THE ELEPHANT ON THE PAGE

Apr 4, 2024by tracey Comments

I know I have been cryptic, and mostly silent (especially for me) for a very long time.

I can’t tell you how much or little I have written.  But I can tell you exactly how long it’s been since I went quiet.

I’ve been hushed for over a year and half.

Twenty months almost –  to the day.

That’s eighty-six weeks.

Six hundred and five days.

Fourteen thousand five hundred and twenty hours.

871,200 minutes…………….

I imagine that is the way people break down prison sentences.  And for every one of those six hundred and five days, the first thing I thought about in the morning, and the last thing I thought every night – was prison.

 Honestly, in so many ways, minus the bars, my life felt like a prison sentence.

But, let me back track to when and what I promised to tell you about.

If you’ve followed this blog with any regularity, you know we moved out to California for what was to be one year during COVID.

It was partially for what I called the “experiment” a stab at seeing if we could live at least part of the year in California.  But it was mostly to take care of and oversee the death of my mother.

I thought mom would last six to eight months.  She passed away two months after we got there.  My father followed her one month to the day.

COVID marched on and we stayed.  We started to like LA. At least we liked the house we were in.  We liked being near Taylor and Randall, our daughter and son-in-law.

We liked it enough that in the summer of 2022, we sold our beloved home in Sag Harbor with an eye on buying the house in LA.  A deal I knew I was making with the devil.

I always knew two things about the house in Sag Harbor, that we should never sell it, because if something catastrophic happened, or if I was alone, I could afford to live there comfortably. And that the community was sophisticated enough, and we had enough of a life there to sustain us. I believe that to this day.

I knew this as I put 26 years of our life into boxes. I had lived in that house longer than any other.  The home cradled the best memories of my family and thus my life. I knew it as I closed the door and we drove away.  I sobbed all the way back to the city.

I remember begging Glenn to give them back the money.  End the deal. I really didn’t want the house in Los Angeles.  And what if it didn’t inspect and we couldn’t buy it? We would be homeless.

He told me the deal was done and we flew back to LA on June 15th, 2022.  Leaving Sag Harbor behind.

On June 17th the house in LA fell through.  It didn’t inspect. It was a disaster in every way.  Down to black mold.

And there we were having sold our home of twenty-six years.  We had to be out of the house in LA by the end of month.

I had bought a wreck of an apt the summer before in the city. It needed a lot of work, none of which had begun.

We were as I had predicted – homeless.  I knew we could afford to get ourselves something, but the world felt like it was unraveling.  Little did I know what was to come.

On June 22, 2022, Lucy and I went to look at a temporary apartment that rented by the month in LA. We figured it would tie us over until the apartment was ready in six months.

We drove home to tell Glenn about it.  Between that and stays in hotels we should be able to work it out.

Except on June 21, 2022, he had received a call from the district attorney in NY.  He had been indicted. He was facing four felony counts. Four.

I remember too little from the hours that followed to be able to properly recount them.

I felt the floor fall away. I felt the room spin. I remember screaming what for?  What have you done?

He said he hadn’t done a thing – but they were indicating him for the Don Henley lyrics.  The Don Henley lyrics??????? You sold them like hundred years ago. Ten” he corrected me.

“What’s happened with them? What’s going on?”

“I haven’t a clue” he said.

But.But.But. But. But. Nothing made sense.

Two weeks later Glenn flew to New York to be arraigned. I didn’t even know what that meant.  I had to Google it. I know it makes me sound stupid. I didn’t know what the Grand Jury was either. Little known fact – few do, unless they’ve sat one or been a part of one.

In a year and eight months of more bad moments than good – Of all the hideous things that happened and  were said. Of being belittled and maligned by people. Not to mention the huge hit we took on our life savings and his forty-year old beyond successful business. The worst moment was the day he was arraigned.

The girls and I stayed in LA. We were told all sorts of thigs would not happen that in fact ended up happening.  We were out of touch with him. We knew he would be in court. We knew he would have to turn himself in.   We didn’t know if he would be put in a cell. He was. We did not know he would be handcuffed. He was. Along with the other legal procedures I was ignorant of  I had also never heard the term perp walk.

I watch no legal TV.

Other little known fact, most states don’t do the perp walk. It’s big in NYC.  And the only other country that has a grand jury is Liberia. Both antiquated and used to humiliate people of color.

We finally got a call from him when he was out of court. He was shaken up.  But in true Glenn style, a good sport.

May I take a moment here to say he has been the best sport throughout this. I have not. I have railed and hailed and yelled and screamed. I might have frightened Lear had he witnessed my performances. I wanted to run away. I wanted to stay and fight. I told him he’d ruined my life. I told him I would stick by him till the end. He never wavered.

He was innocent. And he was going to beat this.

Sometimes I would respond with,  “you are delusional. You are up against the government.”

Back to the day of hell, he said that he was on his way to meet a friend for a drink. He didn’t want to give us a lot of details, but would when he came home the next day. I think he didn’t want to upset us.

He was off the grid for a few hours.  But the girls and I were glued to the computer.  Being this was The Eagles, there had to be press. But how bad would that press be?

Nothing can prepare you for seeing your husband and in the girl’s case – father, handcuffed and dragged through a jail surrounded by big burly guards packing guns. They made him look like a serial killer. The man had done nothing.

When we saw that photo, we all broke down screaming NOOOOOOOOO.

And the one New York Times  photo and article suddenly morphed into hundreds before our eyes.  Every paper was picking it up. Even in Europe.

I finally got myself together and called him and told him to stop whatever he was  doing. I told him to go back to his hotel. Call his lawyer.  They had to do damage control and fast.

But another thing you learn when the GOVT comes after you, there is no damage control available.  They want you down and they want you out. They want to make you so miserable and broken you will plea to something you did not do. More than 90% of criminal convictions in this country end in plea bargains. Do the math on how many of those are just people who can’t take the abuse any longer. Can’t afford any more hour of representation. Just want it all to end.

At that moment nothing in the world made any sense at all.

And without going into legal detail nothing made sense until we got to trial six hundred and five days later.

I could sit here and tell you about the things we learned. I could tell you about how  I learned to read Grand Jury minutes, legal motions, speak and understand a small part of the language of what America calls its justice system. I could tell you I was the only wife that showed up at every single court hearing.

But I am not willing or yet able to dig deep enough into details to start sharing them.  I am saving that for a bigger project.

But what I can tell you is when the government comes after you,  they are out to destroy. Whether they have evidence or not.

I can tell you I knew Glenn was one hundred percent innocent.

I can tell you  twenty of our friends stood by us.  I call them the Golden Circle.  And I will love them and stand by them forever. I don’t know how we would have gotten through this without them.

I can tell you about the abject cruelty that was hurled our way.

I can tell you we live in a country where we are not innocent until proven guilty.  We are guilty until proven innocent.

 While I was accused of nothing, I might as well have been.  I was roadkill. And I am not making myself a victim here.  I was abandoned in every way except for those few wonderful people who stood by me.

We were abandoned. For Glenn it was worse as he struggled to keep his business alive. For me it was worse in a different way my life was ripped away from me.

I could not, would not write. I was silenced. Yes, I could have written about banal things. But, when your life is hijacked by something like this, the impulse to write about what lipstick you are loving or what art show to see is so trivial I could not bring myself to do it. And frankly, I was going nowhere and doing nothing. So, there was little to write about.

I sat in bed staring at Otter Pond, clutching my little blind dog much of the time.

If you’ve followed me, you know me.  I tend to write about the truth that is going on around me, or how I perceive it. And this was all that existed in my world. This non truth was now my truth. And I was not allowed to even discuss it or defend myself or my family.

I went private on Instagram. I became terrified if a jury member googled me, my moderately liberal politics, my open ended honesty and perspective on life, could work against Glenn.

Might one misunderstood word bring my innocent husband down?  This is the way your brain works when in this situation.

The night he was indicted I went to bed at seven. Something I would do for months and months. Sleep. Naps. I have never napped so much in my life. I think I slept through three quarters of August 2022.

I did find us a place to live. We did return to Sag Harbor. In the last twenty months we have moved five times. But always have kept something in Sag Harbor.

The apartment I bought with money I got from my mother’s estate; didn’t take six months to fix up, it took over eighteen. We basically moved in a month before the trial.

Oh, and the trial, it was postponed six times. Just when you think, OK, maybe in three weeks life would return to normal, no – hold on, your Sept 16th date is now October 23. Your October 23 is now December 12th and on and on.

 

And people would say the most ridiculous things. Let me tell you the most annoying thing several people, supposed friends said to me.

“You are the strongest person I know, if anyone can get through this you can.”

The perpetually perky socialite who first said this to me, though she was not the last, really meant, you are so strong you don’t need me to show up for you. Which she didn’t.

I’m  a writer. Remember?  Subtext is my second language.

And how do you know how strong I am?  I’ve cried more in the last twenty months than I have in my entire life. Crying and napping.

Half the time I was a warrior for justice, the other half a toddler with narcolepsy.

I went from a size six to a size zero. Without Ozempic.

Outside of the Golden Circle we were invited nowhere.

I started refusing to go most public  places, at least in the city.  I didn’t want to take the chance of what people might say if they saw us. And having to endure the whispers of nosey, uninformed idiots was something I could not face.

And one of the endless problems when you are embroiled in something like this is, you can’t set people straight. You can’t share the facts as you know them. You are not allowed to defend yourself.

And sadly, in this country unless you have real money, you can’t afford to defend yourself.  The best lawyers cost a lot. We were lucky with one of the best there is, and with him came his extraordinary team.  But jails all over the US are overflowing because many can’t afford bail or a proper lawyer who really works for them.

I’m not going to walk you through the trial. The bizarre twists and turns. The endless things that made no sense. There is a lot written online about it. And there is much more to come.

Though on my list of things and people I want nothing to do with ever again, many newspapers are on that list.

We hear that what we are reading is not the truth.  In these weird times we know much of what we consume is not the real thing.

But try sitting in a courtroom and hearing exactly what is being said and then pick up a paper and read something entirely different.

I am almost one hundred percent off news of any sort.

I am also down to my Golden Circle and have very little interest in the people who ignored me, publicly humiliated me, and left us out to rot for these twenty months. And if you add in the schadenfreude, OMG, the people so happy to see us fall – it was quite the group.

Believe me I have fantasized about outing certain people. But decided to take the high road. I now know who my real friends are, and I know the rest were transactional. And I probably knew that all along.  Not sure,   I am sure now.

If you see me walking down the street – and I don’t say hi – walk on by.

I have learned a lot.  I have learned the less said the better in most situations. Which as a writer is a bit of a conundrum. But I will figure it out as I go along.

On February 14, 2024, the jury selection began. As the potential jurors trundled in, it was decided to go with a bench trial. This means you use the judge as the adjudicator as opposed to a jury.

I’m not saying the average juror is uninformed and stupid. But this trial was so complicated,.  So old, going back forty-five years. It was supposedly a trial about theft (originally) but the supposed thief was not there.  There were so many labyrinths it was a veritable Dungeons and Dragons.

The trial officially started on February 21st and it was dismissed six business days later – before the Prosecutors had gotten halfway through their witnesses.

Judge Curtis Farber brought the whole thing to a close. Or let’s say he “allowed” the DA to bring it to a close.  In the United States  .05% of trials end this way. Total dismissal mid-trial.

 

How are we? We are step by step returning to our lives.

It does not happen overnight. You do not recover from 14,520 hours of hell in a few days.

For the first week after it was over, I kept waking up and saying to Glenn,” it feels like it’s not over.  It feels like it’s still going on.” I’ve been told I have PTSD.

The girls are doing well. In the middle of this Taylor eloped. Lucy is now engaged.

Glenn’s business is slowly returning to normal. And this is my first stab at really writing. OK, I published one thing in Air Mail.

As I write this we are on our way to Costa Rica.  This is Glenn’s first vacation in four years.

In fact, once he got back to NYC, he has never left an 89 mile radius. His passport was not taken. He could have traveled. He chose not to.

I did take a break last February with one of the top tier Golden Circle members Alex de Jong.  I came down to Costa Rica for a four-day Barre Retreat.

I fell so in love with the hotel and the country,  I promised Glenn as soon as all this shit was over, I would bring him down here as a reward.

So, that is what we are doing.  Literally our first time away together since 2019. We land in an hour and forty minutes.

I think we’ve earned it!

We are coming in for a landing now. It was a very bumpy ride.  We are getting good at dealing with  that…….