THE SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT “YOURS, MINE AND OURS”
“I was six years old when my father died on June 7th, 1960. At the funeral, I watched the adults crying, wiping their faces with handkerchiefs. So I cried, too. I didn’t want to feel sad, but I sensed that this was the thing to do. I didn’t understand death. As a six-year-old-child, it was impossible to articulate the emotions I felt. It took me a while to grasp that I would never see my father again. For all of us, life took a 90 degree turn in a direction we could not have imagined.”
Tom North is one of the eight North children, who together with the ten Beardsley children, became the family which was featured in the 1968 film, “Yours, Mine and Ours” starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, and again in the 2005 version starring Rene Russo and Dennis Quaid.
“At school, the assumption in the student body was that the North-Beardsley family merger was a great success, we were very rich, and so we all became celebrities. This was also the belief in the broader community of Carmel, and for that matter, across the country. Nothing could have been further from the truth! I was constantly asked by smiling kids at school and in the neighborhood what it was like living with so many brothers and sisters. Seeing the looks of anticipation on their faces, how could I tell them that becoming a Beardsley was a demeaning, often horrific nightmare?”
The book begins in the 1950s on Whidbey Island, Washington, where Tom’s mother, Helen North, became a widow when she was just 30 years old and pregnant with her eighth child.
“Here she was, preparing to deliver another child without her husband present; something she had done before, but this time was very different. Dick North would never come home again.”
Not long after, Helen North met and married Frank Beardsley, a man with 10 children, and she moved her family to his house in Carmel, California. The North children were adopted and their names were changed to Beardsley. But, it wasn’t one big happy family as the movies depicted. The North children went from a life filled with love and happiness, to living a nightmare. The stepfather’s violence, abuse, and even sexual abuse created a life of intimidation, confusion, turmoil, fear and depression for the North children.
“While she was researching her role as Helen North Beardsley, Lucille Ball actually came to observe us for a few days, in order to get a flavor for the characters. At the end of Lucy’s first day in Frank’s presence, she approached my mother and in a serious, almost threatening tone admonished her, “You keep that man away from me.” She left and stayed at the Lodge in Pebble Beach for the duration of her visit.”
All hope seemed lost as Tom realized that he was caught in a prison and there was no way out. When he finally left home, he traveled on a journey of self-discovery, survival and healing. Years later, Tom miraculously led his family to counseling sessions where shocking truths were revealed. He then came full circle as he reclaimed his father’s name and was finally, True North.
Published by: True North Productions, LLC