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True North - The Shocking Truth About "Yours, Mine and Ours"

Marcy writes about American life, holidays, politics and other topics. She has written hundreds of articles for online & print publications.

Review: True North, Book by Tom North

Tom North, author of True North: The Shocking Truth about "Yours, Mine and Ours."

Tom North, author of True North: The Shocking Truth about "Yours, Mine and Ours."

Book Review: Tom North Exposes the Truth About "Yours, Mine & Ours"

If you grew up in the mid-1960s, you were probably charmed by the loving family life depicted in the iconic movie, Yours, Mine and Ours, about the blended family created by Helen North and Frank Beardsley.

But how accurately was the family portrayed in the movie (which was based on Helen North Beardsley's book, Who Gets the Drumstick)?

Was the household filled with rationale parental leadership and firm, but loving guidance? Or were there dark secrets that were not mentioned in the book and that went unseen on the screen?

Tom North, one of the eight North children who were merged into one family unit with the 10 Beardsley children when Helen North married Frank Beardsley, has written a book that discloses a household he says was filled with violence and even sexual abuse after the two families became one.

As with many family violence situations, North says putting forward a good face to the public marked the code of denial and secrecy the blended family was expected to adhere to.

True North, published in July, 2013, is the sometimes heartbreaking, and very believable story of Tom North's journey from childhood memories of fear and abuse into an adulthood of recognition, bitterness, and finally of healing and renewal.

North's overriding message in the book is that those who experience childhood abuse can learn to identify their inner hurts, begin the process of healing, move forward and even forgive (as much as possible).

Scene From Movie: Grocery Shopping with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, from 1968 "Yours, Mine & Ours"

True North - The Shocking Truth About "Yours, Mine & Ours," by Tom North

The Real North-Beardsley Household from "Yours, Mine & Ours"

Tom North says the image presented on the screen (and in the book, Who Gets the Drumstick), does not even remotely resemble the household created by Frank and Helen's marriage.

According to North (Tom North's true story), life was ruled by Frank Beardsley's angry and militaristic personality. North provides specific, anecdotal (and believable, due to the level of detail) examples of a home atmosphere dominated by fear and abuse.

North was only six when his beloved father died. Dick North was only 30, and left behind a young widow, his seven children and an eighth on the way. Tom North's happy memories of his birth father are a shocking contrast to the life of violent outbursts and drinking he writes about in the Beardsley household.

Helen North married Frank Beardsley a year or so after she was widowed (and not long after Frank's wife died). According to her son, she spent considerable energy trying to protect her children from Frank's abusive behaviors. And insisting that the outside world should never be privy to what went on inside the walls of the home.

With 20 hungry people in the house (many of them with the voracious appetites teens are known to have), food was sometimes limited, and North says Frank Beardsley was generally accorded the best of each meal, while the children were given the fillers.

Indeed, 1968 audiences were stunned to see the shopping scene (included here) with a final grocery bill that topped $126 - an unheard of amount to pay for weekly groceries in that era.

Money was tight, stomachs needed to be filled, and everyone had to work. North says many people at the time assumed they were made rich by the 1968 movie; not so - the family received a modest lump-sum payment, and missed out on the actual revenue the popular film generated.

To make ends meet, the family acquired a donut shop, and all children who were old enough to help out (an age that was, it appears, determined by Frank rather than the law) were put to work making donuts.

Anyone who has ever stopped for coffee and a donut on the way to work eventually realizes that someone has to get up in the wee hours to make the dough and get them ready for hungry commuters.

Many of the children spent their teen years working hard nighttime or pre-dawn hours at the donut shop, at the same time they were attending school and trying to keep their grades alive.

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Radio Interview With Tom North from Family That Inspired Two Movies

An Iowa University (MIU) Helps Lead Tom North Home

True North: Tom North's Journey to Heal Himself

Tom North says he developed the habit of retreating to the nearby Pacific Ocean for both escape and renewal.

His untold hours in the waves and on the beach are beautifully captured in his compelling writing, and along the way, he developed skills that proved to be useful in many ways.

North learned to fish so adeptly that his catches often fed the entire large (and growing) family, offering a nice alternative to meals sometimes planned with thrift in mind rather than nutrition.

However, he also escaped in other ways, such as the dangerous drugs so often used to avoid reality by those who lived through the 60s and 70s.

Finally, after years spent avoiding his childhood memories and escaping from life, North immersed himself into a search for inner spirituality and academics, at Maharishi International University (MIU) in Fairfield Iowa.

The small, Liberal Arts environment, combined with cold winters, open-thinking professors and students launched his recovery from the past.

One wonders, after reading North's solidly portrayed accounts of being a headstrong child and teen, and of focusing on escape for so many years, whether MIU may have saved his life.

It is certain, from reading North's passage from bitterness to inner peace, that it likely saved his heart and spirit.

Toxic Parents: Susan Forward's Book on Child Abuse

The North Family Heals From Shocking Years of Abuse

North's book is so filled with interesting experiences that it could easily have been three books rather than the one (very well-written) volume he has published.

Toward the conclusion of the book, after he has allowed his own soul to heal, Tom North describes his efforts to create peace between the children in the family and Frank Beardsley.

Frank Beardsley, as described in the book, clearly had issues with inappropriate behavior to some of the children, as well as with anger and violence.

Tom North coordinates with his siblings to arrange some group meetings with any of the family members who choose to attend.

While the meeting doesn't appear to have forged lasting familial ties, North describes an emotional scene of forgiveness toward Frank that any victim of domestic abuse can, perhaps, relate to - either through a similar experience, or for longing for one.

Still later, the North siblings meet at their mother's gravesite, where emotions also run high. Anyone who has read Toxic Parents, by Susan Forward, knows that parental abuse generally includes the abuser and the 'silent partner' - the one who allowed things to happen and did not prevent them. The emotions this creates in an adult victim of child abuse are conflicting and difficult to handle.

Book Review and Recommendation of True North - The Shocking Truth About "Yours, Mine & Ours"

True North is definitely worth a read, especially for any person whose childhood included abuse, and who lived in a household where that issue was sidestepped and denied.

North's forthright discussion of his own journey can help those who have survived abuse but perhaps not healed or forgiven identify pathways within themselves to their hurts, and ways to deal with the pain and start the recovery process.

As with those who are addicted to alcohol and drugs, those who have longtime soul-injuring hurts will probably always be in recovery.

Tom North tells the reader this is okay, and 'you are not alone.'

North's writing is engaging, entertaining (and even funny at times), and keeps you turning the page. He is a good story-teller, and I recommend this book to those who want to find themselves, and who want to know the truth behind the fairytale movie.

In an effort to help others, Tom North continues to blog about his experiences and the process of healing. He says his goal is to help others recognize their inner pain from childhood trauma and abuse, and to move on.

Cast from 1968 Movie, "Yours, Mine & Ours"

Lucille Ball with the cast of children in 1968's Yours, Mine & Ours.

Lucille Ball with the cast of children in 1968's Yours, Mine & Ours.

1968 Movie of "Yours, Mine and Ours"

For those who might be unfamiliar with the 1968 classic film (starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda), the movie captured audiences of all ages with its almost formulaic depiction of a couple who met after each was tragically widowed, fell in love, and merged a total of 18 children into one family.

According to the 1968 version of Yours, Mine and Ours, a war zone developed between the children in the two families (laced, of course, with screen-worthy humor), and the tension was straddled and overcome through loving, tender, but firm parenting from Frank Beardsley and Helen North Beardsley.

While the on-screen conflict between the children in the two families was undoubtedly exaggerated, even more exaggerated, according to Tom North, was the atmosphere of love and support, and the manner in which his mother depicted Frank Beardsley's personality in the book on which the movie was based.

The movie, of course, ends in typical 'happily ever after,' with Helen and Frank welcoming the first of two additional children they would have as a couple.

By the time child number 19 is born, all 18 blended children had (movie-style) begun to relate well as acquired siblings, love their respective step-parents, and life was generally good.

Some Notes on 2005 Version of the Movie:

Just to clarify, for those who may have seen the 2005 movie version, starring Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo, the 'remake' of the 1968 family classic is even more removed from the true story, the book, and even from reality.

The 2005 version of Yours, Mine and Ours defies logic in its absurd stunts and predictable fiascos. Quaid is his usual oh-so-cute romantic lead (no complaint here), and Russo is adorable as well, but the movie does not do justice to the original 1968 film.

In this version, Quaid has eight children (all his own), and Russo has 10. To be politically correct, and, apparently to appeal to the widest audience possible, several of her children are adopted, from every possible ethnic group the writers could cram into one story. This is fine, but seems to exist mostly for superficial reasons rather than to explore the depth such a blended family could inspire on the screen.

Oh yeah - there's the pig. I am not sure why they included a domesticated pig in the plot or cast, but there you go.

Final Thoughts:

The original Yours, Mine & Ours is one of my all-time favorite movies. It captured a happy and loving family life that I never knew as a child. I have watched it many times, and I still enjoy it (Tom North acknowledges it is a fun movie, too). But as with many others, I bought into the fiction, too. It offered a glimpse of what might have been in a family other than my own.

I still love the 1968 movie, and I have somewhat enjoyed the schtick in the 2005 version. But I am glad I learned of and read Tom North's book. I can now replace the longing I have known for the 60s movie family for the comfort of knowing there's a way to grow and heal after abuse, and we are not alone.


Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on November 13, 2015:

Sorry I missed this; a mystery from the past, no less. I think it would be a great read this winter. Thanks for bringing it to light and so glad I came across it!


Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on June 12, 2015:

Hi, Nadine - thanks for your comments and votes! I know what you mean about realizing Hollywood spins books to make the movies more commercial. In the 40s-60s, those movies were a bit more faithful to the books, but they still took liberties. Now, there are some versions that are hard to recognize. The original book here was not a novel (novels are generally fiction) - it was a non-fiction book touted to be the true story of how the family blended. There were many news stories about the marriage and tons of 'Happy Family' photos.

Even with the obvious Hollywood take on the story (I agree - we knew even then that some things were stretched), the sales pitch was that the family was 'happy,' and of course that fit the American Dream. I recall news stories after the movie that even claimed the step-sibling battles in the movie were made up, and that all the kids were very eager for the two families to become one.

It saddened me to read Tom North's book - it's realistic and rings true, and that's even sadder. I always knew the 'perfect family' image was partly the product of Hollywood, but nothing was ever revealed to indicate the family may have been far less than perfect - North's book clearly puts it in Dysfunction Junction.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on June 12, 2015:

I do not watch many movies, but if I do, and the movie is based on a novel, I know already that the movie is a Hollywood version of the book, so I do NOT take it seriously. Many thanks for your in depth & interesting review. Voted up!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 24, 2015:

That clip is so classic, Maggs! I first saw the movie long ago, and the $126.63 seemed like a fortune! The prices per item sure don't look like today's world.

A piece of trivia - in the book, we learn that the family was able to get classified in a way that allowed them to get wholesale prices. I think the commissary on the base assisted with this.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 24, 2015:

Thanks, Maggs - I'm glad the review had helpful information!

maggs224 from Sunny Spain on April 24, 2015:

I have just watched the video clip of the 1968 movie it was fascinating to see that everything being rung up by the guy at the till cost under a dollar. The whole bill for all that stuff only came to $126.63 and so now I am nostalgic for those sort of prices lol...

maggs224 from Sunny Spain on April 24, 2015:

I had not heard of this film until I read this review, but the background that you provided is excellent. I loved Lucille Ball and I am sure that I would have loved the original movie had I seen it.

In real life, I should imagine that each of the 18 children would have their own unique take on that time.

I loved the idealised feel good family based movies and shows that seemed to abound in the 1960s. I think because they achieved what they set out to do, they made you feel good.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this review, the book sounds interesting. If only all reviews were this well written, then more people would be running to read the books reviewed.

Voting up and hitting the relevant buttons on my way out :D

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on April 01, 2015:

Thanks, Pamela! If you ever have a chance to see the original movie from the 60s, I recommend it - even though it is (apparently) fiction, it's just a feel-good movie and one you could let kids, grandkids and even great-grandmother watch. As with you, my childhood had problems, and I agree that healing is essential. Tom North worked hard to get past those years, and I'm glad he wrote about the truth.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 01, 2015:

I am so surprised I never saw this movie, but while my childhood wasn't quite that violent it certainly had problems. It is important to heal those childhood wounds or they follow you throughout your life. You did an excellent job explaining the movie and telling us about the author. Very interesting hub.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on March 05, 2015:

Hi, Audrey - thanks for reading this - yes, it made me sad, too - the first version of that movie was my 'dream' of how family life should be. I still love it - but it's so sad to realize there's a lot of fiction in the 'love' they seemed to share. Tom North was kind enough to let me review the book - I looked into it the minute I heard it was coming out - I can practically repeat the dialogue in the first movie word for word, so I was very in tune with what we'd been sold about the family.

Audrey Howitt from California on March 05, 2015:

Oh this makes me sad! This must have been so very difficult--both during the growing up years and later for the children as they faced healing and moving on--

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on January 14, 2015:

Cathy - I am not part of the True North family - I just reviewed the book (and mentioned the movies). Check Facebook for Tom North's page, or a page that references the book - I know there's one on the site.

Hope you reach him - and thanks for reading the review here!

Cathy Fields Penn on January 14, 2015:

Do you remember The Fields John Cathy Cindy Cole Debbie And Celia. In my family there are 16 children. PLEASE get hold of me.

On Facebook!! I want to catch up.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on December 30, 2014:

Hi, Writer Fox - thanks for your comments here! Yes, the original movie from the 60s is indeed a "Brady Bunch" type of scenario - in fact, it's thought that the movie helped inspire that series. If you ever see the earlier Yours, Mine and Ours on TV, it's still a heartwarming movie - and it's so sad that it's been painted unrealistically. The later movie is silly and full of overblown gimmicks - I guess we get our choice between schmaltz and stupidity.

I agree - the children in the real family must have felt the movie was surrealistic. I would love to see Tom North's book made into a movie; I agree, its story is worth telling.

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on December 30, 2014:

How sad that the truth about this family is only coming to light now! I never saw this movie, but it sounds like something along the lines of the 'Brady Bunch.'

It's significant that the victims of child abuse never forget their torment and their early experiences affect them the rest of their lives.

It must have been difficult for all of those children to grow up with the entire world believing in the fantasy portrayal of their family. Maybe the true story will be made into a movie, because your book review here suggests that it is a captivating story.

Enjoyed and voted up!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on February 02, 2014:

Hi, Nell - thanks for dropping by and commenting. This was a really popular 'feel good' movie years ago, and the remake is okay, but a bit juvenile. Everyone believed the original was an authentic, true-life story, though - and as Tom North says, there's another, much darker, side to it. He's been brave to share his story.

Nell Rose from England on February 02, 2014:

Hi Marcy, I must admit that I have never heard of Yours Mine and Ours before, but abuse in any family especially behind the 'scene's so to speak is awful and sorry to hear that what happened was so different from what people believed, nell

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on January 16, 2014:

Hi, Suzette - thank you for your feedback on the hub. I was saddened, too, when I read the book (I hope you get a chance to read it). Tom North's writing rings true, and as hard as it was for me to let go of my 'fantasy family,' I do believe what he tells us happened. He has some valuable tips on recovering and going forward in a healthier way. It's a good read.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on January 16, 2014:

Wow! How sad the children had to experience the dichotomy of the movie, fantasy and their family life, harsh reality. That is difficult on kids and the denial of their abuse so harmful and shameful. I'm glad this man wrote the true story about all this. It was a different era when these original family's blended. Thanks for a great book review!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on December 26, 2013:

Hi, WriterJanis - that was sad for me, too - it's one of my favorite movies. I was glad to know the author of this book thought the movie we both love was at least good entertainment. It's still one of my favorite movies (the 1968 version), but I think of it as a movie now rather than a 'real story.' Tom North's book resonates as being true, sad as that is. I think he's done a great service by relating the struggles he went through, and how he overcame the abuse. It's a very well-written book - hope you have a chance to read it.

Janis from California on December 26, 2013:

I love this movie. It's sad to find out that the real life situation was so different than the movie.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on October 10, 2013:

Many thanks, ChitrangadaSharan, for reading, commenting, and for the kind words! We have a great community here on this site, dint we?

This was one of my all-time favorite movies,too - and it's still my role model for a happy family. I was sad to read that the truth was not as pleasant as the movie was.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 09, 2013:

Hi Marcy Goodfleisch!

First of all, let me congratulate you, for the well deserved Hubbie award--


I enjoyed going through this hub of yours as well. Very well written review of yesteryears movies and the book by Tom North. I have seen the movie Yours, mine and ours on Television. I remember watching the cute Lucy and just loved it.

Thanks and Congratulations, once again!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on September 01, 2013:

Thanks, Sharyn! It's one of my all-time favorite movies, too (I have almost memorized the script - I have it he DVD). Tom North's book was an eye-opener, but as with you, it won't change my enjoyment of that charming movie. I may consider it more as fiction, now, though.

Sharon Smith from Northeast Ohio USA on September 01, 2013:

Anytime I am asked what is my favorite movie, I always respond with "Yours, Mine and Ours- the original version." It has been my favorite for as long as I can remember. This book review will probably not change my response but I do feel a little differently now. But what impresses me the most is this awesome, very well written review Marcy!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on July 16, 2013:

Hope you get a chance to track down the movie, Melovy - it's fun and clean entertainment - rare in today's world. Definitely check out the book. It has many lessons of self awareness.

Yvonne Spence from UK on July 16, 2013:

I have never heard of this film or family before, but this was a very interesting read and now I'd like to both watch and read! This is a thorough review Marcy.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on July 15, 2013:

Hi, Alicia - so glad you liked the review! The 1968 movie is one of my true favorites - I actually have the DVD. So I was very eager to read Tom North's book, and I am glad I did. I hope you get the book as soon as you can, it's believable, and it doesn't sugarcoat the challenges of having 18 kids in a household (and later 20 kids). Let us know what you think of the book!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 15, 2013:

I saw the 1968 movie and thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't know that it was (loosely) based on a real life story. Thank you very much for all the information, Marcy. This is an interesting hub! I'll look for the book that you've reviewed.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on July 15, 2013:

Thanks, Elias - I hope you get a chance to view the movie, and definitely a chance to get the book. Tom North is very engaging in the book; I think you'll like it!

Elias Zanetti from Athens, Greece on July 15, 2013:

An interesting hub, Marcy and a well written article as well. It was a nice introduction to both the book, the movie and to the author.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on July 15, 2013:

Oh, bravewarrior - you are truly fortunate! I am so glad you never saw that sort of thing; it is something from which you never completely recover (IMO); you simply learn better ways to move forward, heal the parts of yourself that are left, and live with in more forgiving ways. Thanks for reading and commenting here!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on July 15, 2013:

I completely agree, sligobay! It's a catchy title, and very appropriate for this book. The book launches today, and I have been sending up prayers for its success. Tom North has done many people a service by writing about it.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on July 15, 2013:

Oh, I am so sorry your family had to deal with that sort of issue. I agree - the scars and fallout from that sort of thing lasts for decades. You are a brave and strong person, to move forward and have the courage to talk about those things, sligobay.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on July 15, 2013:

Hi, Teaches12345 - I agree completely about the 2005 version of the film. It was spoof-ish and improbable, but I guess it appeals to the audiences today (although the film didn't get good reviews). I'm glad you liked the information in this article - thanks for commenting!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 15, 2013:

Marcy, I had no idea "Yours, Mine and Ours" was based on a real family. I saw the 1968 version but not the 2005. I didn't even know the original was re-made. I probably wouldn't have watched it anyway because I find Renee Russo to be a very dull actress.

It saddens me to hear of parental abuse in any form. I'm fortunate to have no clue what that must feel like. I grew up in a very loving, supportive family. Although my mother remarried when I was 8, our new dad never saw my brother and I as anything other than his own children. He was and still is the epitome of a loving father.

Great article, Marcy. It's sad the subject matter was an appalling reality.

sligobay from east of the equator on July 15, 2013:

Hi Marcy. I think that the title: "True North" is brilliant and clever. Credit Tom or his publishers, but that is the subliminal factor which caused me to read your review. Cheers.

sligobay from east of the equator on July 14, 2013:

Sexual abuse can happen outside the family as it did with me and visited my dysfunction from guilt and shame upon the rest of the family and none of us knew what hit us. My family is still reeling in its wake of chaos four decades later.

Dianna Mendez on July 14, 2013:

I saw the 2005 version and found it lacked quality and did not carry the theme as well as the original. Interesting background on the author of the book. Thanks for the education.

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on July 14, 2013:

Hi, Sligobay - many thanks for reading and commenting, and for your kind words! Cheaper by the Dozen was great, too (and a true story). The Brady Bunch is classic TV sitcom - and was so dear to several generations.

You make a good point - we can see the dysfunction in our own families, and when we read something that registers with those experiences, we instinctively feel the words are true. I feel Tom North has written an accurate account of what he experienced, and I think he's done a great service to those of us who know the reality of domestic abuse in any form.

sligobay from east of the equator on July 14, 2013:

Hello Marcy. This is my first venture to your Hubs and I am pleased to find you to be an excellent writer. Like Billybuc, I don't remember seeing this film but saw Cheaper by the Dozen and the Brady Bunch as representative blended families. Knowing the dysfunction of my own large unblended family assures me that large is not better. Is there such a thing as a functional family? This is splendidly written and compels me to fill the cultural gap and view both versions of "Yours, Mine and Ours" and to read "True North". Great write!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on July 14, 2013:

Hi, Billy! Yes, you are definitely culturally deprived! This movie is a classic, and it's just plain clean entertainment. I always thought of it as my 'ideal' family, so I had to get past that part when I read the book. But I have separated the two, now. Hope you get a chance to see the movie - it's so cute & gives you a warm/fuzzy feeling. And you'll enjoy the blast from the past with some of the cast members. Lucy is a favorite of mine, too. It also has a very young Tracy Nelson (like - maybe 3-4 years old), and Tim Mathison (sp?) when he was 18 or 19. And a few others.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 14, 2013:

How very interesting. What is really interesting to me is that I never saw this is that possible? I love Lucille Ball. I need to rectify this deficiency soon. Thanks Marcy!

Marcy Goodfleisch (author) from Planet Earth on July 13, 2013:

@ To Start Again: Thanks for your very thoughtful comment, To Start Again - as with you, the book won't change how much I love Ball and Fonda in the movie, but it certainly affects the way I pictured the family. I guess I needed the wake-up call about those things. I found Tom's book very inspiring, and it resonated with me.

@ fpherj48 - thanks, as always, for reading and commenting! I think you will very much enjoy the book. It is an eye-opener, and a good read.

@ drbj - many thanks! The book had an impact on me, too. Maybe I needed to see it more as fiction rather than what coulda-shoulda been in my childhood.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on July 13, 2013:

Fascinating review, Marcy. I can never again view that first film about the Norths in the same way. Voted up, m'dear.

Suzie from Carson City on July 13, 2013:

Marcy.....Thank you for this in depth & interesting review. I appreciate you choosing my next book for me! This is very much in line with what I enjoy reading. I applaud Mr. North and can appreciate his journey toward healing. His book should prove to be most inspiring to others with similar background.....UP+++

Selina Kyle on July 13, 2013:

Wow. I loved the original Yours, Mine and Ours and have seen it many times. It made me want to be a part of a huge family like that. When I was little, shows like "19 kids and counting" weren't on TV and large families like the North/Beardsleys were a novelty. The movie made it all look so fun, so effortless. It was like The Brady Bunch on steroids. I grew up assuming step families simply blended and got along (for the most part) great. But hearing that Tom had such a strikingly different experience than his mother allowed the public to believe is shocking and a bit of a wake up call. As an adult, I know that families cannot always blend this way. There is hurt and anger, resentment many times and the seamless cohabitation of TV and movies is the exception many times instead of the rule. This serves more as a reminder that all you see on TV is not necessarily the truth. And a movie made about the family today might be dramatically different than the original.

I will still love Fonda and Ball's portrayal but I don't know if I will be able to watch it with the same eye. Excellent job and fantastic writing!

(PS-- in the section "the north fam heals from abuse" in the 3rd para- it says 'Frank North' instead of Beardsley. I don't usually remark on those type of things in comments but it did catch my eye and I had to stop and reread it and I would hate for anything to detract from this hub it truly was excellent!)

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