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In 1983, Diane Downs shot her three children, killing one and severely injuring the others. She showed up for her trial pregnant. Now, nearly 40 years later, that child, Becky Babcock, is on a journey to explore her connection with her mother's violent past. Listen to Happy Face presents to face on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you find your favorite shows. What if I told you that UFOs, haunted houses and even inexplicable magic tricks are all caused by the same creature?
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Forgiveness is a deeply personal journey. My brother Caleb is here at the red table now. We grew up with different mothers and on opposite coasts, but our father is a shared source of pain.
It's about finding forgiveness for the man who gave us both life and also hurt us the most.
Yes. Oh, I love it. You know, I love my family, my brother, your uncle. You're welcome. Well, thank you for having me. So today we're talking about forgiveness, and my brother and I will be talking about forgiveness of a parent. And I know that you to have your forgiveness is right. Yeah. To talk about.
But I think we're also going to talk about forgiveness of the self as well, which is the hardest one, which I think it is, which I think is actually the truth is it's the only one.
Yeah. Our father, Russell Pinkard Junior, struggled with drugs and alcohol his entire life.
He was not a part of our childhood. And we were forced to grow up without him when Rob died from an overdose. We were left having to reconcile our feelings and find forgiveness on our own. Let's tell the story of Russell.
All right. So my father and my mother, they they divorced when I was two years old. He didn't raise me. So when you don't raise a child, you really leaving your child to the quote unquote wolves. Right. Which is horrific, especially when the child cannot protect itself yet. Yeah, I'll never I'll never forget this side. The first time I met my father, I was 12 years old. I was able to go to Baltimore, but I had to stay with my grandmother and explain the addiction.
And he said I was an addict. You know, he said I still am an addict. He said, I'm recovering, so I will go to his AA meeting. He would take me everywhere with him. So I developed a really strong affinity for him. But while he was sober, there was another thing he did. He adopted a young girl. So we have an adopted sister. And that was that was a little jolting for me.
The idea that I had a father that adopted you didn't raise me, but then you chose to take on something that didn't raise you didn't raise his first child. Right. He wasn't there for us. As children know, he struggled with addiction. He was clean for how many years?
About even like twenty to twenty five years about that.
That's crazy. He fell off the wagon. You called me. We brought him out here and he was out here for three years. He got clean.
Yeah, he was clean during that time.
And then he fell out and then he fell off again and then he died from an overdose. Yes. OK, what did you feel like you had to forgive Rob for?
Oh, him not not being there for you as a father. Right. Not not being there. But here's what I mean about forgiveness itself and really have them dive into you. I realized that my father is dead and gone. Yeah. Any issue any problem is gone for him. So that means who's left in the equation, right.
Me. Right. So it's like it's about it's about me. Right. But he told me, you know, I'd rather get hired and be your father. Yeah. Like, that's hard core when he said yes, but there was a reason behind it for him and his reason was I was sick.
That's what he told. And that's what he told me. He felt like he was protecting you by leaving.
Oh, I mean, that's what he told me at seven. Yeah. I can't be your father.
Right. Right. Well, I'm a criminal. I'm an addict. And that's just what it is doing, yeah. Wow, what for you was the pain of not having your father there?
So we're we're now adults now and I'm living in L.A. and working in. My father decides he's going to relapse. I'm at home, I'll never I'll never forget this, it is not funny, but it's funny because my dad was real. I call him as a dad. So he said, Who? Hey, boo. I said, Are you OK? He said, Yeah, hit the fight today.
So I said, Oh, I call Jade. Jada. I said, Jay, we got to bring them out. She was like I said, yeah, she was like, Oh man, no.
I was like, Caleb. Yeah, I don't want to see this. Like, this is our father.
And I was like, Jada, we have to ask, is he going to die if we don't do it? So there was a lot of resentment and there was anger there.
We both had a lot of resentment. We have that feeling like we had to be responsible for him, but he never had to be responsible for it.
And that was that was a hard thing with the attitude that you guys owed him something. Yeah.
The issue for me was when I got into the position that I got in and then he wanted to have a relationship that hurt me.
So when he died from that overdose. I got the call from Caleb. Yeah, and the most difficult part of him dying like that is because he and I had had a horrendous.
Fight, when I found out that he relapsed. I was like, I don't owe you nothing. You didn't do for me. You didn't do the Caleb. I don't owe you nothing.
It was one of those. I had the same conversation with him. I was furious. And he told me that's what the disease is like. This is who I am. And that was deep because he was saying that's that's who I am. But yet I'm still who I am to you. He said, I'm still your father. He said, I tell you this, everything you got because of me, ask your mama to tell you says that's her mom.
Right. And you know what's funny? It's you know, it's funny.
My mom, she'd be like, you're your father was extremely talented. You did right. I was like, that's one of the right. And I said, I give them that right. I know I can get everything from him. Not not like I said. Yes, that's right.
Very true. But that day I was getting up, I was going. I was never forget I was going to work. And my phone rang and I saw my mom calling me. I'm like, Mom was getting ready.
She says, Baby, your dad just had a heart attack. I need you to come. And I'm like, OK. So she said, yeah, you just need to come to the hospital right now. I'm like, OK, cool. She calls right back. I'm like, Mom, I said, I'm on my way. She said, Baby, he's gone. And I said, Damn it, hold on. It was May 19th, 1983, in Springfield, Oregon, in the middle of an otherwise peaceful, cool spring night, a car arrived at McKensie Willamette Hospital.
Diane Downs and her three children had been shot, Cheryl's seven was dead and Danny, three, and Kristy, eight, had life threatening injuries a year later. Diane herself was found guilty for the shootings.
In the 80s, this was a shocking headline story of Fatal Attraction.
Authorities believed Diane's infatuation with a married man who said he had no interest in being a father to anyone's children was the possible motive behind her shooting her three kids. One year later, at her trial, she was pregnant. That child was Becky Babcock. Four years, Becky, has tried to come to terms with who her mother is. But one mystery has haunted her. Who is her biological father? She's what I call a jackpot match.
Did you find Becky's biological father?
Join me as we search for the answer and explore Becky's and her mother's past on this season of Happy Face to Face. Listen on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you find your favorite shows. You down with black hair, you down with abolishing the prison industrial complex, you down with puppies, who is in jail with Puppy?
You'd be surprised where the comedy group Obama's other daughters. And we're inviting you to come kick in with us on our podcast called You Down.
We're bringing you the same fun vibe we served during our improv shows in L.A., only in podcast form. Check in with us as we discuss everything going on in the culture and have the nerve to give our UN expert opinions to a lucky listener.
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She said, baby, he's he's he's he's gone. They need you to come down and identify the body. And I said, OK. And I sat for a second and I said, OK, I got a call, Janah. She picked up, she said hello. And I said, Jay, she said, he's gone, is isn't he has. Yeah, a. What I will say about that moment for me. That's when my brother became a man.
For me. Because he had to go identify the body. He had to take care of the funeral arrangements. He did it all and to have had that happen and I didn't have to take. He added. The way you handled it was with so much strength. So much Grace, and that's when he really grew up to me in that moment, you know, so to have my little brother be able to step up for me was an amazing moment.
How did you feel? At first, I felt a lot of guilt because of the conversation we had had, and I never forget. I just had like. The most startling realization that. Rob's life wasn't about him being my father. Well, Rob's life was about Rob being on his journey and it just so happened along the way. He gave me life. And in that moment, I realized he was not born to be my dad. That wasn't the only thing he was here to do.
He's a person first with his own journey. Wow.
That was something coming to that understanding.
I had to call Caleb and I was like Caleb. It didn't have anything to do with us, right, and that was like my aha moment of like.
Utter forgiveness and just to be able to see him as a human being, and that's when I started even in my own life, just tearing down all these titles that keep us all these labels, we get so caught up in these titles and these labels of what people are supposed to do and how arrogant we are to believe we know who somebody is supposed to be, what they're supposed to do in life.
You're my brother. And since you're my brother, you need to behave a certain way so that I can feel good about myself. Zaghloul my mother. You're my daughter.
When we when we look to our relationships to be something to fill us in a certain manner, you know, and that that's that is the thing for the last seven years that I've been in search of as emotional independence when you don't need people to be something for you.
Oh, man. That's the real freedom. That's it. Right. That's the real man. That has been the greatest gift in my journey, is releasing myself from that and releasing people that love me, not feeling like they got to be something. And I'm continuing that, you know, that journey specifically in my relationship with Will and with my kids knowing that they don't belong to me.
I'll never forget that call because it also really helped me because I realized that's what I was doing to my father. It was really interesting to see him with family and children and maybe like you never did that with me. And now I'm feeling angry and a little jealous and now I don't want you around. So now you haven't done anything. You just come and say, Hey, boy, how are you?
It's our own pain and shortcomings that we want to hold on to and say, this person did this to me. So this allows me to feel this way or act this way that just OK.
Yeah, good point. That's because that victimhood cloak. Oh yeah.
Oh, baby. That could be a cozy little joker right there. That little victim, her cloak. So you got to want to let that go. Yeah.
Right. Yeah. You know. Yeah.
Because it feels good to stay in the pain sometimes of it.
Some people enjoy it and and you don't have to be responsible for yourself.
Not if not if somebody else did something to you because you can't fix it, only they can, which I think makes you weak, like it takes your power away, like in the sense that they've done something to you. So they owe me or they should be suffering and they're not. So now you hold all this rage and you see them smiling, doing whatever they doing and you hate every second that they breathe in. Happy, right. But you're the only one that's sick from it.
Forgiveness takes time. It's maturity, reflection. You've got to look at yourself, what part you played in it, coming to a relationship with expectations, because that's where the pain comes from. He didn't do something that you expected him to do raising as a father.
Right, right. Right. Yeah.
I wanted to ask you, Willow, you probably remember Rob so much differently.
Oh, yeah, definitely. My initial impression was he was just a very he had a calm about him. Yeah. But I remembered that he was very interested in a lot of the esoteric.
Oh, that's right.
He says he and so back then he was he was actually considered kind of weird.
And what was his talent. Oh, he robidoux a little thing.
He koshary write poetry. He could create stories, he could act. He had everything that all of us can do in one. Wow.
He would his poetry, he would lay down to music. He thought he could rap. He said he was one of the first rappers I by boy let me tell you something so intelligent. Almost genius. Yeah. And you know how there's a fine line between genius and crazy. Yeah.
That was your dad. And I think if he had waited and last it, he would have found his clan in your. Yeah.
Caleb, have you do you have any unresolved issues with Rob.
I can honestly just say for me, I'm still I have not been able to fully forgive myself for the way I treated my father before losing it. When I talk about it, I can start crying like quickly, and that means it's unresolved within me. So it forces me to actually do so much work to try to get better because I really felt really bad, you know what I mean? Like like I just I felt like I was a bad person.
That's been the thing for me and I'm getting better. It's but it's not fully resolved. So I would definitely say that. I have a question for you again.
Do you sometimes feel guilty for marrying Rob? I don't think I do. Yeah, no, all my guilt and shame came from my own addiction. Yeah, I did. You deal with that game? How did you come to a place of, like, forgiveness for myself?
Oh, my God.
It's actually because of you. I asked you, why didn't you just toss me to the side? Why didn't you just say, like, again?
Yeah, but listen, when you go through that kind of trauma as a child, somebody staying in your life is not a guarantee. There it is. And they just don't want a part of you anymore.
You know, and I wanted to understand from Dana's point of view how she could forgive me. Right. Right, right. And you said it was because you saw me changing. Yeah. When people continue to repeat the same behavior is hard. It's hard to forgive because then the forgiveness is just about words and they're just talking.
Right. You know, but your actions matter. Right? So I started realizing that, yeah, I really am not the same person then I was back then. I really am changing right now.
And I think the other thing for me, like I'm sure people would wonder, OK, did you have as much anger towards your mom as you did? You did. Right. And it's funny because I feel like even though you were going through everything you were going through, we were still there together.
You were always there no matter what. And I think the thing about Rob was that he wasn't he just gave up. Yeah.
Do you think the relationship with your dad affected relationships with other men in your life?
Oh, my God. Asked a freakin Lulea because you don't really realize it, but you expect your intimate partners to in some way be the thing that your father wasn't like.
That is not his job. But here's the thing that you to have to get with Jada. You'll never have a man in your life. You call daddy.
Yeah. Ever. Yeah, I remember going through a stage with Will watching him, Father Willow, that was just like, oh my God, I'll never have that ever. I always tell Will, like, listen, I know your dad is not perfect, but, my God, you have a daddy. Yeah, that is the one thing to be able to give my kids something I didn't have. Yes. And be able to watch it. Right.
You know, so what I had to stop looking at it was that something was wrong or something wasn't right because poor little Jada didn't have a daddy. Yeah. I had to learn how to stop focusing on what's not going well, to focus on what's going well. Yeah. What if we reimagine the word citizen not as a weapon to divide us, but as a verb, inviting us all to wield our collective power pretty dull Ponte in this time of pandemic and revolution, you may find yourself frustrated at high levels of corruption and inequality, at our inability to get basic things done at the persistence of systemic racism.
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I definitely had to. Forgive you and Daddy for that hole with my hair thing.
It was mostly daddy because he was so harsh right at certain times. I always say many daughters.
It was like a couple of years, honestly, like trying to regain trust for not feeling like I wasn't listened to or no one cared what I felt during that time or because it wasn't that you didn't want it. It just they weren't listening to how you wanted the experience to be for you.
I had to forgive myself because I felt guilty, because I was like, everyone is trying to make me better or trying to make my dream right. But I didn't really understand what my dream entailed.
You couldn't have known. You know, I'm still trying to deal. And yeah, that is one of the hardest things to do is to forgive yourself. Yeah, but when you forgive yourself and when you learn to treat yourself better, then you treat others better, others differently.
Others, you know, with kindness.
I heard a real interesting quote that said, treat yourself like you're somebody you care about.
You have is all like you actually start loving yourself.
Love is everything is cliche is so funny.
Will talks about this quote that you gave him that he says all the time.
And it's when he wants to sound really smart to people, he'll say, My wife Jada always says that true love is blue. It's not red. Most people think it's red and red, just passion.
But love is actually peace. Then it doesn't it doesn't always look. You think? Well, that's because nobody thinks that love is blue. They think of it is red. Everybody's looking for something that is screaming red.
We got to get a blue table. I know this red. That was the thing. But that's your own quote. That's actually Jada one. But the idea that it's blue and it's so deep. Yes.
Right. Yes. That's real talk. Wow, this is great. You guys.
You guys, thank you for having me. So cool on our next round table talk. I celebrate anything black, I inevitably get a million clients.
Are they coming from some white people? I dated some really wonderful white men. But you're dating someone at the top of the food chain now, understand? All right.
All right. That was great. Absolutely. That was nice, guys. Like, thank you for that, because they actually made me look at stuff a lot like, yeah, you still got work to do here. And we all do. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
That is that is life right there to join the red table, talk family and become a part of the conversation. Follow us at Facebook. Dot com slash red tabletop. Thanks for listening to this episode of Red Tablecloth podcast produced by Facebook Watch Westbrooke Audio and I Heart Radio.
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