9: Idea of Separation
I Am a Patsy! by George de Mohrenschildt
We were appalled at the Oswalds’ marital troubles which from being bad became desperate. One day Marina came to our house without announcement, crying, badly bruised all over and carrying baby June along. It would be dangerous for her to leave. And so we discussed the situation with a charming couple — the Mellers — very kindly people without children of their own. He had been a professor in Eastern Poland and she a Soviet displaced person. They met in a camp in Germany, fell in love, married and eventually came to the United States. They met Marina and liked her and at the same time they were not prejudiced against Lee. Not being rich, they were generous, and they accepted to host Marina and the child till the situation would clear up.
George de Mohrenschildt Suggests a Separation
The same day I invited Lee to come to the house to discuss the situation with him. We spoke very calmly and as a matter of fact of the need for separation. Our dogs, Nero and Poppea, sitting snugly next to Lee were a living proof that he was not either frantic nor nervous. When it came to the last beating, result of Oswalds’ desperate quarrels, Jeanne said: “separate as fast as you can. Stay away from each other. I will let you know Lee later where Marina will be. But not before some time lapses.”
At that Lee became indignant, our dogs went into hiding, “you are not going to impose this indignity on me!” he shouted. “I shall tear up all of June and Marina’s clothes and break the furniture.“ He was incoherent and violent. We never saw him in this condition before.
“If you did this, you will never see June and Marina again. You are ridiculous,” she said quietly. “There is a law here against abuse.”
“By the time you calm down, I shall promise you will be in contact with baby June again,” I interceded, knowing that Lee was afraid that someone would take the child away from him. And so he calmed down, promised to think the situation over, assured us that there would be no more violence and after a while we drove the couple back to the dreary Elsbeth Street apartment.
The next evening Lee was back with us, all alone. Again he wanted to talk the situation over. He sat gloomily on our famous sofa and both of us tried to talk some sense.
“I heard of love accompanied with beating and torture,” I said, half–seriously. “Read Marquis de Sade or observe the life of the underworld — l’amour crapule, as they say in France. But your fights seem to be deprived of sex, which is terrible …”
“If you think you are fond of each other, cannot you do it without scratching, biting and hitting?” Jeanne tried another reasoning.
Lee sat gloomily without saying a word.
“Separation will be a test for both of you,” continued Jeanne, “you will see if you can live without each other. If you can, Lee you will find another woman and will be happier with her.”
“If not,” I laughed, “you will separate or divorce again. Look at me. I did it four times until I found somebody who can stand me.”
Jeanne kept on talking about a nice temporary home for Marina and the baby and the good care both of them will have. Naturally we did not mention the name of Mellers.
“I promise you, Lee, that after a cooling–off peried, I shall give you the address and the telephone [number], so you can communicate with your child. Nobody should separate a child from her father.”
Lee believed my promise because he knew that myself I had been a victim of a vindictive wife who prevented me from seeing my children.
Jeanne had called one or two families who knew the Oswalds and they wholeheartedly approved of the proposed arrangement because they thought that Marina would be better off alone than with Lee. And I personally was sure that Lee would be happier without Marina.
Since Marina had been for this arrangement from the start, it was only Lee we were worried about.
That night we separated rather sadly. “You may hate us, Lee, or maybe you will be grateful to us one day for enforcing this separation,” I said. “But I don’t see any other way out under the circumstances. This is Saturday, we are free tomorrow and will come in the morning to help Marina and the baby move out.”
Lee agreed but he was on the verge of tears. “Remember your promise. You will give me soon their address and the telephone [number].”
We shook hands, and Lee left.
The de Mohrenschildts Help Marina Oswald Move Out
The next day, a Sunday, we drove to [the] Oswalds’ apartment on Elsbeth Street. Lee hardly said hello to Jeanne to whom he has always been most cordial.
“This is not the end of the world, Lee,” she told him. “Cheer up!” And she went to help Marina. I sat on the sofa with him and tried to talk to him. He was gloomy and hardly said a word. He did not try to help us move the crib, baby’s belongings, but when it came to Marina’s clothes, he became infuriated. In the meantime our big convertible Galaxie — which we kept for years in memory of Oswalds — was filling up high. Seeing all those innumerable clothes, Lee grabbed a bundle of them and shouted: “I will not permit it! I will not permit it! I shall burn all this garbage.”
And so back we went into the apartment following Lee and the bundle of Marina’s clothes. “You cannot go back on your promise to be calm, Lee!” shouted Jeanne. Disgusted, I wanted to call the police for help. But Lee looked so desperate that I sat on the sofa again, grabbed him by the arm and tried to reason with him. “Brutality won’t help you, Lee,” I said. “If you keep on with these tantrums, Marina and the baby will be gone anyway and you won’t see them again. So better submit and keep your word.”
He sat gloomily not sure of what he was going to do.
“We are wasting our valuable time helping you kids,” I shouted, losing my patience. “To hell with you and your quarrels!”
And Lee calmed down and agreed to everything. He even helped carrying Marina’s clothes acquired from the hateful Russian–American benefactors, and put them on top of our overloaded car. with all this junk, our convertible sank almost to the ground and groaned.
And so we departed, Jeanne holding onto all that stuff to prevent it from falling out, Maring holding on to baby June. As I was driving I laughed because we looked so obviously ridiculous. But fortunately this was a Sunday, there were few people on the streets and I drove slowly, avoiding main arteries from Oak Cliff, the far Western part of Dallas, to the Lakeview area, in the Eastern part of Dallas, a distance of some fifteen miles. And so we reached the apartment of that gentle couple, the Mellers, who came out, greeting Marina and the baby and helped to unload all that junk.
Little did they suspect that this kindly action would cause them so much trouble after November 23, 1963 and that their gentle life would be disturbed by the insane suspicions and crazy publicity following Kennedy’s assassination.
Marina complained for the last time about that stupid Lee and all the trouble he had caused all of us. I was worried about him. “Let’s get over with it,” I said gloomily, finishing the unloading. “And let’s get out of here. We have done enough for these crazy kids.”