Sunday, October 13, 2013

And Baby Makes Three, Four, Five, Six.......

I have no doubt that O.L. Colon got out of bed and went to work on November 19, 1955 at the office of the County Clerk Harold J. Ostley in Los Angeles without ever knowing that a license for marriage issued that day would be come the subject of in depth interpretation some 58 years later.  You see two people applied for a license to marry on that day, Jack Griffith Lee and Joanna Jayne Johnson.  To the average reader unimpressive.  The names are rather typical, ordinary names, however at least one of those two people had some four years earlier been embroiled in a contentious divorce with an actress named Agnes Moorehead.   That is where my interest in the unassuming piece of paper began.  Until I read it a few months ago I had no idea that Jack Lee had ever remarried.  Then last night at about 3 am I sat bolt upright in bed after a rather peculiar dream and said out loud "What if they had children?"  I got up this morning and after coffee I sat down to my computer to search.  A little while later I found myself sitting in front of my computer with my mouth hanging open saying "Oh my GAWD" over and over again.  Not only did I find a child but his name was Jack G Lee Jr.

Jack G Lee Jr. was born on May 4th 1956.  What makes that date so damn special is that Jack Lee and Joanna Johnson had just actually been married on February 18 1956.  Do the math folks.  Joanna was over 7 months pregnant when she married Jack Lee.  In fact, Joanna was pregnant when they got the marriage license in November and why it took them that long to get married is beyond me.  But there you have it Jack G. Lee Jr.  He was the first addition to the Lee family.  The second addition to the Lee clan was Susan L Lee.  Susan was born August 3 1958 in Los Angeles.  Susan was apparently named after Jack's mother Susan Ping Lee.  So we are up to two children so far.  The third addition came in the form of George M Lee a little less than a year after Susan's birth.  George, named for Joanna's father, was born on the 26th of July 1959 in Los Angeles.  Dad, Mom and the 3 little Lee's were all on their own until 1963 when the fourth and final Lee joined the family.  Joanna Virginia Lee was born on the 30th of December 1963.  So Jack's legacy was assured with the four children he had with Joanna.

A newspaper many years ago had run a short snippet that Agnes and Jack were going to adopt four children.  The same article contended that Jack was readying the farm for their soon to be brood.  I find it extremely odd that when Jack did, in the end, have children he had four children.  As I was doing this research the very first thing I wondered was if this might have been the reason that Agnes told people that Jack was dead.  He managed to have the very thing he had likely wanted all along, a family.  Perhaps that was part of the dysfunction in their marriage and she resented him for it.

That Jack's marriage to Agnes was an unpleasant abusive 19 years is not at issue.  Jack drank.  Jack was violent.  Agnes earned the money and suffered, apparently for an extended period of time at Jack's hands.  What I find confusing is that Jack's marriage to Joanna lasted from 1956 until his death and produced, without any apparent difficulty, four children.  I think it bears asking why Jack and Agnes never had children. Jack was obviously capable of producing offspring.  He was 16 years older than Joanna and yet they had four children within 7 years of their marriage.  Of course we'll never know why Jack and Agnes never had children since neither of them is talking but it does add even more mystery to their already peculiar relationship.

In the end Jack had a family and Agnes had her career.  Since Jack died when his youngest daughter was 11 years old he never got to see her grow up but in the end he did manage to leave a genetic legacy.


Erika said...

I have wondered this before, believe it or not. I'm much more curious about Jack Lee than Gist. I feel as though there was some real love involved there, at least initially.

I don't see Jack Lee as a villain in the same way I did, I'd say, even a year ago. I absolutely do not condone any abusive action he ever took against Agnes--there is no excuse at all-- but I've really come to some sort of conclusion in mind that Agnes was terribly hard to live with and her expectations were always so high that it could be overwhelming to say the least. They were expectations she herself tried to live up to, and for the most part probably did live up to, but not many people are as driven and disciplined as Agnes was. Not everyone has the same needs and desires. Agnes probably cared too much about what her Hollywood friends thought of her husband and the fact that he was unsuccessful as an actor. I'm sure he was disappointed in himself and most times with those we love, we try to 'help' by giving unwanted advice and I'm sure her advice would've further bruised his ego since she was doing so well. He was drinking to numb himself to something and if this wasn't the reason it certainly didn't help matters. Tamela, do you know how long Jack ran the farm? I've wondered that because I think of farming as hard work. Sorry, if you've gone into detail with that and I've forgotten. At any rate, if he worked any length of time farming, I wouldn't peg him as lazy. Perhaps success in terms of money and affluence wasn't as important to him. I say all this because I feel that some of this repeated itself with Sean. I don't know how well Agnes could compromise. I've read Agnes described as "needy" and I always see it as a need to be accepted by her peers or looked up to by fans, as if she could never be enough. Some sort of constant struggle to produce the proper results for the benefit of all others and she might've imposed this, not fully realizing her actions, onto those in her family and it led to a great deal of heartbreak for her. Maybe I'm missing the mark. I have all sorts of impressions regarding Agnes but perhaps the most accurate one, and the one most apparent to all of her fans, is that she had a heart of gold. I don't doubt it for even a second. As you've said, she was human.

Anyway, I love the work you do here. I always appreciate it.

tamela757 said...

I don't know how long he ran the farm but I would guess it was several years at least and very hard work indeed. I think he and Agnes were just mismatched honestly. He was insecure and I agree with the idea of him numbing himself. He appears to have had a decent relationship with his second wife. He was willing to have a family so I think it was something he actually wanted. His family was actually very wealthy and very well known in California so I think he perceived success a completely different way. Thanks for the thumbs up!

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