This story will be excerpts from an article by Herbert Dyer Jr. The story itself is about a young woman by the name of “Mary Williams”, who is African-American, and was adopted by Jane Fonda when she was 14 years old. But it’s the last part, Mr. Dyer’s opinions that made me return to my youth and remember the emotions of the time.
Ms. Williams has written a book titled “The Lost Daughter”. She was living in Oakland, California, in the ghetto.
At the time, Fonda was married to Tom Hayden. They ran a summer camp, and when Mary showed up the first time, Fonda said she knew she was special. She returned for several years, and then one year she wasn’t there.
Fonda went to her home. Mary had already been raped once at age 14. Mary was made an offer. She could come and live with the Fonda family in Santa Monica on two conditions. Her mother had to agree, and she had to bring up her grades.
“Her grades were failing. I mean … this is a hugely smart person, but she was failing. I said, ‘If you bring your grades up … by the end of the year and your mother permits you, you come down and live with us in Santa Monica,’” Fonda, 75, said.
Mary said Fonda literally saved her life. She was dying.
“I literally felt like I was dying. I really did,” she said. “And when I saw that opportunity, I ran. I ran for it.”.
Apprehensive, at first, Mary was raised with complete equality to Fonda’s biological children. They both say that what began as a friendship, progressed to a full relationship as an adopted daughter.
During that time, Mary was having problems. She began alienating herself from those she loved most, especially Ms. Fonda. When Mary became consciously aware of what she was doing, she, together with Fonda began to face her issues, primarily the most serious, her relationship with her biological mother.
“Three of us went to lunch … You know, me, white, privileged, movie star. And this woman who’s had a really rough life, she didn’t seem to be angry, she didn’t seem to be resentful. She has a good sense of humor,” Fonda said.
Today, Mary is a confident and accomplished young woman. She says she is grateful for the education she received, and the “people skills” she learned from Fonda.
The following are Mr. Dyer’s opinions, verbatim:
Before the Jane Fonda haters chime in, know this: I did five tours in Vietnam. How many did you do? Yes, yes…I was in the Navy, stationed aboard a 508-foot long troop transport, and my foot never actually touched Vietnamese soil. But still, I was there, five to ten miles off the coast, and technically “in harm’s way.” Close enough to warrant “combat pay.” Close enough, indeed, I thought at the time.
I’ve always admired Jane Fonda. But I was disappointed to learn just last week that she has said that her support for the Viet Cong during the war was the biggest mistake of her life. Most of the guys I served with hated that war; hated being forced to fight it; and hated Richard Nixon.
But we loved Jane Fonda. She was our star-studded heroine, “Fightin’ Jane.” She not only actively opposed the war, but she was on the right side of both the black power and civil rights movements.
She once said that her greatest regret was not sleeping with Che Guevara when she had the chance.
But now, as an old woman, she has recanted her “revolutionary” past, chalking up her “mistakes” to “youthful indiscretion.”
Sorry, Jane, you have let down a whole lot of guys who looked up to you.
Your adoption and raising of Mary Williams notwithstanding.