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Unruly son

May 5, 2007 |  6:00 am


May 5, 1957
Los Angeles

1957_0504_bernsteina Life is miserable for the Bernstein family, 2499 Coolidge Ave. Nathan, 56, and his wife, Sadie, 43, work hard at an aircraft plant as they try to raise their three children. One son is in college and they have a 15-year-old daughter. But 13-year-old Jerrald is a problem. In fact there's so much strife in the home that Sadie took Jerrald to the West Los Angeles police station and drove away after telling the desk sergeant: "You take him--I don't want him anymore."

While Jerrald was given shelter at Juvenile Hall, Sadie sobbed out her story after being charged with child abandonment. She said she and Nathan had tried everything, including  marriage counseling and psychotherapy.

"Basically, he's a good kid and intelligent," she said. "But he's destructive. Everything he touches is destroyed."

Leaving Jerrald at the police station only caused more problems. Sadie was charged with child abandonment and Nathan was accused of striking a news photographer when he went to bail her out of jail.

In court, Jerrald testified that he had taken money from his mother, but it was because his allowance was 13 cents a week, a penny for every year of his age. He also admitted taking some candles, but explained that it was because his mother had removed the light bulbs from his room when he left them on. Jerrald also explained that he spent the night in the garage because he had a hideaway in the attic outfitted with a sleeping bag and air mattress.

We don't know what became of Jerrald. The Times says that the Jewish Big Brothers (now the Jewish Big Brothers and Big Sisters) expressed an interest in helping the Bernsteins and that Jerrald was eventually placed in a foster home.

The Bernstein house, meanwhile, was taken out by the Santa Monica Freeway.

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