The Crazy Cat Lady is the cultural stereotype (Archie McPhee even sells a Crazy Cat Lady action figure
). But this story demonstrates that there are definitely Crazy Cat Men as well.
The Daily Courier (Connellsville, Pa) — Jan 8, 1954
Mate Preferred Cats, She Left Him With Them
HARTFORD, Conn., Jan. 8 — Mrs. Joseph Gazik got a divorce in Superior Court after she said her husband liked cats so much that every time she asked him to get rid of them, he suggested that she leave instead.
Gazik didn't appear in court. He stayed home with his cats — all 20 of them.
There's in-law problems, and then there's this:
The Morning News (Wilmington, Delaware) - Sep 18, 1956
Wife Complains In-Law Under Bed
SINGAPORE, Sept. 17 — A young Chinese wife complained in court today that her mother-in-law always slept under the bed she shared with her husband.
Them Kim Kow said she had left her husband but would go back to him if her mother-in-law could be forced to sleep in a separate room.
An adjournment was asked while the court and attorneys considered the case.
Mr. Adams dared to be different. All it got him was a divorce.
The Daily Standard (Sikeston, Missouri) — Sep 16, 1960
Juicy Case. In Cincinnati, Rita Adams was awarded a divorce because her husband Earl never talked to her, just did "odd things like squeezing a tomato in my face."
I'm sure she was better off rid of that comic-book-reading weirdo.
Idaho State Journal - Oct 8, 1949
Wife Asks Divorce Because Hubby Reads Comic Books
SALT LAKE CITY — Mrs. Ida Thompson Thursday sued Henry G. Thompson for divorce because he "frequently bought comic books by the dozens and sat around and read them while refusing to help care for our baby."
In asking for a legal ending to their 16-month marriage, Mrs. Thompson requested custody of their infant child and possession of a table and chair set. Their only other possession, she said in her complaint, was a leather saddle which Thompson had bought with a loan. She said he could have the saddle.
San Bernardino County Sun - Apr 29, 1949
Marriage Fails After 64 Years; Divorce Sought
LOS ANGELES, April 28 — After 64 years of marriage, Mrs. Calogera Cassaro, 85, has decided she wants a divorce.
She sued today for dissolution of her bonds to 86-year-old Sebastian Cassaro and restraining order to keep him from molesting or threatening her.
Sebastian, she stated in her complaint, is able-bodied and she wants him to support her, but she claims that of late he has been living "in idleness, profligacy and dissipation."
Here at WU we've explored a number of odd reasons marriages have failed (such as the husband's over-fondness of horse fondling
, and a man's dislike of his wife's deformed nipples
Add to this list Alan John Miller, whose marriage didn't survive his realization that he was Jesus Christ, reincarnated. I can see how that might put a strain on a relationship.
Miller (aka Jesus) went on to found the Divine Truth
ministry in Australia. He still claims to have been Jesus and says that he remembers many details of his past life, such as his crucifixion (says it wasn't that bad). However, he doesn't remember how to speak Aramaic.
He's also found a new life partner, Mary Luck, who coincidentally happens to be Mary Magdalene, reincarnated.
More info: Times Live
Mary Luck and Alan Miller (aka Mary Magdalene and Jesus)
I'm guessing the copy editor had fun coming up with this headline...
Portsmouth Daily Times - Jan 8, 1926
Fondles Horse, But Not His Wife—She Seeks a Divorce
TOLEDO, O. Jan. 8—(United Press)—A horse is named co-respondent in a divorce suit filed here by Mrs. Johanna Uller against Wolf Uller of Wyandotte, Mich.
"My husband pays more attention to his horse than he does... to his family," Mrs. Uller charged.
"He spends hours fondling the animal and shows no affection for me," she asserted.
Joyce and Nolan Holdridge married in San Francisco on March 3, 1947. He was a watchmaker, recently out of the Navy. She was a telephone operator.
At first their marriage was a happy one, but a few months after their wedding Joyce began to grow sick. Her eyes reddened and swelled shut. She broke out in an irritating skin rash that covered her from head to toe.
Joyce sought help from doctors, psychiatrists, and skin specialists, but in vain. Eventually her condition grew so bad that she was hospitalized at the Veterans Administration Hospital in San Francisco. And it was here, while she was under constant observation, that the doctors noticed an unusual pattern to Joyce's outbreaks.
While she was at the hospital, her symptoms gradually subsided, but when she visited her husband each weekend they promptly flared up again. Soon the doctors arrived at a startling conclusion. Joyce appeared to be allergic to her husband.
Separation The Only Option
Further observation made it clear that Joyce wasn't reacting to a cologne her husband was wearing, or some other chemical irritant that could easily be removed. She appeared to be allergic to the man himself. His mere presence. In fact, even mentioning her husband's name caused Joyce to break out in hives.
The doctors diagnosed Joyce's allergy as neurodermatitis, and counseled her that all attempts at a cure would be futile as long as she was living with her husband.
So in March 1948, a year after getting married, Joyce and Nolan began living apart. He stayed in San Francisco and she moved to Los Angeles. This cured Joyce's rash, but eventually the couple decided that living separate lives, while still married, didn't make sense. So in July 1949, Joyce filed for divorce from Nolan.
The divorce trial was held in the Los Angeles Superior Court of Judge Ray Brockmann on July 25, 1949. Nolan didn't attend, as he wasn't disputing the facts.
Joyce told the judge that she had no complaint about her husband's behavior. In fact, he was "the finest husband a woman could ask for" and she loved him deeply, but every time they were together she broke out in a rash from head to toe. So at the advice of physicians and psychiatrists, she had to leave him.
To back up this claim she produced a medical report from Dr. Gordon Dayton of the San Francisco Veterans Hospital who wrote, "[Joyce] had been suffering from a severe generalized dermatitis manifested by reddened, swollen, itching and scaling areas most marked over the hands, forearms, chest, neck, face and thighs. It soon became evident that there was something physical in the home or about the person of her husband to which she was sensitive."
Judge Brockmann listened with sympathy to Joyce's presentation of her case. However, there was a problem. In order to grant a divorce, it had to be shown that one of the spouses was at fault, and it wasn't clear that anyone's behavior was to blame in this case.
It used to be a standard requirement in American law that a couple could only get divorced if one of the spouses was at "fault" for causing the breakdown of the marriage. Actions that constituted fault included adultery, abandonment, or cruelty.
Divorce-seekers would regularly stretch facts in order to argue that their spouse was somehow to blame for ruining the marriage. For instance, one man complained that the snores of his wife's dog had made it impossible to sleep in the same room with her. In another case, a wife charged that her husband would cruelly shut off his hearing aid so that he couldn't hear her side of arguments. Similar strange marital complaints were a regular feature in weird news columns of the time.
It was only in 1970 that California made "no-fault" divorces legal, allowing couples to separate simply because they wanted to. All other states eventually followed suit.
But in 1949, demonstrating fault was still the legal requirement to obtain a divorce, and Judge Brockmann didn't think that an allergic reaction was anyone's fault. So he pressed Joyce for details, trying to determine if Nolan was ever cruel to her.
Joyce suggested the allergy was cruelty, but the judge disagreed, and with that he denied her request, ruling that being allergic to your spouse was not grounds for divorce.
Joyce's case caused a popular sensation. Headlines trumpeted the case of the "allergic bride." One widely reprinted photo showed Joyce holding her pet dog "Taffy." The caption noted that although she was allergic to her husband, the dog didn't seem to bother her in the least.
Newspapers generally treated the case as yet another example of the "silly" reasons that people got divorced. However, Joyce's effort to obtain a divorce received a flood of popular support, particularly from women. Judge Brockmann reported receiving hundreds of letters, mostly from wives, urging him to reconsider his ruling. A number of these letter writers claimed that, like Joyce, they were allergic to their husbands. Wrote one woman, "This is a real cause for divorce. It is a cause made by nature — not by man."
Thankfully Joyce and Nolan were not doomed to remain married forever. Judge Brockmann suggested that there was another legal option available to end their marriage — annulment. Unlike a divorce, an annulment could be granted on the basis of "physical incompatability." There was no need to determine fault.
So in September Nolan filed suit, asking that his marriage be dissolved since Joyce could not perform her "wifely duties." Judge Brockmann again heard the case, but this time he promptly granted an annulment, allowing Joyce and Nolan to go their separate ways. Some years later Nolan remarried, and there was no report that his new wife developed any allergic reaction to him. What became of Joyce is not known.
Joyce and Nolan's case was seen as being a first of its kind, setting a legal precedent. But Judge Brockmann warned others not to try to get out of marriage on "allergy grounds" unless they could produce valid medical evidence that would withstand a "scrutinizing judicial eye."
Inevitably his advice was ignored, and throughout the 1950s a number of wives (Rose Savenick of Los Angeles, Zelam Ansley of Seattle, Virginia Miller of Beverly Hills, etc.) filed for divorce on the grounds that they were allergic to their husbands. All won their cases, perhaps because of the precedent set by Joyce and Nolan. Eventually the adoption of "no-fault" divorce laws made it unnecessary for women to plead allergies to get out of a marriage.
But what about the men? Was spousal allergy a problem that only affected wives? In fact, the media did report about a few husbands who were allergic to their wives, but for whatever reason these husbands didn't seek divorces. For instance, in 1962 Dr. Michael O'Donnell wrote in the British medical magazine Family Doctor about a man who had developed asthma because he was allergic to his wife. However, "It was not until the death of the wife—a formidable and overpowering lady—that the doctors made their discovery," wrote the physician. Because on the day of her death, the man's asthma attacks stopped. "He has never had an attack since," observed O'Donnell.