Recently while compiling a list of currently active sites about The Family and their victims (see http://www.eviliz.com/2012/04/blogs-and-sites.html), Patty was compelled to purchase a copy of Virginia Graham's literary masterpiece after seeing it on Cielodrive.com.
Patty was disappointed in some ways because there's not a lot of information about The Family in it aside from what has been written about before: Virginia almost rented the house on Cielo Drive, Virginia knew Frank Sinatra and remembers Sadie talking about killing him in a gruseome way. Nevertheless, Patty was enthralled with the kitschy 70's soft porn (Bow chicka-bow bow!) and the character Virginia presents herself to be. Furthermore, there were little hidden gems like the dedication on page 5:
"The world has talkers and doers. This is for the doers and, like Dr. Vera Dreiser and Iris Knapp, the superdoers, whom I sincerely admire and respect. I dedicate this book to you."
Now y'all know where the Vera Dreiser we've seen around got his or her nom de plume. Interesting, no? On page 244, Dr. Dreiser is described as follows:
"I put in a request to be transferred to a unit run by Dr. Vera Dresier, a niece of Theodore Dreiser"
(Patty's note: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Dreiser) . She was about 5'7" and weighed almost 250 pounds, a real big momma but a sharp dresser and a great woman. She was the only staff psychologist for the 900 women at Corona."
Another fun fact: Virginia's husband Carl Moreno became Ronnie Howard's significant other after he divorced Virginia. Carl was a bit-part actor who appeared in films starring Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn, according to Virginia on page 28. He was a friend of Marlon Brando's and was also present when Ronnie gave her interview to Robert Hendrickson, the transcript of which can be found in his book, "Death to Pigs." In that interview, Ronnie claims that she alone is entitled to the $25,000 reward that Virginia also talks about in this book as being rightly hers. Apparently, both women felt individually that she alone "broke the case."
When the book was published in 1974, Virginia was 42, had jumped town and was in hiding. By 2008, she was back in the spotlight when she testified against Susan Atkins' petition for compassionate medical release from prison in 2008. She will be 80 in December of this year if she is still among us, and Patty has not heard otherwise.