Tag Archives: Success

Clara Harris – How dare you leave me?

In 2003 Clara Harris was convicted of the murder of her husband David Harris.  That she killed him was never disputed because it was caught on camera.  Clara, either in a fit of rage, or accidentally, ran her husband over in a hotel parking lot where he had met with his mistress, Gail Bridges.

Clara was born in Bogotá and worked hard to fulfil her dream of working in the United States.  A dentist, she met David Harris, an orthodontist and together they ran half a dozen successful dental offices.

Everybody in their workplace was aware of David’s affair with the office assistant, Gail, who had earlier, during her own divorce proceedings, been implicated in an affair with a woman called Julie Knight.

The jury took into account ‘sudden passion’ before sentencing Clara to twenty years in prison.

Clara Harris was a woman who worked hard at success, in life and in marriage.  The news of David’s affair came as a devastating blow to her and she became intensely insecure.  She went so far as to ask David to make a list of comparisons between her and Gail which she set out to correct immediately.  Such as losing weight, colouring her hair and making an appointment with a plastic surgeon.

On the night of the murder, David had told her that he was meeting with Gail at the hotel to put an end to the affair.  When he did not return home, Clara and Lindsey (David’s daughter) went to the hotel to look for him.  Now I can imagine what state she was in.  How her stomach turned in fear of what she would find.  And what she did find was David and Gail walking in the hotel lobby, hand in hand.  They had spent two hours together in a hotel room.

A scene followed in the hotel lobby with Clara apparently attacking Gail.  David then took Gail to the car park and Clara and Lindsey got into her Mercedes.  At some point, as she spotted David and Gail, Clara put her foot down and tried to run them over.  She says all of that time is a blur to her.  Gail was injured slightly but David was seriously hurt.  Onlookers say that Clara then ran over David again and again.  He died shortly after.

Now I don’t condone what she did, murder is not a solution to any problem.  But I can put myself in Clara’s shoes.  Firstly, she was completely unaware of her husband’s affair although everyone around her knew.  Secondly, when she found out, she did everything in her power to get him back, including more sex.

David’s behaviour is not really shocking, I suppose many men do the same.  But to compare her physical attributes to Gail’s is a bit low.

I will not dwell on Gail Bridges.  Suffice it to say that I cannot have sympathy for any woman who puts herself in a position where she could break up a family and destroy children’s lives.

Clara is not a character that invokes sympathy, but I think thousands of women could empathise with her.  The woman scorned.  Not out for revenge, but suddenly confronted with the fact that her husband does not want her anymore.  Lies, sex and rejection.  And a sudden fit of passion in more than one sense of the word that ended in the death of one, and the misery of more.


When is a house a Home?

For me, home means safety and security.  That is what our armed robbery almost destroyed.

It is also a place of love, comfourt, forgiveness and caring.  We should feel safe inside our homes, protected from the outside world.  But we should also feel secure in one other, and protected by one another.

The people in a home should be transparent with each other, yet have enough love to overlook a host of transgressions.  I am reminded of Liz Murray, in her book Breaking Night:  A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard of which I wrote in a previous blog.  Her parents were both drug addicts and she was out on the streets early on.  I kept wondering why Liz became the success story that she is in spite of her background and circumstances.  The only answer that presented itself to me was love.  Her parents were honest about what they were, and they loved her.  She never doubted that and it was this love that allowed her to rise above what seemed to be her destiny.

Inside a house there might be much or little, neither which make for a loving home.  Parents who admit their mistakes do.  Children who respect their parents though they might not agree, do.  People who accept one another’s faults, do.

Two, or four, or however many people living together have to be able to give one another space.   My Uncle and Aunt had seven sons, one after the other, nine in one house which was by no means spacious.  They had to learn to cohabit their home in a way that made them one unit, yet where each still had enough space to be an individual.

It is not always easy to share your space with others, especially if your personal bubble is big, and you crave a lot of ‘me time’.  But therein lays the secret.  That which hurts, grows.  That which scrapes and scours, builds.  That is what the people in your home do.  They build character in you, they teach you, and they grow you.

Left to yourself, you would never become what you are ultimately, capable of being.


On men, and feminism

Men are funny.  I love the way men just naturally assume that they know better, that they are superior drivers and that in fact, they are more qualified at most things than women.  My men specifically have an inborn confidence, and a belief that they can do anything and succeed.

From a very young age my sons believed that I was a bad driver, and they still do.  So does my husband and my Dad.  And, to be honest, it is true to some extent.  But that is another story.

Another amazing talent they have is the capacity to think themselves thinner than what they really are.  Women imagine themselves bigger, whereas most men think they look pretty good, even if they carry a “little” spare weight.

I have never been a feminist and never will be.  I believe men to be better chefs, mechanics, drivers and everything else.  But PLEASE!  I know there are exceptions to every rule and that there are women who outshine their male counterparts in all areas known to mankind.  I am just a bit biased.

I like a touch of male chauvinism, it suits a man.  Not the rude, overbearing, condescending kind, rather, just that little touch of superiority that makes a man, a man.  The type that affords a real woman a giggle.  Without it, women would snatch up the world’ pants supply and what would become of our society when all men turn into wimps, ruled over by slipper-wielding fiends?

While I understand why men would help with house duties when both partners work full day, I cannot begin to comprehend why men would do it when their wives stay at home.  And believe me; this phenomenon is on the increase.  I don’t only put this down to lazy women, but also to husbands not prepared to take charge.  Even more criminal are men who are forced into nightly baby duties when mommy stays home all day.  In Afrikaans it is called “slapgatgeid”, literally slackness in the posterior region.  But once again, this is just my opinion.

A home where the wife wants to be the boss is a house divided against itself, and a home at war.  Man was born and bred for the position and will fight anyone trying to usurp his authority without even realising why he is doing it.

I am of course referring to normal men, not bullies who beat their wives or lord over their children.

As with everything else in life, there has to be someone with the final say, the leader.  Every organisation on this earth needs one chief and a couple of Indians.  And in the home, the man has to be allowed final authority, even when he makes mistakes.  He too has to learn how to steer his family through life successfully but he will never learn without erring first.  We all stumble when young but as we mature, we gain understanding and knowledge.  Real love conquers all, and forgives all.

The most successful families I know, ones where the children are obedient and respectful and the wives lovely and confident in themselves, are households where the Dad has a firm grip on things.  These are families where everyone understands that Dad’s word is the final say on any matter.

Both genders have their place, neither to ever be above or below the other.  Instead, they stand side-by-side, shoulder to shoulder, with the women’s just slightly behind the man’s.  He is, and should be allowed to be, the head of the home.