KAREN---THE SISTER-IN-LAW FROM HELL.
The day I married Jack Perdue, I inherited his brother’s wife, Karen, the sister-in-law from Hell. I quickly recognized her resentment of me as mean, petty jealousy. Nothing is more dangerous than a female’s jealousy toward 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 Karen began making derogatory remarks 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 front of the public.” Or, “People who are so-desperate for the spotlight are nothing more than ego-maniacs!”
One of her more stinging statements: “Frankly--Sally-- I don’t believe anyone considers you a **TV 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 specialties. Whenever we were alone…she insisted on throwing a nasty remark or two….in my direction.
Most importantly, I 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 where my father soon built us a house…for free. All Jack had to do was make a monthly house payment of 102 dollars.
Moving Day was a busy undertaking and we used company trucks to haul the large items first. I decided to place my smaller, more personal items in the bottom drawer of an old dresser that would remain in the apartment. I planned to pick them up the next morning.
Early the next day, when I returned to the apartment to claim my items, I noticed my small clock—a graduation gift from a high school boyfriend, Tommy Tatum, was missing. I searched everywhere but couldn’t find the creme-colored table clock whose alarm played “Oh, what a beautiful Morning.” The clock was very special. In fact, the clock was one of my most-classic treasures.
Ten years later--while still married to Jack, I attended a family gathering at Karen and David’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 had gone inside our apartment on moving day, looked through my personal items, and taken my clock.
“Regrets, I’ve had a few…” and yes, I regret not confronting Karen that very day. Still the “nice” girl, I actually felt sorry for her. I was embarrassed that she—knowingly-- took something of mine, something that didn’t belong to her. That day, I remained silent and walked away from my precious clock—so out of place among Karen and David’s tasteless clutter. I’m still angry with myself for not walking out of Karen’s house WITH MY CLOCK!
Nearly a decade after my divorce and my move from Pine Bluff, my former television boss and I decided to meet one day, for lunch. We reminisced about many things but mostly about the good times we’d shared together--working in television.
My friend as well as my boss, Rudy Garrett delighted in sharing one important 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 believe her name was Karen--showed up at the station one morning and applied for your position.” After a quick recovery from such "breaking news"...I laughed. Of course she did!!!! Karen---who had the guts of an over-aged stripper---wanted everything I had….from my clock to my TV Show!
I recall a country club charity event--years ago-- where I overheard Karen bragging to a visiting theatrical agent: “After my children are grown, I’ve made arrangements to be a Broadway Star. You don’t know it but I Sing, Dance, and play the Piano--even the Harp. Oh, and, I also Act.”
Bless her heart, Karen may have wanted the stage, the praise and the applause… but she failed to recognize her limitations. Karen Terry Perdue overlooked her lack of two very-valuable commodities called—LOOKS AND TALENT.
As my Grandmother Heist liked to say: “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”