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Joan Wheeler – The Forbidden CHILD indeed! July 2, 2010

Posted by Ruth in Lies in the book Forbidden Family, Refuting Joan Wheelers statements.
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At long last, my companion piece to Gert’s post “Forbidden family or forbidden child?”  I have just been so busy, and then in June I was very sick. Please click on the link to read Gert’s post first.

UPDATE…NOVEMBER 2015 as older posts are viewed this announcement is being placed on them. Joan ‘revised’ yet again her ‘story’, it is NOW called ‘duped by adoption’. To learn more see Gert’s second blog and a Facebook page.



NOW to continue

Gert’s post Forbidden Family or Forbidden Child starts with page 90, so I will start there too.

Joan had related a request from our sister in England to bring some souvenoirs when she came over to England to visit. Edith/Kathy asked or a cowboy hat and mocassins for an aunt and uncle of The Beatles’ Ringo Starr.

Joan starts her whining early in life. She didn’t know where to go buy these items. Never mind she was a member of the Buffalo Indian Dance Group, a Native American dance group. They routinely wore mocassins, and I personally saw Joan perform with this troupe. And she herself wore a full Native American costume, complete with all things: MOCASSINS! Where did she get those mocassins? Why didn’t she go there for some mocassins? And if she couldn’t find a cowboy hat, why didn’t she ask someone in the troupe to help her? The dance troupe came out of The Buffalo Museum of Science. I’m sure SOMEBODY would have known where to get a hat. But no, Joan relates in her book that time spent in stores made her nervous, and she became agitated and worried. WTF? She tried for weeks, but couldn’t find the items. Oh- and the “demands” on her were too high! All Kathy did was ask for a couple of souveniors. She wasn’t asking for her first-born!
Was it the fact that the souveniors were for a celebrity? (and actually they weren’t for a celebrity, they were for relatives of a celebrity). Was that what made Joan nervous? I hardly think so. She fired off plenty of fan letters to Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek’s Mr. Spock) and Peter Noone (Herman, Herman’s Hermits). She met Leonard Nimoy at the local annual children’s hospital telethon in 1971 or 1972. In 1975 she and I attended a local broadcast of Dialing for Dollars to meet actor Keir Dullea. She showed NO fear of celebrities. And she does say in her book that on November 5, 1974, she came home to Buffalo from college to attend a concert by Herman’s Hermits at Uncle Sam’s, a local disco. She had a backstage pass to meet the group. Oh, wasn’t she “nervous and agitated” to meet them? Nope. At the disco, she ran into me and our cousin Gail, and lucky us, we got to go backstage with her and meet the band! Gee, I don’t recall Joan being nervous and agitated to meet actual rock stars, and these weren’t even a rock stars aunt and uncle!

addendum – July 11, 2010

On Page 116, Joan is describing events at the 1975 Star Trek conventions. She says that during one of her bathroom stops (oh please, have some class – do readers of a book have to hear she’s going to the bathroom?)!!! Anyway, she relates how she bumps into the late science fiction author Isaac Asimov.  She says he hugged her and they posed for pictures. He signed his autograph for her. And they would meet again during future science fiction conventions.  She doesn’t say that she “nervous and agitated” meeting Isaac Asimov, or down the road in the early 1980’s when she and I met noted writer Harlan Ellison. And Ellison has a reputation for upsetting fans. While we were forming the autograph line, and Ellison walked past us, for some reason, he reached out to me and tweaked my cheek, saying “You’re so cute.” (He also has a reputation for being somewhat strange). When I approached the autograph table, I reached out and tweaked HIS cheek and told him, “You’re so cute.”  He was speechless. A fan reciprocrated his silliness! So I have the reputation of rendering Harlan Ellison silent. Joan was the next in line. Was she “nervous and agitated,” especially since her sister just rendered Ellison speechless? Nope!

So returning to the souveniors that Kathy requested:
What does Joan mean she tried for weeks to find the items? What stores was she looking in? Come on! This is an intelligent (?) young woman? But she sure knew where to get marijuana to smoke in her bedroom didn’t she? And she did NOT get the marijuana from us.

Now remember people, this was in 1974, and we had just met Joan. “time spent in stores made her nervous. She was agitated and worried.” So she was this way when we met her. OBVIOUSLY she was not raised right. She had a severe lack-of-social-graces, and was exibiting signs of mental instability. In the beginning, this was not obvious to me or others at all. But as time went on, and we were exposed to her “quirkiness,” we began to see that she was, well, “wierd,” is how we put it. We still didn’t attribute it to any kind of mental instability, she was just….wierd. BUT…..WE ACCEPTED HER ANYWAY!

Joan is very contradictory on her expectations of how her adoptive and birth families are and her wanting everyone to be. And these “fantasy” expectations of people continue to this day, and this includes people who are not related to her, whether by birth or adoption. By the years 1980 and 1981, her true colors began to emerge. But we are still discussing 1974 here.

Page 92 and page 97 shows just how unrealistic her expectations of people are. She starts with telling us an interesting history of my mother’s family tree. A few generations ago, there was even a marriage between the Herr family (my mother’s family) and the Wheeler’s.  And my mother’s sister Catherine was a life long friend of a sister of Edward Wheeler, Joan’s adoptive father.

On page 92, Joan says she is shown a photograph of my parents and us Sippel kids. Apparently, my Aunt Catherine had sent this photo to the Wheelers, because Joan had seen it in the past. She didn’t know who the family was, but now, she is shown the same photo by her birth family and she feels an agonizing sense of recognition, and was “instantly repulsed at the level of betrayal from the parents who raised me.”

Oh for heaven’s sake. Remember people, the Wheelers and the Herrs were distant relatives, and EVERYBODY in 1956 was sad because a woman, just 30 years old, very well liked and admired, with 5 little kids, one an infant, was diagnosed with cancer and within 3 months DIED. Perhaps that picture that the Wheelers had was their way of honoring and remembering her.

On page 101, she relates (and Gert brings it up in her post also) about how she sneaks around her parents home to find this photograph and says: “IT WAS MINE NOW, AND STEALING DIDN’T BOTHER ME.”  — remember this people, that STEALING DOESN’T BOTHER HER, because Joan steals several times more. From me, from our sister Kathy. Even stole beadwork off our dead mother’s wedding gown!

On page 93, Joan relates how jealous she is because Aunt Catherine’s kids and her Aunt Helen’s kids went camping together in earlier years. Um, the 2 woman were life-long friends, they grew up together. Why shouldn’t their kids go camping together? Just because Joan was adopted, Catherine and Helen should suddenly stop being friends?

On page 96, Joan relates how on a visit to an adoptive aunt, (after the reunion) stories were freely flowing about the connection between the Herr and Wheeler families. She relates how the Wheelers lived in the same neighborhood as her birth family (it’s a small world). My grandfather delivered coal to the Wheelers. Joan then wonders why this suddenly stopped when she was adopted. – but wasn’t she complaining because Catherine and Helen DID NOT stop their “connection?”

Well, the connections between the Herrs and the Wheelers suddenly stopped, because for one thing, the Wheelers bought a nice house in the suburbs. They moved away from the inner city neighborhood where they had their start. AND, yes, Dorothy Wheeler was possessive of Joan. But not all contact stopped, as Joan relates about the photograph Aunt Catherine gave the Wheelers.

But Joan can’t make up her mind about how she feels about these connections. First she complains that the connection between Catherine and Helen did NOT stop, then complains that other connections DO stop!

On page 100, she relates how 2 days before she left to start college (1974), I drove her to meet our Aunt Doris. WRONG. It wasn’t me, it was our cousin Gail! I didn’t learn to drive until 1976. In 1974, I was living in my first apartment, and I did not own a car, nor did I know how to drive a car. Get your facts straight Joan, if you are writing a “non-fiction” book!

Page 103 shows again, how she is full of a lack of self-esteem and sense of worth. She is invited to be part of a wedding party of one of her adoptive cousins. She bitches because she is asked to dye her hair to please the bride. I agree with her on this point, I wouldn’t want to change MY hair to please somebody else either. But she goes along with it, and feels out-of-place during the preparations of the wedding. She couldn’t get into the spirit of it. During the wedding reception she “senses” people talking about her. AHHH, the first hints of paranoia.

Oh, she knows what people are speaking about without being part of the conversation. She doesn’t say she HEARS them talking about her, she SENSES they are. Maybe they were, maybe they weren’t. Not only do we see the first signs of paranoia, we see the groundworks of another one of her contradictions: she is ostracized! oh boo hoo, she is being ignored! She is being talked about – she is NOT being ignored, oh boo, hoo. Again, Joan, make up your mind. Joan WANTS to be the center of attention, then bitches when she IS! She wants HER privacy maintained (but cares nothing about my privacy, or anyone else’s), – she wants to be left alone. then bitches when she is left alone – she sees that as being ostracized! You just can’t keep up with her.

She then says, that after knowing the bride for 18 years, she would never see her again, because she was too embarrassed to keep up a relationship with her. Why? What was she embarrassed about? she doesn’t say. She blames her embarrasment on — people talking about her? Please, the bride didn’t notice. Brides don’t notice. They have their minds on a thousand and one things. I myself can not remember one word of my vows. I do remember the tears in John’s eyes. I remember one of my bridesmaids Sarah, taking pictures. She was behind the judge making fun of his wig and I was trying very hard to keep a straight face.  I don’t even remember half of what was said at Athen’s restaurant at our dinner that evening. Getting back to the wedding that Joan attended, the bride involved was probably sitting at the head table with her new-husband, she couldn’t understand every converstion in the room. Newsflash Joan: you are NOT in the thoughts and minds of everyone around you 24/7. Get over yourself.

Gert brings up the following point in her post: “The main source of trouble and later harassment is shown on page 99, it is the adoptive father’s brother John Wheeler. It is things that he does later, to Joan, which my sisters and I get the blame for. It is also quite interesting to note the family’s dynamics at work within the Wheeler family. The antagonism is palpable, the intimidations, the betrayals; all learned and practiced within the Wheeler family complex long before Joan knew she was part of our family. Joan is the product of her upbringing; …”

You know, what Gert observes and writes is the absolute truth! NOBODY in the Sippel family practices antagonism, intimidation, betrayal, theft. My goodness. I think back on my relationships with my siblings – let’s see, nope, no stealing, lying, intimidations, betrayals between me and Gert, me and Kathy, me and my late brother Butch, my step-brothers Jim and John, my step-sisters Joselyne and Mariel and my half brother Steve. Nor between any of those I just mentioned! There is in our family, as I find in a lot of families, the usual tensions between step-siblings. It seems to be a common occurance that older siblings are pushed out of the way in favor of the younger ones. But we are not talking about the dynamics of step-family members here on this blog, we are talking about the continual back-stabbing and other despicable things going on in the Wheeler family, or at least a couple of them, AND the main perpetrators of it all – Joan and her adoptive mother herself – Dorothy/Doloris Wheeler. (yes, she goes by two names – and they are both listed in the public records of Erie County Hall on her deed and mortgage records – remember this fact – it is important in an event of December 1994).

So getting back to the Wheeler dynamics – Joan doesn’t even get along with the extended Wheeler family – cousins she grew up with are now her enemies. Why is this? My goodness, to this day, I am constantly finding and re-connecting with cousins from my mother’s side of the family via facebook. Cousins I haven’t seen for years – some I haven’t EVER met – yet we’re getting along! A couple of them have been quite vocal in their affection for me. At a relative’s funeral in December 2009, three young men approached me – son’s of my late cousin Ida. I hadn’t seen them since their mother’s funeral in August 1990. I could see their love for me in their eyes. Why does this not happen to Joan? Because Joan continuously disrespects people and because in the Sippel and the Herr families, we were taught to respect each other.

To sum up what is wrong with Joan in just a couple of words: SHE RESPECTS NO ONE. NOT EVEN HERSELF. And when you do not respect others, you aren’t going to get much of a loving relationship. Joan got just what she learned at the feet of Dorothy Wheeler – she is on the outside looking in.

On page 110 she relates going to Jamestown New York for a family reunion. Gert already pointed out that inaccuracy in her reporting of how Joan got there. She claims Gert drove to Erie Pa. to get her and took her to the reunion. Gert and her children were not there, nor did Gert drive to Erie to get her. I don’t know how Joan got to Buffalo, but I DO know it was my cousin Gail who drove her to meet our Uncle Mike. (it wasn’t me, I didn’t know how to drive then). How do I know it was Gail? Because I remember Gail telling me that at the dinner table, Aunt Doris was smoking and Joan butted in and said “I have to ask you to stop smoking because I am allergic to cigarette smoke.” and Aunt Doris the Barricuda (family nickname) said, “This is my house, and I will smoke if I want.” When Gail told me the story, I laughed, and said, “gee, she didn’t have any problems smoking that marijuana with me last month.”

Also on page 110 she’s got me in the car with cousin Gail and her mother, Aunt Catherine. Again, I wasn’t there. For a NON-FICTION book, and a TRUTHFUL book, there’s sure a lot of discrepencies in it! And where was the car going? She says “on the drive home.” She doesn’t say until a couple pages of later that she was to be in Buffalo from college on Christmas break. All we get is she got picked up in Erie, then she’s on the drive home. How do the readers know why she’s not going BACK to Erie for xmas break when she doesn’t say for another page or two?  Poor and inaccurate writing skills are evident here.

Anyway, she goes on to talk about a conversation about Uncle Mike’s dislike of my father. I wasn’t in the car, so I don’t know about it. But on page 11, she’s got the car turning into her driveway and me getting out with her and telling her that she has misspelled the name Sippel on a Christmas card she sent me. I don’t remember this happening. It may have happened, but it certainly was NOT at that event, because, as I said, I wasn’t there.

On page 112, she relates her confusion as to how our mother died. She has been told over and over again that she died of uterine cancer. The immediate cause of death was carcinomatosis (cancer) and hypernephroma, kidney failure. This is listed on the death certificate. Joan says that she found a descrepancy in the information passed on through the adoption process. NOPE. This is NOT a discrepency. This is FACT! And she has been told this time and time again.

1. my mother got pregnant. 2. during the pregnancy she developed the cancer. – or else she had the beginnings of it BEFORE she got pregnant with Joan. 3. By the time she delivered the baby, the cancer was too far gone. 4. On January 19, 1956, she had exploratory surgery, where the cancer was found to have spread. There was nothing to be done, so they closed her up, and  over the course of the next few weeks, she went downhill. 5. The immediate cause of death is correctly listed – kidney failure. Her organs had started to fail. Her heart could have been the organ that failed first. If it had, Joan would be now obsessed with heart disease, which she should be concerned with, as my dad has had open heart surgery, and The Three Sippel sisters all have high cholesterol and the signs are there that we need to be extra careful with our tickers.

Joan’s obession with the kidneys is because she has had a lifelong problem with bladder and kidney infections. Why? I don’t know. She also has a lot of allergies. These could be because she was born premature and this is just the way she is. Why must she be obsessed with changing the cause of my mother’s death?

She goes on to say she had been worrying about uterine cancer and having PAP tests done every 6 months. What kind of doctor was she going to that didn’t reassure her? Why the need for PAP tests every 6 months? Look people, MY mother died of uterine cancer. When I became sexually active in 1972, I took care of my gyn needs as needed. I was NOT obsessed about it. When I tried and couldn’t conceive, I did make plans to start having tests to find out why. * Then I had my miscarriage, and I accepted it. (it may have taken me a couple of years and a session with a counselor, but I did accept it). And in 2001, when the need came to have a hysterectomy, I said, “fine. get rid of it. Never worked right anyway. Never let me have a kid. Out with it.I can now be free of the monthly mess.” NO OBSESSING NEEDED.  * note to Joan – making plans to have tests to find out why I wasn’t getting pregnant, then having just the basic tests done by a regular gynecologist does NOT mean I went to a fertility clinic/specialist and had infertility tests done. Joan reports this on page 302. Joan – get your facts straight about MY dam life before you go around reporting on it! Better yet – STOP REPORTING ON MY LIFE! Because I don’t see where MY gyn concerns has any bearings on YOUR adoption, your adoption reunion, or your adoption reform activities.

The next few pages she’s going on about her getting involved in the adoption movement. She says “the confusion and rage within me began to consume me and change me into a radical adoptee.” and “That militant part of me grew in ways that were unhealthy.”  Remember people, this was all taking place in Erie Pa. AWAY from her birth family. She is admitting that in early 1975, she was consumed with confusion and rage, and it was growing in ways that were unhealthy. So why does she in later years blame her birth siblings for her mental problems? And she admits to the whole world here that she is unhealthy in her mind!!!! Can someone who is unhealthy in her mind and who is a self-admitted thief, and sees no wrong in stealing be a proper spokesperson for the adoption reform movement? Can a person like this be trusted even in everyday life? Can a person like this be even trusted to write a truthful book? I don’t think so, and the proof is in the pages of her book.

For example, on page 115, she describes an event that happened on Valentine’s Day 1975. As we were both Star Trek fans, we made plans to attend the Star Trek Convention in New York. We were taking the Greyhound bus. She boarded the bus in Erie. The bus pulled into Buffalo, where I got on and took us on to New York. Joan states, “We spent the 12 hours on the bus…” No, SHE spent 12 hours on the bus, I spent only 8 hours on the bus. She was on the bus 4 hours longer than me. Nitpicking? Nope. When you set out to write a TRUTHFUL book, it better dam well be the TRUTH! This is just an another example of how Joan gets the little details wrong – like having me drive her around 2 years before I learned to drive. It just makes you not trust ANY thing that comes out of her mouth.

On page 113, she relates that she asked Gert to send her any newspaper or magazine clippings on adoption. She says, “Irma (Gert) complained that this wasn’t her thing, so she said she’d cut out a few articles to get me started.” She then goes on to say that she began reading the articles, so obviously, Gert clipped some and sent them to her. Gert says in her post, “”But she (Joan)  doesn’t understand family members non-interest in the adoption issues; she has to point out that I ‘complained that adoption wasn’t her (my) thing’. Is there a point here?”

Yes Gert, there is most definitely a point. The point is Joan is showing the whole world thru her book, her lack of RESPECT for those who do not share her obsession with adoption. And this anecdote shows Joan for the little sniping pisspot she is: her book is littered with little digs like this against her own blood-kin! Go back and read what I quoted from her book: “Gert COMPLAINS” BUT Gert must have sent the articles because she was reading them in college.

Here’s another little dig, aimed at me: I mentioned earlier that when “we” got out of the car (after the family reunion that I wasn’t at), and I corrected her misspelling our last name on a Christmas card, she says that when I said it, I must have tried to be helpful, but it didn’t come out that way and I sarcastically quipped it. Excuse me for being human. And making a mistake. And this mistake of mine has WHAT to do with Joan’s adoption, her renunion, or her adoption reform work? No, she went out of her way to point this flaw in me out to her readers. Because she has to start to show everyone that I’m a bitch. She is laying the groundwork for her accusations against me that I have harassed and interfered with her life “for decades.” Remember this people, how she starts the put-downs, the little digs against her blood-kin. She needs to point out our flaws here, to justify her lies later on in the book.

And I need to point out here, that she never brought this up to me. She never once said that I made her feel “ashamed and stupid” with that remark. I certainly had no intention of doing so, and if I did hurt your feelings Joan, I do sincerely apologize for it, right here and now. But I have to wonder – did this little incident grow in her “unhealthy” mind? Was it the basis (along with an incident in 1987) that made her want to hurt me over and over and over and stab me in the back, not once, but several times? – but we will get to those later.

~~~~~~~~~~~ picture time ~~~~~~~~~~

Here is me, my first husband Abdo (right), his brother Ali (between me and Abdo) and our good friend Tony. We were sitting on the hood of my first car. Abdo and I bought it in March 1976, before we even knew how to drive. Ali didn’t drive either. Tony was the only one who could drive. Ali, Abdo, and me were learning to drive together.  Now I ask you, if I didn’t own a car until March 1976, or even get my license until July 1976, how was I driving Joan around in 1974?

On page 116, she describes events we attended together in early 1975.  Like attending the afore-mentioned Dialing for Dollars show to see actor Keir Dullea. She describes us seeing Pink Floyd and Beatles’ movie marathons at a downtown theatre, we hung around Allentown, we went dancing at Uncle Sam’s. She doesn’t say how we got to those places. We took the city buses. That’s how we got there. And later, when we went dancing at Uncle Sam’s disco, it was when I was living with Abdo and she came along with us. Abdo and I had many friends with cars and we would all hang out together. So who drove us to Uncle Sam’s? I don’t know. It may have been Fayez, it may have been Farouk, it may have been Tony, or Jimmy (Mahmoud),  or even Steve (Abdullah). All I know is: it sure wasn’t ME, because I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE!

My first husband Abdo, his brother Ali, and our good friend Tony, on Abdo’s and mine, first car, April 1976. The only person in the picture who could drive at that time was Tony (far left).



1. * « Refuting a Book of Lies: Forbidden Family – - July 11, 2010

[…] Joan Wheeler – Forbidden Child Indeed – edited July 11, 2010 – 2 paragraphs added […]

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