By Deborah Spungen.
Adapted for the
News Of The World (Dec 4th & 11th 1983), from “And I Don’t Want
To Live This Life” (published by Corgi).
A childhood of tantrums
NANCY’S problems—-and ours—began the minute she was born on February
27, 1958. She was jaundiced and needed an immediate blood transfusion.
From the beginning it seemed to us that she screamed and cried too
much. And then there were the tantrums—her little body tensing,
stiffening like a board—and all the while screaming her heart out.
She was just three
months old when she was given her first sedative.
The doctor probably
thought I was a selfish annoying mother and the drugs would stop my
complaining, Unfortunately It only covered up the real problem.
As a toddler, Nancy was
deeply disturbed. She turned her home into a battleground with her
terrifying tantrums. She was four when she saw her first psychiatrist.
When she was 11 she
attacked me with a hammer because I wouldn’t take her to a museum.
"Take me’ or I’ll kill you.” she raged.
In her fury Nancy would
smash rooms to pieces. At other times she’d just sit and wail: “I want
Her childhood was spent
in and out of schools for disturbed children.
She was 13 and at one
such school when she first tried drugs.
BY the time she was 15,
the daughter I loved was a heroin addict. Drugs gave her the oblivion
Doctor after doctor
stuck his head in the sand. Each one rejected Nancy after a few months
and told us: “Take her somewhere else.”
It wasn’t until she was
15 that she was diagnosed as schizophrenic.
Two Years later we
decided we could cope no longer and she would have to leave home.
Tragic end to a long
SlD VICIOUS appeared in
court charged with murder in November, 1978. He pleaded not guilty—but
he too was to die before the court would have the chance to decide.
It was just a
preliminary hearing and I was dreading the full trial. I knew what
would be said about Nancy.
They called her
Nauseating Nancy. The stories of her murder made it sound like she only
got what she deserved — like a rape victim wearing a provocative dress
“asks far it.”
In life she was regarded
as a distasteful celebrity, in death, a freak.
No one wanted to know
about Nancy’s pain, her sadness, her sensitivity.
I wanted to run to the
highest roof into scream “Nancy was my baby! No matter what she became,
she didn’t deserve to be treated this way”
But I couldn’t fight any
more. I ached too much from our tortured life with Nancy.
Frank and I were
summoned to the District Attorney’s office to meet Allen Sullivan, who
would be prosecuting. He treated us like criminals.
For two hours he threw
questions at us about Nancy, her life-style and our relationship with
her. If we didn’t know the answers, he pressed us, bullied us,
He even asked us If we’d ever been arrested.
When we said we hadn’t he made it clear he didn’t believe us.
Meanwhile Sid stayed in
the news. In the second week of December he was jailed again for
allegedly slashing a man’s face with a broken beer bottle.
His former manager
Malcolm McLaren, the man who launched the Sex Pistols in Britain, was
quoted as saying: “ Sid is hell-bent on living up to his image.”
The following February
Sid was again out on bail. He celebrated with a party in Greenwich
Village on February 1st.
About midnight he
decided to shoot up some heroin. It was too much and he died in his
sleep (Feb. 2nd). He was 21 years old.
His death was ruled an
Immediately she heard
the news, Sid’s mother rang me. She wanted to know if she could bury
Sid next to Nancy. I was too shocked to say anything other than “No.”
But with Sid’s death I
realised the nightmare was over. There’d be no trial and we’d be left
We moved house. I wanted
rooms Nancy had never lived in, chairs she’d never sat in.
And when we’d done that
I could finally cry—uncontrollable torrents of grief for my baby.
Since then Frank and I
have set up a fund to raise cash for other children addicted to drugs.
Its too late for my
Nancy, but for the others - and for the parents who blame
themselves—there is hope. With my book I wanted to tell them that.
Any drug crime lawyer Columbus knows that drug addiction can lead to the perpetration of more serious crimes. Recent statistics show one third of crimes were committed in order to get drugs or get money for drugs.
and compiled by Phil Singleton.
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Sex Pistols ©Phil Singleton / www.sex-pistols.net 2006
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