Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is your name really “Truly”?

A: Yes.

Q: Are you the same Truly Donovan who used to … ?

A:  Very likely.

Q:  Do you have a Westie, too?

A:  Yes. 

Q:  What’s a Westie?

A:  A Westie, or, more formally, West Highland White Terrier, is a small white terrier, cousin to the cairn terrier. Indeed, cairn breeders used to cull and destroy their white puppies until Lord Somebody-or-Other came along and said, “Give them to me instead” and developed the Westie breed–a clear case of making lemonade out of someone else’s lemons. It is now a distinct breed, beloved by advertising art directors. 

Q:  Did you live in all those places in Chandler’s Daughter?

A:  Most of them, plus some others. I was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1939; moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1946; to New Rochelle, New York in 1953; to New York City (the Upper East Side of Manhattan) in 1960; to West Los Angeles in 1962; back to New York City in 1964; to Palo Alto, California, in 1973; to San Jose, California in 1976; and to unincorporated Boulder County, Colorado in 1985. 

Q:  Where does the name “Truly” come from?

A: “Truly” was my mother’s nickname–her full name was “Etrulia.”

She was named (in 1909) after an aunt-by-marriage, Etrulia (aka Truly) Shattuck, who shortly thereafter became a former aunt-by-marriage and about whom not a great deal is known, although a web search shows that she was a featured player in a couple of 1922 movies, one starring Bebe Daniels and the other, Marion Davies. The web also reveals that she was at one time a singer (the picture is from sheet music for a song called “Stay in Your Own Backyard,” advice she apparently failed to regard) and a stripper in burlesque, although in those days strippers finished their acts still clad in tights. Family legend has it that she was a Floradora girl before her marriage to my mother’s uncle, and before that she first became famous when her mother, Jane, was tried and acquitted for shooting and killing young Truly’s seducer–but I’ve never found any evidence to support that. My mother came across an allusion to it in a book about famous California murder trials (it would have been in the Bay Area, I believe), so it may well have happened.

Somewhere along the line, Truly Shattuck is reported to have run a chicken ranch in California. She was famous enough that when she died in poverty in Chicago (in 1954), there was a fairly lengthy obit in the Chicago Tribune. They reported that her last brush with fame had come when she was arrested for shoplifting an expensive dress from Marshall Field’s, her excuse being that she needed something to wear because she had to go and look for a job.

How she came to be the wife of a staid Midwestern lawyer, however briefly, is one of the items not revealed by family legend.