| "Beverly always was an advanced child," Mrs. Aadland began. "At the age of 3 or 4, she told me, 'Mommy, I want to be like Betty Grable.' When she was 5, I told her the facts of life. By the time she was 11 she had a woman's body. A child's face, but a woman's body."
"And because of this, you've never tried to keep her from associating with older men?" I asked.
"I've never forced the baby to do anything. She hates those younger kids. Why should I make her go out with them?"
"You've never disciplined your daughter at all?"
"Once," Mrs. Aadland admitted, "when she was 6 years old. I hit her until she was black and blue because she wouldn't dance the way I wanted her to. I found out then that she had a mind of her own.
"You don't make Beverly do anything. You coax her," she explained.
I asked Mrs. Aadland about her daughter's early home life. Did she, for example, help with the dishes? Or did her parents help her with her school homework?
"Her father used to tell her to help me with the dishes, but I'd always tell her she didn't have to. I didn't want her to waste her time washing dishes when she could be practicing the organ or dancing.
"She can always hire someone to wash her dishes."
"How about homework?" I repeated.
Mrs. Aadland laughed. "We didn't need to help her with that. She was smarter than we were."
Mrs Aadland pointed out that her separation from her husband was the result, in part, of their differences of opinion on raising Beverly. Since the Flynn affair, he has publicly denounced his former wife for "forcing" the girl into show business, and the episode with Flynn.
"He doesn't know the facts," she protested. "I didn't even know that Beverly was going with Flynn until three months after it started. She loved him and he loved her. He wasn't half as bad as they said."
I asked her, "You're aware, aren't you, that columnist Earl Wilson nominated you for Mother-of-the-Year last year?"
Florence Aadland shrugged. "Oh, that. I think he's stupid. I called him up and told him so. It cost me $10 for that call — just to tell him off.
"These critics," she continued. "These society women who are always criticizing me. If they're so wonderful, why don't they take a girl out of Juvenile Hall and give her a home and love like I gave my baby?
"Can I help it if older men are always wanting to marry my daughter? There was that 26-year-old FBI agent in Carson City. Beverly was only 14 or 15 then. There was the German pilot. There was . . . "
More Wrinkles Than Flynn
"Mrs. Aadland," I interrupted. "This most recent man. He was 32. What was your objection to him?"
"He's no Errol Flynn," she snapped back. "He's got more wrinkles than Errol ever had."
"But you really think it's all right to let a teen-age girl be romanced by men two and three times her age?" I said.
Mrs. Aadland nodded and said it depends on the girl. "Now you take my Beverly . . . "
That, of course, was just a figure of speech. I think.