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July 17, 2023 43 mins

We head to New York City to learn about Gail. In conversation with her loved ones, Carole hears about Gail’s love stories, curly hair, teenage dreams and the last time her friends saw her. 

If you are affected by any of our topics please reach out to NO MORE at https://nomore.org/girlfriends, a domestic violence charity we’ve partnered with.  

The Girlfriends is produced by Novel for iHeartRadio.

For more from Novel visit novel.audio

Correction: Alayne Katz has brought to our attention that on the morning of Gail and Bob's wedding day (August 29th, 1982) Bob did not stay at their apartment as reported in the podcast, instead he stayed at his parents house in New Jersey. In the morning Gail traveled from her parents house, in Long Island, to their Manhattan apartment where she met with Ouidad to get her hair done. Ouidad did not come out to Long Island as reported.

Listen to our soundtrack on Spotify here or buy the album from Bandcamp. All proceeds go to our charity partner NoMore.

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LinkedIn: Carole Fisher

Facebook: Carole Fisher

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Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:06):
Novel, Hey listener. In this episode, there's mention of suicide, attempts, depression,
violence and control. There's also the story of Gail's life
full of friendship, curly hair, and the romance of youth.
Probably a few swears too, so, as they say in

(00:28):
the South, Sorry, y'all. If you do listen and are
impacted by any of our themes, you can reach out
to No More, a domestic violence charity we've partnered with.
They have lots of great resources to help you or
your loved ones. You can find them at no More
dot org. That's no More dot org.

Speaker 2 (01:02):
A baby photos that you that's us too, and Gail No,
and Gail And I was with her when we took
this one. You know you get from J. C. Penny
these like little things come here for a free photo.

(01:23):
And she made me gun with her and we took
the photo. And that's her beloved cat. Here's more care
free Gails before she met and married Bob. And here's Bob.
And here's Gail and Bob. Does she look happy? No,

(01:48):
I'm Alaine Katz, I'm Gail's sister.

Speaker 1 (01:57):
I'm Carol Fisher. And from the teams that and our
Heart Radio you're listening to The Girlfriends episode three, Bubbly,
Bouncy and very Alive.

Speaker 2 (02:28):
You You Got You.

Speaker 1 (02:39):
A few days before Christmas in twenty twenty two, my
producer Anna visited Elaine in Westchester County, New York. Lane
had just moved houses the day before, this beautiful wood
paneled home which looked out over the Hudson River. They
sat around the kitchen table for two days, drinking wine

(03:00):
out of plastic cups pulled from cardboard boxes. I wish
I could have been there, though I'll admit I would
have been nervous. I worried a lot about how Elaine
would perceive me as a member of a lady social
club that had turned her sister's disappearance into gossip. I
would hate for her to think we made light of

(03:20):
the hardest moment of her life. But I'm really ready
to learn about Gail and to show all of you
who she was, because I never got that chance when
I first stumbled into this story. If you look at
some of those old photos of their family, it's clear
how similar Elaine and Gail look. They weren't even two

(03:42):
years apart.

Speaker 2 (03:44):
One of our favorite sayings is Gail and I were
the opposite side of the same coin. We were very different,
but it was because we were responding to the same
stimuli in an opposite way, so we were very close.
Early in our lives, we lived in Brooklyn and there

(04:07):
was a school at the end of our block, and
the kids would get out, and I'd find this impossible
when I think back on it. They would go wild
and they would like sometimes start fights with us. Gail
was a protector then, but then she became fragile. She

(04:32):
had psychosomatic asthma, like when she got anxious, she couldn't breathe.
And I remember we would be in school and you know,
they had those public announcements, you know, Laine cats come
to the nurse's office, and there my sister would be
breathing with you know, a bag over her nose, and
I would be called down there to hold her hand
and calm her down. So there was like a role reversal.

(04:55):
Although she was older than me, she had become highly
emotion and fragile.

Speaker 1 (05:05):
Elaine, Gail, their younger brother Stephen, and their parents, Sylvia
and Manny, moved to belmore Long Island in nineteen sixty four.
It's where the girls lived out their teenage years.

Speaker 3 (05:18):
There was a lot of noise in our families. When
we got together. It was always lots of loud discussions.
I think partly the Jewish families. Lots of debating always
went on.

Speaker 1 (05:29):
This is Abby Bruce, Gail and Elaine's cousin.

Speaker 3 (05:32):
We were having a passover or Thanksgiving or something all together,
and there was a lot of tension going on between
my mother and my uncle. I forget what was going on,
but I remember it being tense, and Gail went over
and sat down at the piano and started playing the piano.

(05:55):
It completely diffused the situation. She was young, we were probably,
you know, fourteen or fifteen at the time. I remember
watching her hands on the piano and thinking she has
such beautiful hands.

Speaker 2 (06:17):
I would say I was into boys. Gail was into love.
There's a difference of not saying that Gail was boy crazy.
I was boy crazy. Gail was love crazy. Gail was
engaged like twice before she graduated high school and Saturday.

Speaker 4 (06:39):
Gail had a way about her that she would attract
a lot of attention. We were very popular in school,
and we were in the popular crowd.

Speaker 1 (06:54):
This is Gail's best friend from high school Denise Cassenbaum.
If you look through gail high school yearbook, you'll find
Denise and Gail on the same page. They look like
they could have been plucked right out of woodstock. Denise
has an air of a young barbistreisam with long, straight
Joni Mitchell hair, while Gail's rocking more of a young

(07:16):
share look with their curly dark hair, flat iron long
and cut to one length, pure flower power. They met
when Gail was bumped up a year after excelling at
her studies. While they weren't at school, they were having
lots of fun doing all the things us girls did
back in the seventies.

Speaker 4 (07:37):
I remember being at her house and we'd go up
to her room and we'd listen to Neil Young, Crosby
Stills and Nish and Neil Young. That was our favorite.
And she was the first person who I went to
New York City with. We were only fourteen, and our

(08:00):
parents let us go into Manhattan on the train and
we went down to Crenwich Village and we walked around.
We met boys we thought were so cool.

Speaker 1 (08:14):
Gail graduated at seventeen and followed her high school boyfriend
David out to Albany in upstate New York. She was
convinced he was the love of her life, but they
broke up within a year or so. A few more
unsuccessful relationships later, and Gail was single again, but this
time she was stuck in Albany for no good reason.

(08:37):
She made a plan to enroll in the school in
Colorado in the fall, but decided to stick around for
one more summer.

Speaker 2 (08:45):
During that summer, she met John fell in love head
over heels. They had this durable apartment facing the public square,

(09:06):
decorated it completely like you new hippie style. She was
completely vegetarian. She had, you know, a zillion cats in
the apartment. He was a struggling artist, and every now
and then, because they really couldn't pay the rent, they
would go. They would tell some local club that the

(09:26):
name of their band was rent. They would play a
few gigs, They would cover whatever crap somebody wanted them
to cover. They would raise enough money for the rent,
then they would stop.

Speaker 1 (09:45):
When his band, called Odd spelt Ode, weren't trying to
pay the rent. They were writing and performing in avant
garde rock opera.

Speaker 5 (09:55):
If you don't believe.

Speaker 1 (09:56):
Me, here it is John's on the keys.

Speaker 2 (10:00):
I'm an escalator raising side.

Speaker 1 (10:06):
The farm.

Speaker 2 (10:09):
In heaven.

Speaker 4 (10:12):
My land.

Speaker 2 (10:17):
I saw the heart of man in the old voter moved,
touching hands as they walked on. All the treasure was
shared with love for every woman.

Speaker 1 (10:33):
Ah the seventies founder.

Speaker 2 (10:39):
Unfortunately, she was the daughter of professional, educated Jewish people
and our tribe doesn't really believe in rock music as
a career, and she was getting a lot of flack
from her parents.

Speaker 5 (10:55):
Her mother was very overbearing as a mother. Here's Gail's
cousin Abby again, and she had very high expectations of
the kids. So Elaine did what Sylvia thought she should do,
and that was go be a lawyer, because you're really smart.
Gail didn't want to do any of that kind of thing.

Speaker 3 (11:13):
She was a bit of a free spirit and that
was really hard for her mother.

Speaker 2 (11:17):
I think she started to feel like they had to succeed.

Speaker 1 (11:25):
Gail moved down to New York City, where she enrolled
in a dance therapy program and started fronting the band
to music producers, and.

Speaker 2 (11:33):
She even got a job as a cocktail waitress at
Tracts Trax, which was one of the hottest rock clubs.

Speaker 1 (11:40):
In the city. I think Gail and I would have
been fast friends. I swooned over my fair share of
rock stars, too, starting with The Monkeys as a young girl,
and later Eric Clapton and Mick Fleetwood. Rock and roll
musicians represented everything opposite from an overbearing Jewish mother, and
rushing on them felt like a certain kind of freedom.

(12:02):
So I totally understand why Gail wanted it to work
with John. I wanted a guy like him too. At tracks,
Gail met big name producers and record label and our guys.
She even got friendly with Cindy Lauper, but no one
was really biting at her rock opera offering. It was

(12:23):
pretty lonely. Sitting in her Manhattan apartment, Gail would write
John poems describing how much she missed him. Here's Elaine
reading one of them.

Speaker 2 (12:35):
It is a poem of loneliness about which I write words, thoughts,
and images seemed to come best to me in the
dead of the night. Alone, I am in my own
quiet room, hoping that this feeling will go away soon.
I close my eyes and wish Sure here to help

(12:56):
and love me and calm my fears. But you and
I have things we must do to grow and to
learn to make our dreams come true. I cannot touch
you and hear you say all of the comforting words
you always know to help me up when I fall

(13:18):
too low, And so I'll sing my song of loneliness
until you come to me with the internal kiss.

Speaker 1 (13:31):
In nineteen seventy nine, John moved to Manhattan to be
with Gail, but their free flowing upstate love didn't thrive
for long in the big city. They split after a
year or so. Around the same time, Gail suffered from
an elbow injury that pulled her out of her dance
therapy program within just a few months. She felt lost

(13:54):
and aimless.

Speaker 2 (13:56):
Gail kicked around the city, you know, working a train,
dating guys that she shouldn't have been dating in the
music industry, and uh, she unfortunately had a suicide attempt
and ended up in the hospital Saint Vincent's I don't

(14:18):
think it was a real suicide attempt. She picked the
night to try a suicide attempt when I was meeting
her attracts, so she knew that I would get to
tracks she wouldn't be there. Ultimately, she was in and
out of the hospital, and I somehow convinced her to
move into my apartment in eastern Long Island, and she
lived with me briefly out there, but not surprisingly, she

(14:42):
didn't want to live out there, and I wangled out
of my graduate school an internship in the city, and
the two of us moved into the city and we
lived together in the city. So, yes, my sister had
a cry depression. I have chronic anxiety, and quite frankly,

(15:04):
anxiety and depression are on a continuum spectrum. As I said,
opposite sides of the same corn.

Speaker 1 (15:34):
It's never easy hearing about someone reaching a point so
low that they try to end their lives. I can't
imagine what Gail must have felt to find herself there.
What I have learned from listening to Elaine is that
depression was a lifelong affliction for Gail, but by the
summer in nineteen eighty, after Gail's hospitalization, she was doing

(15:55):
a lot better, well enough that she wanted to start
dating again, so her friend Diane invited her over for
a summer barbecue with the promise of vegetarian options and
a young man to meet.

Speaker 2 (16:12):
Diane was living in New Jersey with her then doctor
husband and invited Gail over with the intention of a
sort of blind date, fixed up with doctor Bob, and
they really headed off.

Speaker 4 (16:26):
She was enamored doctor surgeon Pilot.

Speaker 2 (16:30):
One night took her and I think it was Valentine's Day,
flying all over the bridges of Manhattan at night.

Speaker 4 (16:36):
She said it was very romantic. I mean, why wouldn't
it be.

Speaker 5 (16:42):
He whined and dined and.

Speaker 2 (16:44):
Took her up to his East Side high in the
sky apartment with beautiful views of the East River. And
he took her out to his idyllic family's home in
West Orange, New Jersey, where his doctor, sister, doctor brother
in law. We're visiting with their son. The mother, I

(17:06):
think was a psychologist, something that Gail always had an
interest in. It seemed perfect to her.

Speaker 3 (17:14):
But in terms of the difference between those two guys,
completely opposite ends of the spectrum.

Speaker 5 (17:22):
John was a musician.

Speaker 3 (17:23):
He could sit around for hours and play his guitar
and it was calm, and.

Speaker 5 (17:31):
How was different.

Speaker 3 (17:33):
There was a lot of excitement, a lot of we
did this, we did that. He was bigger than life.
I think she was just overwhelmed with Wow, this is amazing.

Speaker 5 (17:45):
And you couldn't blame her. We all thought it was too.

Speaker 1 (17:51):
Everyone was hearing about the wonderful new man in Gail's life.
Even her hairdresser.

Speaker 6 (17:56):
My name is we Dodd. I am the curl experts
started the Curly Hair in the Country back in nineteen
eighty four of the first salon for curls. Gail Katz
was a client, a regular client, regular basis. She was
ecstatic when she first saw what her hair can do
for her. Was bouncy, and she was having a good
time with her and it literally reflected her personality. Bubbly, bouncy,

(18:18):
very alive. That's the Gail that I knew. We were
all talking about boyfriends, and she had met this doctor
and she was very excited about it. And I remember
it was around Thanksgiving and that she was dreading going Thanksgiving,
but she might be introducing Bob to her family.

Speaker 3 (18:38):
At that time.

Speaker 1 (18:40):
I imagine Gail would have been excited about introducing her
new bow to the family. He was exactly what her
mother wanted for her. Boy do I know that feeling.

Speaker 5 (18:51):
Sylvia was beside herself. He's a doctor.

Speaker 3 (18:54):
He's a doctor. That's all she talked about. And I
don't think she meant it in a bad way. I
really don't A typical Jewish mother from a long island
stream for their child. I think she wanted Gail to
be taken care of, and this was the answer to
what she thought was the best thing that could happen.

Speaker 1 (19:14):
And Bob took care of literally everything.

Speaker 2 (19:21):
Gail would tell me she would go to turn on
a light, and he would with one hand hold her
hand and with the other hand turn the light on. Now,
it might have looked like he was helping her, but
who needs help turning on a light? He was controlling everything.

Speaker 1 (19:40):
One evening early on, Elaine and her boyfriend Larry went
out for sushi with Gail and Bob.

Speaker 2 (19:46):
And Bob was with his chopsticks picking up food and
putting it in Gail's mouth. He was feeding her, and
then he started feeding me. He was telling Larry I
own both of them. It was so strange.

Speaker 1 (20:10):
From that moment on, Elane started noticing things about Bob
that made her uncomfortable. First, it was just the way
he stood out and his front beclothed when they went
dancing at.

Speaker 5 (20:20):
Studio fifty four.

Speaker 1 (20:22):
Then the fact he'd make up bizarre lies, like saying
he went to a trendy pizza place all the time,
and then not knowing which neighborhood.

Speaker 6 (20:30):
It was in.

Speaker 2 (20:31):
It was such an innocuous and dumb lie, like, no,
Pebby's pizza isn't there. And you know, he's so bright
that you had to be really smart to catch him
in all his lies. But that wasn't so hard for Larry.
Larry was yell undergrad, Harvard Grad. Larry was smarter than Bob.
And Bob would say something, Larry would turn his head

(20:52):
and look at me and roll his eyes, and I
knew that was, you know, code for not true.

Speaker 1 (20:58):
Worst of all was how Bob was trying to change Gail.

Speaker 2 (21:02):
Gail couldn't change two things that Bob required of her.
He wanted her to be taller, and he claimed that
she had a Brooklyn accent. She was five two, she
wasn't tall, So there was this constant You're not good
enough for me, Get thinner, get taller, don't wear you know,
sexy clothes. I'll never forget seeing her. And she was

(21:26):
dressed so dowdy. She looked like she was from some
religious sect. We very quickly began to realize Larry and
I what a sick fuck Bob was.

Speaker 1 (21:45):
The Fact is, Gail was in love and she wanted
it to work out with Bob, just like I had
no amount of side eye from Elaine was going to
convince her otherwise. After around a year of dating, Gail
and Bob got engaged and with Elaine liked it or not,
she was plunged into the role of maid of honor.

(22:07):
They started planning the wedding, picking out food, scouring wedding
dress shops, visiting venues, combing through Bloomingdale's.

Speaker 2 (22:16):
Hated Bloomingdales is way too big. I have no idea
where anything is in Bloomingdale's. But we went to Bloomingdale's
looking at dishes and linens and towels and doing the
whole gift registry thing.

Speaker 1 (22:28):
During a haircut, she told we did the news and
asked if she'd come up to Long Island to do
everyone's hair and makeup before the ceremony. No expense is spared.
Gail seems so excited.

Speaker 6 (22:40):
You know, I'm in New York with a lot of clients,
So for me to have a Jewish girl marrying a
doctor's perfect. That's what they all want. Another Jewish girl
marrying a doctor. How happy, How fabulous.

Speaker 1 (22:54):
Then, one night, about a month before the wedding, Elaine
got a frantic call.

Speaker 2 (23:01):
My sister calls me hysterical, and she said, you have
to come get me in the morning. And like, I
wasn't so happy about this marriage. This sounds good to me.
I'll come get you in the morning. I go into
the city and I drive up to her apartment and
she comes out holding her cat. No luggage, no nothing,
just the cat, and she is weeping, and I'm like,

(23:23):
what's up. And she said, Bob tried to kill the cat.
And she tells me that she was in the bedroom
she heard the cat making a funny noise. She goes
into the bathroom and there Bob is with the cat's
head in the toilet, drowning the cat, and she of

(23:50):
course saves the cat. And she says he was jealous
of the cat. He thinks I love the cat more
than I love him. So I'm going to prove to
him how much I love him. I'm going to get
rid of the cat. And I of course responded, I

(24:12):
have a good idea. Let's keep the cat and get
rid of Bob.

Speaker 1 (24:17):
While this alleged drowning was never reported to the police,
it raised alarm bells among Gail's family.

Speaker 3 (24:25):
I remember thinking, this is so weird. Why would anybody
do something like that.

Speaker 5 (24:31):
Here's Gail's cousin Abby again.

Speaker 3 (24:33):
And I think I remember having a conversation with my
mother about it, and my mother saying, you know, maybe
it's not exactly the way we hear it went. You know,
it was the typical deny that it could really be
as bad as it was. So I remember thinking, Okay,
maybe it wasn't. We were planning a wedding, so why

(24:54):
were we planning a wedding if this was so terrible.
When I think back now, I'm like, oh my god,
what planet was I on?

Speaker 5 (25:06):
Sorry?

Speaker 3 (25:10):
I didn't think it would made me cry.

Speaker 1 (25:29):
Gail did get rid of the cat astray she rescued
from Caldwood Airport after she found it roaming the strip.
It was named Amelia. A month later, on the morning
of August twenty ninth, nineteen eighty two, Gail and Bob
woke up in separate beds, Gail at her parents' house
in Long Island and Bob in their apartment. They're getting married,

(25:56):
The poem.

Speaker 2 (25:57):
By Gail dats today, I feel like pleasing you more
than before, to be living for you. Is all I
want to do to be loving you. It will all
be there. Everything you want. I swear it all will
come true. Today I can't use words. They don't say enough.

(26:18):
Please please listen to me. It's taken so long to
come true, so long for you, all for you.

Speaker 1 (26:30):
There are so many reasons we choose to get married.
It sounds unromantic, but it's not always just about love.
We get married for security, both financial and physical. We
get married because of family pressure. We get married because
our friends are doing it too. I can't say why
Gail decided to marry Bob. I suspect she recognized in

(26:54):
him a life she wanted, financial security and a husband
her parents would be proud of. But for her sister Elaine,
it felt wrong. She'd been dragged around every wedding dress
shop in Manhattan, only to find that Gail had decided
to wear Bob's mother's dress.

Speaker 2 (27:15):
I can tell you for a fact it was not
at all like what I thought she was going to buy.
And again, I think this was about pleasing Bob.

Speaker 1 (27:25):
It was the most obvious start to a marriage of compromise.
Early in the morning on the wedding day, we DoD
and her husband, Peter, arrived at Gil's parents' home to
start fixing everybody's hair and makeup.

Speaker 6 (27:40):
The door was open. I just dragged the bell. They said,
come in.

Speaker 2 (27:43):
I walked in.

Speaker 6 (27:43):
Peter was with me, and we walked through the hallway
into the kitchen and there was an argument going on
with her mother, her sister and Gail. It was squeaming,
but you see many things as a hairdresser, so that's
not shocking. It's like, all right, how do we manage this?
How do we get rid of these two to try

(28:03):
to do the bride? Calm it down, get her ready
and get out. And the mother and the sister. I
asked them if they'd mind leaving, and they said, in
a minute, we need to finish this and you can
come right back. And so I said, okay. I turned
around and I said to Peter grestarving, we'll have a
cup of coffee and a bagel or something and then

(28:24):
we'll wait for them, and then I'll go in and
I'll do it. So we go outside, we're looking at
each other and he said, this is odd. I'm like,
I know, it's really strange. I went back in. The argument,
I guess resolved and I went and did Gale's hair.
I was in her room. We were doing her hair,
and she was just upset, very very upset. She wanted

(28:46):
it to be the way she wanted it. And she
doesn't care what her mother says. She doesn't care what
they say. She had I believe I don't know who's veil,
but she didn't care how it was put on. She
was just just get me done and get me on here.
I don't care what the hell I look like. It
was just a strange experience.

Speaker 1 (29:10):
Nobody can fully remember what the argument was about. We
Dodd says she thinks she heard Bob's name being thrown about.
Elaine remembers it being tense because a flower crown Gail
ordered turned out to look more Christmas wreath than Stevie Nicks.
The only thing I'm sure of, it's not the wedding
morning Gail would have dreamt of. She put on a

(29:35):
brave face and headed into Manhattan wearing a modified flower
crown and her modified mother in law's dress.

Speaker 3 (29:43):
She looks so beautiful, and I don't know if you've
seen pictures of their wedding, she was beautiful.

Speaker 2 (29:48):
Bob wore a white linen suit which is a little odd,
and he sort of matched Gail.

Speaker 1 (29:56):
After a traditional service at a temple in Manhattan, everyone
moved on to the party at a stylish penthouse restaurant
called Terrace in the Sky, overlooking the grounds of the
Columbia University campus. From up there, you could see panoramic
views across northern Manhattan.

Speaker 2 (30:15):
There were two rooms at the Terrace, and she had
her friends and me in one room, and she had
everyone else in the other room.

Speaker 1 (30:26):
The venue boasted a wine list of over three hundred bottles,
and the chef prepared dishes like smoked salmon and caviaar lobster, bealute,
and duck confee.

Speaker 2 (30:36):
She arranged for she and I to be served a
better champagne than anyone else. We had special Champagne Galeni.

Speaker 3 (30:44):
It was really fine. We danced and it was a
happy day.

Speaker 5 (30:49):
It seemed like it was a happy day.

Speaker 3 (30:51):
I didn't end the day thinking this is the beginning
of the end in any way.

Speaker 1 (31:01):
After the wedding, Bob and Gail went on a honeymoon Decrete,
and judging from their photos, it looked like a beautiful trip.
But something changed when Gail got home.

Speaker 6 (31:12):
After the marriage. Her energy was not there. She was
a little bit more subdued. Not talking about clubs, not
talking about museums, not talking about anything, just very very quiet,
just wanted her hair done. No conversation asked to a
desire of what she would like this time, it was

(31:32):
just whatever you think, very passive.

Speaker 1 (31:36):
At this point, Bob was working one hundred and twenty
hour weeks on a three hospital rotation and Gail was
studying psychology at grad school. He was exhausted and she
felt neglected.

Speaker 2 (31:51):
She was the most lonely wife imaginable. She was completely ignored.
He came home like some fourteen year old before they
were real video games and played on his computer. He
was either doing his internship and working or home and

(32:12):
playing on his computer. Unless he had some infantile need
that he needed satisfied, he ignored her.

Speaker 4 (32:21):
The incident which really turned my head around about him
was my thirtieth birthday.

Speaker 1 (32:27):
By this is Gail's friend Denise.

Speaker 4 (32:31):
I mean, who makes their wife have to sit on
his lap to eat dinner and feed her? It was
just so strange. That was the first time that I
really started to think this is not kosher.

Speaker 1 (32:50):
Elaine says that by nineteen eighty four, Gail started having
an affair with the finance guy named Anthony Sagalis. They'd
hang out at each other's apartments while Bob was at work.
They would party, they would sleep together. Then there was
also Kenneth Feiner, a professor who Gaile met on the
subway after he spotted her reading a psychology article. He

(33:13):
always insisted it was a meeting of the minds rather
than a sexual thing. It's hard to know if Gail
was just distracting herself or trying to line up her
next relationship before breaking things off with Bob, but the
fact is she was unfaithful.

Speaker 5 (33:29):
She needed that kind of validation from a man.

Speaker 3 (33:34):
So did her mother. Her mother promoted that having a
man in your life made you complete, and without that.

Speaker 5 (33:43):
You weren't.

Speaker 1 (33:46):
On November ninth, nineteen eighty three, the day before Gail's
graduate record exams, she was studying at home.

Speaker 2 (33:55):
She was feeling nervous, and Bob had gone to work.
She figured he was doing it, you know, his usual residency,
long shift. She thought he wouldn't catch her smoking, and
he came home and he saw her smoking, and between
the front door and the balcony of their apartment, there

(34:17):
was a couch and as she tells me, he came
running in, leaped over the couch. I mean, it's not
a six foot hurdle, it's just a couch, pushed her
down with his hands around her throat and strangled her.

(34:43):
But of course he did what all men do after
they've got their anger out. Oh, I'm so sorry. And
I told her there has to be a report of this,
you know, go to the police station and make a report,
and she did, which, by the way, is amazing. I
mean that was attempted murder.

Speaker 1 (35:03):
In the report made to the police. A few days after,
Gail described to the desk clerk how Bob strangled her
to the point of losing consciousness, but the police never
followed it up with Gail, so instead she tried to
fix her crumbling marriage herself.

Speaker 2 (35:20):
She told me how sorry he was, and he was
going to get therapy and everything was going to be okay,
just like after he strangled the cat.

Speaker 3 (35:29):
She went and stayed at my grandfather's in Brooklyn. I
remember my mother being very upset, furious at him. I
think my grandfather. I think my grandfather told her that
she needed to work it out. I don't think she
told my grandfather about the strangling part, and then she

(35:50):
went back home. That was the beginning of the end
for a Lane. She didn't want her around him anymore.
She did everything she could to get her out of there,
begged her to come stay with her, begged her to
stay at my grandfather's, begged her to do something legal,

(36:11):
and Gail just wouldn't. When Gail made up her mind
about something, you couldn't talk her out of it.

Speaker 1 (36:20):
For the next six months or so, Gail and Bob
went to therapy, both separately and together. It was a
confusing time for Elane because on one hand, Gail seemed
to be dedicated to staying with Bob, and then on
the other she started to talk about leaving him.

Speaker 2 (36:37):
My boyfriend Larry was supplending his apartment. She called me
to ask me if I could come up for the
last weekend in July because she wanted to have a
really big thirtieth birthday party for Bob. And then she
also asked me if she could subplet Larry's apartment because
she wanted to leave Bob. And I said, you know,

(37:00):
which is it? And she says, I'm not sure.

Speaker 6 (37:05):
A couple of visits in she goes, it's really tough.
I thought it would be different. It's not different. I
think I made a mistake. I need to change my life.
But it just so happened that my client next to
me happened to be a real toa and they started
a conversation. I didn't know where it went from there,
but I think they did connect about trying to get

(37:25):
an apartment.

Speaker 2 (37:28):
I remember in the late fall early winter of nineteen
eighty four her telling me, I'm going to get a
divorce and I'm going to get him. She told me
that she had a letter, a letter from his psychiatrist
warning her that he was twisted and dangerous and he

(37:50):
was going to kill her. She was going to use
that letter to threaten him to give her divorce number
one because there was no fault divorce in the state
of New York, and number two to give her what
she wanted, and what she wanted was just to finish

(38:13):
graduate school. She just wanted him to support her so
she could finish her degree and go on her merry
way and support herself. And I of course said, it's
very dangerous to be threatening Bob, that you're going to
ruin him, and as always as when he strangled the cat,

(38:39):
as when he strangled her, she said, don't worry, Elaine,
I have it under control.

Speaker 4 (38:52):
The last day I saw her, I picked her up
at her hairdressers and we went to the museum. It
was a sunny day, warm. She was wearing the holder
top or something like that in shorts. We were laying

(39:12):
on a blanket and we were chatting about art, music,
places we'd seen and been, and how much we loved
each other. She had the New York Times with her,
and we were circling apartments, possibilities. It wasn't until, you know,

(39:37):
towards the end of the day that she told me
that she was going to make him dinner, and then
during dinner she was going to talk to Bob about leaving.
I got nervous right then and there, because by that
time I knew he wasn't a kind of guy who

(39:59):
was just gonna take that sitting down. And so I
had this feeling in my gut like, oh my god,
you know, how's that gonna go. How's he gonna react?
And she was saying to me, I gotta get home
because I gotta cook Bob dinner. Walked back together to

(40:21):
her apartment building, kissed each other goodbye, and she went
upstairs and I went downtown.

Speaker 2 (40:31):
I shouldn't let her go home, Denise, that's not one year,
I know.

Speaker 4 (40:39):
I know. Yeah, Bray knew something wasn't going to rewright. Sorry,
I still still getting emotional about its okay, yeah, yeah,

(41:04):
yeah yeah.

Speaker 1 (41:19):
Next time the search for Gail.

Speaker 2 (41:23):
Bob was not forthcoming. Bob does not want me to
find your sister.

Speaker 4 (41:27):
He was so stone cold. It's not as if he
displayed any emotion at all.

Speaker 2 (41:35):
She left her pocketbook there with cigarettes, and she lives
in a building with doormen, and there's a fire department
on the same block where they all whistled at my
sexy sister. Nobody saw her.

Speaker 4 (41:47):
Sometimes I'd see somebody that looked like her. I get
this rush inside me like a girl.

Speaker 2 (41:56):
I began the process us proving that Bob called my sister.

Speaker 1 (42:20):
The Girlfriends is produced by Novel for Our Heart Radio.
For more from Novel, visit novel dot Audio. The series
is hosted by me Carol Fisher and produced by Anna Sinfield.
Our assistant producer is Julian Manu Gera Patten, and our
researcher is Madeline Parr. The editor is Veronica Simmons. Max

(42:45):
O'Brien is our executive producer. Our fact checker is Valeria Rocca.
Production management from Sharie Houston and Charlotte Woolf. Sound design,
mixing and scoring by Daniel Kempsen and Nikola Alexander. Music
supervision by Anna Sinfield. Original music composed by Luisa Gerstein.

(43:08):
Story development by Isaac Fisher. Willard Foxton is creative director
of Development. Special thanks to Sean Glenn, David Waters, might
Le Row, Katrina Norvel, David Wasserman, and beth Ann Mcaluso,
and an extra big thank you to Kevin Bartlett and
the rest of the band Odd for letting us use

(43:31):
their track The Electrifying Flying Man. We did reach out
to Bob and his legal team to ask if he'd
like to comment on the podcast, but we never heard back.

Speaker 5 (43:51):
Novel
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