The day I married Jack Perdue, I inherited the sister-in-law from Hell. I quickly recognized her resentment of me as mean and petty jealousy. Nothing is more dangerous than a hateful female’s jealousy of another female.
Several years after my marriage, I was invited to host a morning television show produced by Arkansas’s ABC Affiliate. It wasn’t long before my sister-in-law began making derogatory statements each time she saw me. Some of her hurtful remarks included: “Television personalities are so pathetic. Most of them would work for free just to stay in the public eye.” Or, “People so desperate for the limelight are nothing more than ego-maniacs!”
One of her more stinging statements: “Frankly, Sally, I don’t believe anyone considers you a +STAR+ just because you appear in front of a small-town television camera every morning. The few times I’ve watch your show… I’m reminded of Ted Mack’s amateur hour!” Sarcasm and insults were her specialty and she used me to sharpen her serpent tongue.
I also knew my sister-in-law as a thief. After marrying, we lived for a short time, in my husband’s former bachelor apartment behind his parents’ house. As a wedding present, Jack’s father bought us a vacant lot at 1205 West 36th and my father built a house for the two of us on the lot. Moving to the new house was a busy undertaking and we hauled the large items first. I placed all my personal items in the lower drawers of an old dresser that would remain in the apartment, planning to pick them up the next day.
When I returned to pick up my personal items I noticed my small clock—a gift from a high school boyfriend, Tommy Tatum, was missing. I searched everywhere but couldn’t find the crème-colored table clock whose alarm was a music box that sweetly played “Oh, what a beautiful Morning.” Ten years later, while still married to Jack, I attended a family gathering at my sister-in-law’s house. Walking through the master bedroom to use the bathroom, I was stunned to see my clock sitting on a table next to my sister-in-law’s bed. Apparently she went inside our apartment on moving day, looked through my personal items, and took my clock.
“Regrets, I’ve had a few…” and yes, I regret not confronting my sister-in-law that day. Still the “nice” girl, I actually felt sorry for her, embarrassed she would knowingly take something that didn’t belong to her. That day, I reluctantly walked away from my precious clock—so out of place among the surrounding clutter.
Nearly a decade after my divorce and my move from Pine Bluff, my former television boss and I met for lunch. We reminisced about many things but mostly about the good times we shared--working together in television. My friend as well as my boss, Rudy Garrett delighted in sharing one nugget of information he knew would surprise me: “Sally, soon after you resigned as Director and Host for KATV’s Morning Show, your ex-sister-in-law-- I think her name was Karen--showed up at the station and applied for your position.” I laughed. Yes, my ex-sister-in-law certainly had the guts of an over-aged stripper.
I recall a country club charity event where I overheard her telling a visiting theatrical agent, “After my children are grown, I intend to be a Broadway star.” Bless her heart, she may have wanted the stage, the praise, and the applause… but she failed to recognize her limitations. Karen Terry Perdue failed to see that she lacked a valuable commodity called TALENT.
As my Grandmother Heist liked to say: “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”