions that created the situation in the first place. He has not compromised his lifestyle in order to help his children, he has an expensive home and an expensive car. I wonder if his 'girlfriend' is aware of who he really is or if he has sold her a bill of goods as he had sold me. Have you shared with her the truth of who Rick is or have you chosen to blame others? Do you not feel that you have an ethical and moral responsibility to tell her the truth?   Have you read the transcripts of the conversations between Rick and the 14 year old boy?

This is what I really want to say and let it all out:
You all are sick crazy narcasists and deserve each other. You certainly don't deserve Scott or Hannah and I hope you are pleased with taking the side of a pedophile instead of your innocent granddaughter who has done nothing but attempt to establish healthy boundaries with her unhealthy father. When he continued to push her she had to set bigger walls in order to be a healthy happy productive human being. I have worked hard to raise two responsible adults who had their life pulled out from under them- which it turns out was the biggest blessing they could receive. I cannot even begin to imagine who they would be if Rick had participated in raising them and I thank God everyday for his arrest so I didn't have to find out. Punishing Hannah for taking a stand in her relationship with her father who serves only himself? Really? That's who you are? But then again you all are just crazy and why am I even bothering? You cannot begin to comprehend what the children and I have gone through.

I have so much to say to these people and then again, I have nothing to say to them.

Dignity. My friend Tom wrote that Dignity is Everything. Everything.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Denial- the Truth- and Penn State Football Coaches

"If I knew then what I know now." ~Joe Paterno.

My interpretation of Mr. Paterno's words are this: If I knew that this would all come back to haunt me one day I might have done things differently. I thought that if I just ignored Jerry Sandusky's behavior it would just go away...

The news this week hit a little too close to home for me- The Penn State Football Coaches 'covering up' or 'looking the other way' when a child was being abused (by one of their own).
The consequences at the time in 2002 was to take away Jerry Sandusky's keys- it seems they did take away his keys but they left all the doors and windows unlocked.

I am all too familiar with minimizing the inappropriate behavior of an adult's victimization of children. My husband was arrested for luring a 14 year old boy across state lines to engage in sexual acts. My husband's family all knew about his past - how he had molested his younger sister for 6 years.  Rick's family all chose to look the other way- and to minimize Rick's behavior and make him a victim of his circumstances. They blame me because I am not willing to pretend that Rick's arrest and crime did not happen.

I do not portend to know the whole story of who saw what or who knows what in regard to the alleged molestations by Jerry Sandusky, the assistant coach for the Penn State football team. What I do know though is if there was a question of inappropriate behavior with children- a witness seeing what McQuery saw in the showers that was enough to consider something might be wrong and prompt an investigation. This was in 2002- almost 10 years ago. Most pedophiles have 100's of encounters with victims before they are caught.

It's all about access for sexual predators. Sandusky lives across the street from an elementary school. Rick lives near an elementary school in Las Vegas. Also similar to Sandusky, Rick volunteered as a coach with the high school football team when he was in his late 20's.  Rick created and ran a summer football camp in Los Angeles for young boys called STARS. I also later learned while in college Rick had a part time job supervising the gym at the high school. This choice to be in the vicinity of young boys gave him access to find his victims and groom them to be his sexual victims.

Investigating the Penn State Locker Room occurrence in 2002 would have made sense-- If Mr. Sandusky was innocent then that would have come out in an investigation. It's kind of like when they ask for your ID when you are using your credit card- I don't mind someone asking for my ID- it is to protect me. If there was no wrong doing, wouldn't it have been worth the investigation when considering the protection of children to be paramount?

I can't help but wonder what Joe Paterno was thinking when he first heard about Jerry Sandusky victimizing a 10 year old boy in the Penn State Locker Room Showers? Again I do not even begin to know the whole story between Paterno and Sandusky and who knew what.  What we do know is it is impossible to curb this type of deviant sexual behavior. Therapists have told me that a pedophile like Rick could go to therapy every day for 24 hours a day and it wouldn't change his desire to have sex with young boys.

When I first filed for divorce my attorney, Will Meredith, predicted a lot of things that came true- one being that Rick's family would not support me emotionally or financially, would not testify on my behalf regardless of what might be best for the children. Will Meredith accurately predicted that Rick's family members would all choose to go where the money is,  his sister he molested- his parents who were complicit, his step brothers and sisters who were told not to speak to me.  In this world looking the other way is reprehensible.

Right now, in real time - 2011 many years after Rick's arrest and prison time, he has a 'girl-friend' I don't know if she has children. A few years ago Rick inherited millions of dollars, he lives in a luxurious home in Las Vegas. If you search for Rick (by his true name) he does not appear on any of the sex offender search websites. He is required by law to register as a sex offender and I understand that he has registered however he does not show up on any public searches, the rules don't apply to him.

Perhaps Penn State's Joe Paterno had become immune to the rules applying to him- it would be a slow process found through years of success and being placed on a pedestal.  I read something in the past week about people 'loving people' too much to report these instances. I believe it is fear of how everything would change if a wrong is reported and an investigation ensued.

Not reporting to the authorities what Mr. Sandusky was doing in the showers to the 10 year old boy seems to me to be enabling the deviant behavior. Looking the other way because of caring about a football program, or money or how things might look to other people is at a minimum selfish and greedy- mostly it is reprehensible.

This isn't about football- I love football- this is about looking the other way because of greed and fear of things changing. I cannot fathom why someone would not go up the chain of command and scream from the rafters until someone takes notice and does not allow something so heinous to continue.

"I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case. I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief.
I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal today.
That's why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can.
This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more." 

We all wish you would have done more.

Prayers to the families of the victims who wish you had done more.