In the Spring of 1957, Christopher, at age 12, had just finished the seventh grade, and Peter, at age 11, the sixth. Their summer plans were to spend a month in New York with Tom, a month at an eastern camp, and then a trip to Hawaii with Loretta before returning to St. John's Military School in Los Angeles. A drastic change in those plans were announced to Loretta in a letter from Tom. He and the boys had talked it over, and the boys were going to stay in New York, finish grade school at St. David's, and then attend Collegiate, a Dutch Reform School, for their high school years.
Loretta, in shock, ran to Cardinal MacIntyre's office for counseling, and he told her to go to New York and bring the boys home; she flew out the following Friday, and on Saturday, she went to Tom's apartment and tried to persuade him that the boys belonged at home. Tom would not be swayed and insisted that it would be in the boys best interest to get away from Los Angeles and experience a different world. He never mentioned the argument that he had posed to the boys, that their mother was so consumed by the television show and they'd be better living with a parent that had time for them. Ricardo Montalban was starring in a play on Broadway and as Loretta left Tom's apartment to return to the Montalban's apartment where she was staying, she remembers looking up to a window of Tom's apartment and seeing the boys watch her walk away into the dark rainy night. As Loretta was fending for a cab, her guts were wrenching. She felt she had just been forced out of Tom's apartment and out of her sons' lives.
****** four years later.....
Since the first year of the television show, Loretta was experiencing a recurring dream where the world was descending down upon her as if to crush her. This dream became so familiar, she would be able to tell herself that it was a dream while she was in it but that didn't stop the feeling that her breath was being sucked out of her. She suffered from migraine headaches and from time to time, had to rely on sleeping pills.
At that time, English portrait painter Simon Elwes persuaded Loretta to sit for a painting that, after a circuitous route, now hangs in Loretta's den. Elwes style of painting at that time was pointillism, a series of dabs of color, that combined together, portrayed Loretta more realistically than she wanted. He had captured a misty quality about her eyes that revealed her fragile state. Looking at it scared Loretta to death. At this time of her life, she was supposed to be on top of the world, walking into America's living room weekly, giving them a lift and one good idea each week with which to better their lives. If people saw this painting, they'd know she wasn't in control of her own life, begging the question of what good have all those wonderful mottos at the end of her show done for her?
Loretta had reached the state of profound brokenness that, ironically, can elevate one beyond the human condition. In recalling that period, she reflects, "I remember thinking that everything was dragging on for so long; I didn't think that time would ever pass. I know now: everything passes. I was really so worn out - mentally and physically and emotionally - but not, thank God, spiritually. That grew. That grew because in desperation, you turn to something bigger than you are. I turned to God."