Into the Abyss with Dustin Hoffman
Alan chose to avoid being served with divorce papers, which is easy to do when you’re out of state. So the process dragged on endlessly while I desperately wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. I would sit in my bedroom, look out over the valley, as I loved to do and had done so many times before; knowing that very soon all that I had worked for would be gone. I had finally checked out our finances and found out we were in catastrophic shape. House payments weren’t being paid, tax bills had been ignored and we needed to sell the house before Erika and I were evicted. Acting jobs were too few and far between to count on those supporting us and the only office skills I had were typing and answering the phone. We were going to lose everything and I felt powerless to stop it.
Three months later, when Alan finally came back from Dallas, bringing with him a new girlfriend, we were finally able to finalize the divorce. He told the court he was now out of a job and was able to get the judge to agree to minimal child support payments. But he didn’t pay them anyway. I went to court again and again, but it was all to no avail. Eventually I went to the prosecutor’s office to try and get them to force him to pay up but they told me the list of fathers who were avoiding child support was a mile long and it could be years before they got around to him. My mother paid for Erika to go to pre-school at a Lutheran church near our house and I signed with a temp agency. Because the owners were friends with John Lombardo, they immediately found me a job typing checks at a downtown Bank of America. The one thing I clearly remember on the way to my first day of work is sitting on the freeway in bumper to bumper traffic and listening to the song, “I Can Take Care of Myself,” and thinking, that sounds like he’s singing about my friend Wendy, an actress who I had become friends with after we worked together on Vega$. I didn’t know who sang it or that soon I would meet the man who wrote and recorded the song, Billy Vera, and that we would become friends.
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