Penthouse Retrospective

by Deborah Spungen Originally Published: October, 1983

Nancy Spungen | BONUS Penthouse Legacy

“Why?” I gasped, horrified.

“He’s upset.”

“Nancy, why do you put up with that?

Why don’t you leave him?”

“Because… well, he’s having a terrible time. He’s getting hassled. He can’t get work. He’s depressed.”

There was a long pause.

“Maybe one of these days you will find me on your doorstep,” she said softly.

“We’re always here for you, Nancy. If you ever hit the bottom and need us, we’re here to help you. You can count on it.”

“I am at the bottom, Mum. This is it.”

She’d come out of her fog. She was rational. We were communicating.

“Mum, do you remember that detox hospital, White Deer Run? It’s somewhere in Pennsylvania. Our next-door neighbor had to go there, remember?”


“Do you think Sid and I could get in there? We have to get off. Just have to. Could you call? Could you find out for me if it’s locked? I don’t want to go if it’s locked. I can’t stand being locked up.”

“I know. I’ll call tomorrow and find out.”


“Let me know how you are. Let me know what the urologist says, okay?”

“I’ll let you know.”




“Does Daddy love me?”

“Of course he loves you. He’s always loved you very much.”

“He doesn’t act that way.”

“How does he act?”

“Like he’s afraid of me.”

“That’s because he has to walk on eggs with you, sweetheart. Everyone has to. You’re very sensitive. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Mum. I do. Tell Daddy I understand. And… and… ”

“And what?”

“Tell him that I love him.”

“Okay, sweetheart, I will.”

“How’s your mom? How’s Essie?” She hadn’t asked about her grandmother in three years.

“She’s fine.”

“Send her my love, will you?”

“I’ll do that.”

“Good-bye, Mum.”

“Good-bye, sweetheart.”

As I hung up the phone I heard her yell, “I love you, Mommy! I love you!”

Few can tell a tragic story as well as a mother, and the Nancy Spungen story qualifies as one of the most sad. Beware the dreams of the Punk Romantic..