Text Version:

(Introduction to show begins)

TODD MATTHEWS (Missing Pieces Host):  I’m Todd Matthews and welcome to Missing Pieces.  Tonight we have Kathryn Keats.  Are you there, Kathryn?

KATHRYN KEATS (Guest):  Yes, I am, thank you.

TODD:  We have a wild show tonight.  We both have some technical difficulties tonight.  I think Kathryn is talking to us from a cell phone, probably on the side of a road, right?

KATHRYN:  Yes.  Actually, at this very moment, Todd, I am sitting at a gas station, while the person who is driving me is filling up the car with gas.

TODD:  Okay, well we can still you still long enough, maybe, to do an hour-long interview.  Myself, I’ve had a cap put on my tooth today, so I’m like numb on one side of my body, but I’m well enough to do this.

KATHRYN:  Ah, beautiful.  Beautiful.

TODD:  So the gas helps everything flow.

KATHRYN:  Make sure you take a picture for us and post it on the site so we see that beautiful cap.

TODD:  I’m going to have to because I went through heck with this cap, and I’m just glad this is not television because I have drool coming out one side of my mouth.

KATHRYN:  (Laughs)

TODD:  But, we’re being more light-hearted with this interview because Kathryn does have a very positive story, and we’re not dealing with a family member of a victim this time, so we can actually relax a little.  She’s had an amazing life.  She is a singer, a songwriter and a survivor.  And I am, too, a survivor today of a mauling of the mouth.


TODD:  So, okay now, can you tell me Kathryn, who is Ellen Christian Munger?

KATHRYN:  Ellen Christian Munger is…me.  And is my…Ellen Christian Munger is me, and that is who I was born named.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  And that is a…what an incredible question…

TODD:  First question.

KATHRYN:  …my heart just opened up in a way that it hasn’t in a long time, so thank you for asking me that question.  I am Ellen Christian Munger!  I think that’s the first time I’ve said that, Todd.

TODD:  Well, and I wondered when I read your story, I’m thinking, you know because I’ve seen people in your situation before; does that person no longer exist?  Or is that person transformed into who you are now?  How do you feel?  How do you feel what’s happened to Ellen?

KATHRYN:  That’s a really interesting question, and I’ve been thinking on that.  I have been thinking that I’m in the middle of this pendulum at times…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …that swings from one place of being to the other, as this process goes on.  I was at a table in New York City, not long ago, I spoke there, and I was sitting with a group of people that knew me as Ellen…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …and at the other end of the table was a group of people that knew me as Kathryn.  And I realized that I am not the same person that I probably would have been had I stayed Ellen, so I got very claustrophobic and I wanted to get down to the end of the table with the people who knew me as Kathryn.  But I really sat with it so that I could see how, really, this has changed, and how do you merge two life experiences in one life?

TODD:  I know what you’re going through.  I live two very separate lives myself, but I’ve kept the same name for both lives.


TODD:  It’s hard to cross over.

KATHRYN:  How do you do it?

TODD:  You can’t really, because I have to be one person during the day, and then this other person dealing with other issues of my life, so you wouldn’t know me…each Todd, nobody would know me.  The people I work with during the day wouldn’t know me as the person I am at night.

KATHRYN:  Right.

TODD:  They would see me as a very, very different person.  Some people would not see me as somebody that could be serious and conduct an interview like this.  Others, it would be just the very opposite.

KATHRYN:  Right.

TODD:  They couldn’t imagine that I would be…almost a clown at times.

KATHRYN:  Right.

TODD:  And this time, I’ve actually got to be a little bit of both people here, talking to you, because I think you struggle with this.

KATHRYN:  Well, and humor, let’s face it, and everyone listening knows this…humor is so, so important, no matter what you’re going through.  When you can finally get…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …through an experience enough, to find your humor again, that is the lifesaver.

TODD:  It is.  It really is.  It is a healing force.

KATHRYN:  It is.

TODD:  But now, we’ve got to figure out with you, what were you healing from?  Now, Ellen Christian Munger, what happened to her?  What ended that entity?

KATHRYN:  Right.  I was doing a show…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …that was actually a pretty funny show, for the times, and…

TODD:  You were an entertainer, right, at that time?


TODD:  Okay.

KATHRYN:  Since I was 5 years old.  I, literally, just came on the planet to be a singer and a songwriter, and when I was 17 ½, almost 18, I met the director of a show, and fell madly in love with him.  He was a musical director…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …and we began writing music together, and he was many years older than I, and unbeknownst to me, he had schizophrenia.  And this culminated in a lot of violence and ritualistic abuse, and ultimately led to me being held captive for a period of 54 days, and the reason I know that is I wrote a song called, ’54 Days in Hell’ right after it.

TODD:  You know those are probably some of your best songs.

KATHRYN:  Yeah, I need to get it out and look at it.  And when I was rescued by my sister…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …out of the house, a jury trial was held, and after the jury trial I was advised to change my name…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …and my identity, and go into hiding because this man was put into a mental institution.  It was one of the first cases of its kind.  It was a criminal proceeding with a civil outcome, so he was put into a mental institution for 6 months, and then he was free.  And you know that was a miracle then; that was in 1983.

TODD:  So you actually went into the Victim’s Witness Protection Program.

KATHRYN:  I went into Victim/Witness Program, which is a little different.  It is much more for the victims.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  Victim’s Witness Protection tends to take people who have been criminals and have assisted in the government or in the law in finding somebody, and they go into the Victim’s Witness Protection Program.

TODD:  Was this in the 1980s?

KATHRYN:  Excuse me?

TODD:  Was Kathryn Keats the name that you were given or had taken on at that time?

KATHRYN:  I got to make it up.  I made up my name.  Then I went to court and had to have my identity changed.  So, yeah, I made my name up.  I got to pick the whole thing.

TODD:  Some people actually go back, you know, when they assume a name for protection.  You chose not to.

KATHRYN:  Yeah, I chose not to go back to Ellen Christian Munger.  Well, Munger, come on.  I mean letting go of your identity is difficult but letting go of the name ‘Munger’…

TODD:  Well, a lot of the singers and entertainers, they do change their names ultimately, but you had a very good reason for doing so, so that kind of pushed you along a little bit.

KATHRYN:  And also, back to, you know, how do you merge…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …the two experiences?  My heart isn’t…there’s still a lot of processing, and a lot of pain, and a lot of healing that has to be done for me to even really hear the name Ellen.  Only people that I’ve known, you know, before that knew me as Ellen, and my sister, my sister calls me Ellen, and maybe 2 or 3 other people, but it really is very painful, still, because of everything that happened.

TODD:  Would you prefer your sister didn’t call you Ellen?

KATHRYN:  No, I prefer my sister does.  (Laughs)  I want her to call me Ellen.  And my father, who died last summer, always called me Ellen, and he named me Ellen.  And listen to how odd this is…there are many people helping me reclaim my life and my music…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …seven of them are named Ellen!

TODD:  You’re just doomed to be with Ellen then.

KATHRYN:  Isn’t that wild?

TODD:  It is crazy and, you know, maybe there’s a reason for that in the plan of life.  You have to wonder.

KATHRYN:  I think you’re right.  I think you’re absolutely right.  I think we need to go do ‘Ellen.’

TODD:  Absolutely.  That would be a good show to go do.  (Laughter)  Maybe we can talk to her about that.

KATHRYN:  Yeah, really, let’s talk her right now, “Hi!”  She does that, doesn’t she?  She calls people.

TODD:  Well, you can hit her with your car.  I think somebody’s done that number before.  (Laughter)

KATHRYN:  That’s right.  (Laughs)

TODD:  Now, I’m going to cheat.  I’ve got your website pulled up and you’re on the side of the road here.

KATHRYN:  Yeah.  Right.

TODD:  Now, you were just held captive.  This did something to you.  You were abused.  What did this do to you mentally?

KATHRYN:  I think the biggest impact that it had mentally, and emotionally, is this relearning I have to do about allowing myself to feel love.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  To feel and trust being loved.  I don’t have a problem giving love, but I do have a problem really being connected to what it feels like…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …to be loved.  You know, I was very in love with this man.  He was the love of my life.  I wrote…this is the old…this is relative to these stories…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …and it really threw me for a loop, and I think that, mentally, has been the biggest challenge, because I’m married to someone that I love with all my heart.

TODD:  So, we have another name for you.  (Laughter)

KATHRYN:  Yeah.  Right.

TODD:  We have to try to get that straightened out before we tape the show tonight.  I want to get it straight just exactly who are you now, so we know what to call you.  Now, this man, he actually had schizophrenia.

KATHRYN:  Seven personalities.

TODD:  Wow, that’s a lot.  But now, these personalities, they helped Kathryn Keats become who she is today.

KATHRYN:  That’s right.

TODD:  You know, it sounds funny to say that, but…

KATHRYN:  No, no, no, I’m with you on this.

TODD:  Are you happier as Kathryn Keats?

KATHRYN:  Uh huh.  Yes.  Yes.  And I am as sad and as vulnerable, and as happy and as joyous as your entire listening audience.

TODD:  You know a lot of people have bad things that happen to them that transform them and make better people out of them.

KATHRYN:  Right.

TODD:  And I know it was a terrible thing through, but do you think this is a process?

KATHRYN:  Of course.

TODD:  We talk about things that meant to be.

KATHRYN:  Uh huh.

TODD:  You survived it, but not only did you survive it, I think you blossomed as a result of it.

KATHRYN:  Uh huh.

TODD:  How do you make something positive out of something like that?  Because you’ve managed to do so and I think part of it was your own personal will, and part of it was faith, and part of it was unseen forces that have made this positive for you.  How can other people find the positive side when something terrible like this has happened to them?  Because you could just as easily have pulled yourself into a hole and never recovered.

KATHRYN:  Right.  That’s right.  You know, during 20 years of hiding, I had to really make a decision.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:   Am I going to take responsibility for being a victim?

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  Am I going to now live my life?  Even though I’m in hiding, am I going to make a life?  And the minute I took responsibility for being a victim…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …I began to be able to live.  And the minute I forgave Ken…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …I could live, and, for me, I was raised a Unitarian without God…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …so for me, I had to find God, and I’m not talking about a dogmatic God, because there’s only one way to believe…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …I’m talking about for me, my God, my belief, my point of reference…

TODD:  You had to find your faith.


TODD:  You really had to find your own faith.

KATHRYN:  Yes.  Without it, there would have been no way.

TODD:  Well, your faith moved your mountain; it sounds like.

KATHRYN:  You are so right, and in such a big, big way.

TODD:  Ten months ago, according to this website, and it’s probably more than 10 months ago now, you found out that Ken died.

KATHRYN:  Right.  That’s right.

TODD:  How did that feel?

KATHRYN:  Well, I started wailing like a dog, and crying, and just really wailing like a dog, like a coon dog…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …if you hear them when they’re shut in the…you know, I’m from Evansville, Indiana, and so in the barn, in the dark, during the day.  My whole world was shaken.  First, after I wailed like a dog, I really then became very paranoid, and thought it was made up, and that I wasn’t going to be safe.

TODD:  Did you feel like he was just too strong to die?  Too terrible to die?

KATHRYN:  No!  And I don’t even think he was terrible.  I think he was very, very sick.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  So I just think that this illness is…that’s terrible.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  Schizophrenia, you know, all these illnesses, schizophrenia, bi-polar, alcoholism, whatever it is, and you know so many of these things happen because of drugs and alcohol…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …and, you know, that’s not been in any stories, but I really think that I was just so sad.  I was sad that I’d lost so many years of music.  I was sad that I had to now tell my children who I was.  I was sad that a person had to live and fight with this horrible illness for so long with schizophrenia.  And then I gathered up and wrote a song immediately that went, (Kathryn sings), “It’s my first day of freedom, for many a day.”  I’ll tell you this because it’s funny, (Kathryn sings), “My ages are older now, my heart smiles away.  From the moment I saw him, and heard how he played, I fell hard and fast, yeah, but he couldn’t stay,” and my 8-year-old son, at the time, Lorenzo Conti, jumped up and this is what he sang, Todd, “Why don’t you pray?  Why don’t you pray?  Why don’t you pray?” and that’s what he started singing.  And I looked at Lorenzo, and I said, “Can I have that?”

TODD:  (Laughs) Are you using it?

KATHRYN:  (Laughing) Yes.  It was the first song I cut.  It’s not out yet.  I cut it with Pete Sears, he starred with Jefferson Starship, and…

TODD:  What’s the name of the song?

KATHRYN:  ‘Why Don’t You Pray.’

TODD:  Okay, I wanted you to say it loud where I could hear you really good.  Will we be able to add a clip at this point in this conversation, of this recording?

KATHRYN:  Absolutely.  I’ll get it right to you tomorrow.  When I get home tonight, I’ll email it to you.

TODD:  So it will actually be on the website.  We’ll set up a special webpage for you, as we do with all of our guests, so it will be here forever, and the link will be here so that anybody can listen to this song.

KATHRYN:  Great.

TODD:  How much are you going to charge me for it?


TODD:  You’re going to let us have it, huh?

KATHRYN:  Yes.  And, Lorenzo, I don’t know, we might have to, you know he may give us a run for our money because after I said to him, “Can I have that?” he said, “How much will you pay me?”

TODD:  So, he’s wanting his royalty too?

KATHRYN:  Yeah.  (Laughs)

TODD:  Already?  Wow.

KATHRYN:  But that was a really powerful moment, of course, for my child to participate in this creation, and…there you have it.

TODD:  How long have you been Kathryn Keats Conti?

KATHRYN:  I’ve been Kathryn Keats Conti when it comes to paying bills…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …being the traditional girl that I kind of am, except that I can’t cook, since 1993.  I married my husband, Richard Conti, he’s as actor.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  People may have seen him in lots of different movies.  I married him in 1993; I met him in 1989.

TODD:  How did you tell him about Ellen?

KATHRYN:  Ummm…very little.

TODD:  Very carefully, right?


TODD:  And, was that something that you, now how do you do that?  Did you explain that at the beginning of the relationship, or do you try to let the relationship have a chance and then explain it?  How do you do that?

KATHRYN:  Well, I was in an interesting situation because, really, if I gave my family any information…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …it could put them in danger.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  So I didn’t explain it.  I did have very severe traumatic stress syndrome, however, so Richard knew bits and pieces…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …of the story, and that I’d had a very traumatic experience.

TODD:  Did he just…faith?  Did he just…?

KATHRYN:  Did he what?

TODD:  Did he…when you said that he didn’t realize; was this something that he just trusted you with?

KATHRYN:  Yes.  He trusted me and then I told him the whole story after I found out that Ken had died.

TODD:  So that was very recently, actually?

KATHRYN:  Yes, it was 26 months ago, actually, the exact time.

TODD:  Was it…?

KATHRYN:  It was very recent.

TODD:  Was it worse than he thought it was, or not as bad?

KATHRYN:  I actually think it was much worse than he thought it was.

TODD:  Wow.  Because I would probably have conjured up, you know, not belittling what you did go through, but you know, all sorts of thoughts come to mind.  Something that’s so important that you had to change your name and become somebody else.

KATHRYN:  I think my husband had never heard of the kind of things that I went through.

TODD:  Was he relieved to have it over with?  That it’s over, he’s dead, I know the whole story and now we can put that part of our life…because there’s a healing process, you both know that you together have to go through a healing process.

KATHRYN:  Right, because he didn’t marry Ellen.

TODD:  Yeah.

KATHRYN:  He didn’t marry a singer, and a songwriter and a performer, who is a public person.

TODD:  So, suddenly Ellen is moving back in with you to some degree.

KATHRYN:  Right.

TODD:  So he had to learn who Ellen was.

KATHRYN:  A large degree, I think, the other day we were all sitting around and I said, “Okay, we are not going to talk about me, at all,” and I could see the relief on his face, you know, because since March, when the Reader’s Digest came out, our whole house has been a press tour.  And for my children, and for Richard, they have been heroes.  They have been nothing but supportive, and they’ve got to be so tired of hearing about me, and they’re balancing that with also helping me heal, and I also have to help them, and especially my children, understand that this is not a betrayal of their lives.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  And I think for them, especially for my 12-year-old, who was 10 at the time, there may be some lasting effect in that.  And Victim/Witness is so good, Todd.

TODD:  Yeah, tell us about that.

KATHRYN:  They were willing, after 20 years, to pay for my son’s therapy.  This is how good Victim/Witness is.  Victim/Witness started in 1982…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …in Oakland, California.  Now it’s, you know, it’s throughout the United States and they have expanded and become servers of so many people.  If anybody needs anything, a family member, someone who’s gone through any trauma or is a member of somebody who has, they can help you for free.

TODD:  And this is where you cross over into our world.  This is part of the reason why this is the type of show that you’ve been invited to, at this point in time, is because of the abuse and then the recovery, the Witness Protection, so it wouldn’t have cost you anything, nothing.

KATHRYN:  Every state has Victim/Witness.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  Every state has a Victim/Witness program, so you can either call 411, or the operator, or go on and Google them and you will find it in your state, and every city, no matter where you live, they’ll be somewhere accessible to you, and if you can’t get to someone in Victim/Witness, they’ll find a way to get to you and help you.

TODD:  And at this point in your webpage that we made for you on Missing Pieces, I’m going to work with Kathryn and we are going to get together and we will provide, on this website, a complete list for every state, so that we can help anybody that can relate to her story in their own way, and find these people that she’s given such a wonderful endorsement.

KATHRYN:  Yes, and I will completely…that’s so cool.  I will participate in that with you.

TODD:  So you’re drafted.  So you’re going to be with us for a while.  This is not a show where we’re done with you after this broadcast.  You just began.

KATHRYN:  You’re right.  Thank you.

TODD:  And we’re probably going to ask you, you know, I’m going to hear from people after this, after they hear this, that are going to have questions.    

KATHRYN:  They can email me.

TODD:  You’re the lady I’m going to holler at, so…

KATHRYN:  Yeah, and if they want to email me, through you, I’ll answer them.

TODD:  Well, we’ll connect you.  I know they can find you; we’re going to have links to your website available on our website, but if we have anybody that contacts us directly, we’ll definitely put them in touch with you if that’s their wish, and I know how to find you by phone too, so I may be giving you a call.

KATHRYN:  And I love that you said that this is a process, because it is, and every day is so different, and it is NOT easy, for me.

TODD:  Well, you had to blossom, and now you’ve got to bear fruit.  The fruit is, I think, in part, not just your songs, but being able to give back and help somebody that’s actually going through something similar.  If you can do something to save somebody a second of pain, and I know that you can, just from reading your story, I know you’re going to.


TODD:  And we’re going to make sure that you are given that opportunity to do it again and again.

KATHRYN:  Thank you.

TODD:  So that’s important and I think you’re going to save people a great deal of suffering, and I hope that inspires you to write even more songs.

KATHRYN:  Absolutely.  And I’ve been out speaking.

TODD:  Now, tell us about public speaking.  Now, that has to be something…you were at a dark point in your life…

KATHRYN:  Uh huh.

TODD:  …so this is a 180.

KATHRYN:  Uh huh.

TODD:  Now you’re standing out, and you can be seen, and you can speak out, and you can be out in front of everybody.

KATHRYN:  Uh huh.

TODD:  But yet you were able to transform and to do that so easily, or is it?

KATHRYN:  Well, no, it’s not easy.

TODD:  It looks like it is from where I can read about you.

KATHRYN:  I know it looks like it is, it’s not, and if you ask my husband, he’d be the first one to tell you, “It’s not so easy.”  I mean, as easy as it looks, as difficult, and you know this, it’s as difficult as it is.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  It has taken a large group of people to help.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  Friends, professionals, people who are giving from their heart, I mean, it’s amazing to me that people have gathered to help me reclaim my life and my music.  I’m completely, completely honored and overwhelmed by that.  The other day I was driving in my car, and I started crying and I said these words, “How do you tolerate this much love?”

TODD:  Hmmm.

KATHRYN:  And I think that that is really the lesson for me and for all of us who go through these horrific, horrific experiences, people will step up and be with us.

TODD:  You know I think people want to help.


TODD:  And often you don’t know how to help somebody, you know, I’ve seen people that live on the streets, and you know, we try to communicate with them before, but you can’t always do that.

KATHRYN:  Right.

TODD:  There’s such a set of problems that they might have that you can’t reach out, but, and then there’s times that you’re just able to just give somebody something, that is so easy for you to give, but it’s so much for them to receive.

KATHRYN:  Uh huh.

TODD:  And, you know, it’s a good feeling.

KATHRYN:  It’s…it’s…

TODD:  It is overwhelming.  You know, it is overwhelming at times.

KATHRYN:  It is, because people are taking time from their very busy lives, to help another, and I just think we’re amazing people, all of us.  The potential that we have, once you start giving, is…that’s such an overwhelming thing.  So the speaking tours that I’m doing, I’m doing a lot of benefit speaking, and we always combine it with music, sometimes my whole band comes with me and we do a whole benefit.  Sometimes it’s just me and I like to work and sing in a cappella, and every single time I go out and speak, I have to sit and think and think and think before I write what it is, because each time it’s different…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …because every day different.

TODD:  Okay, starting right here, just say were actually coming to a talk tonight, you know, and you’re already kind of in the mood with what we’ve already talked about, you’re talking to people, you know, I think you’ve seen now that since we’ve communicated with you, missing and unidentified persons, it all ties in together.  How would you start giving a pep talk?

KATHRYN:  Oh well, the first thing I would say was, “My name is Kathryn Keats.  My name was Ellen Christian Munger.”

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  “I stand before you tonight in a place where we all feel like a faith, where we feel like we are one.  I don’t take this for granted.  I do not take standing in the light, where I know surely I will be seen, for granted.”

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  “I was forced to change my identity in order to save my life.  Now, don’t get me wrong, changing the name Munger, was not difficult, but letting go of my identity and music was.”

TODD:  Munger’s not such a bad name.

KATHRYN:  (Laughs)

TODD:  You’ve insulted all the Mungers out there.

KATHRYN:  God bless my father, I know, it’s not a bad name.

TODD:  It doesn’t exactly go with a musical career.


TODD:  I give you that.

KATHRYN:  I just say it because I feel like must be some…there is joy for all of us.  There is joy for all of us or we wouldn’t still be walking above ground.  And we all have jobs to do, and if you’re a survivor, you have a job to do.

TODD:  You know, I think you owe it back.

KATHRYN:  You got it.

TODD:  When you’re allowed to survive something, you know it’s not over. 

KATHRYN:  Right.

TODD:  I think that people that have been survivors actually have to turn around and have got to pay it back.

KATHRYN:  You’re right.  You can’t sit in that rocking chair and just say, “Hmm, that’s great.”  Just like you said at the beginning of the show, I mean, no, if you are walking above ground and you have survived these kinds of things, you have work to do.

TODD:  Well you’ve learned something.  When you’re actually a survivor, you’ve learned an incredible lesson.  You’ve survived it.  It is your obligation to share with other people what you’ve learned, you know, it was put out upon you for a reason.

KATHRYN:  Right.  Right.

TODD:  Maybe not as a punishment, you know, I don’t think God punishes anybody like, “I’m going to do this to Ellen…”

KATHRYN:  Oh no, no, no, no, no.  No.

TODD:  “…for something that she’s done wrong in her life, and I want to punish her.”  It might have been a gift.  You know, I don’t know, and I don’t think we’re ever really going to know until the end.

KATHRYN:  Well, it is what you make it, isn’t it?

TODD:  Well, you might actually be thankful for what happened to you, at some point in time, that you’re able…we don’t know what it’s going to create in you life, and others.

KATHRYN:  I know.  Isn’t that amazing.

TODD:  And I love that you’re taking it so positive.  I hope that people can hear this conversation and think, “I’m going to make my life positive too.”

KATHRYN:  Oh, yes.  Yes.

TODD:  What do you do when you have a basket of lemons?

KATHRYN:  That’s right.

TODD:  You make lemonade.  You have to.  And that’s when at my darkest point, is when I’ve been able to light the brightest fires, when it’s been my darkest because I’m motivated to do so…it’s like I’m not sitting in the dark.

KATHRYN:  Right.  It’s always darkest right before the dawn.

TODD:  But you start gathering wood, looking for a way to light a fire.  That’s the first thing you do.  Do you miss Ellen?

KATHRYN:  Do I miss Ellen?  You know what I miss?  Wow…whew…ohh.

TODD:  Do you miss her?  Feel sorry for her?  Feel a little bit of guilt that she’s not there anymore?  Or, is she right there in your heart?

KATHRYN:  She’s me.  I mean, I’m Ellen.  Ellen is in my heart.  A year before I met Ken, my brother had been killed…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …and we had this big fight, and I wouldn’t take him to work on his motorcycle, and I was 16, and that night the phone rang and he had been hit on his motorcycle, so, of course, that began my circling the drain and my downfall into just being open for all the darkness that ever existed, because I felt so guilty…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …and so ashamed.  So, you know, as Ellen, as Kathryn, as my children call me Kathryn Ellen Keats Christian Munger Conti…

TODD:  Is that going to be your epitaph?


TODD:  The whole thing?

KATHRYN:  (Laughing) I don’t know.  I think I’m changing my name to Jason Epstein.  Forget about all this stuff.

TODD:  That would be a good idea.  You should just go with Kathryn, and just leave it at that.  Kathryn Ellen.

KATHRYN:  Yeah.  Yeah, of course.  Yeah, that’s right.

TODD:  And we’ve poked a little bit of fun at this changing process, but you know I think we’re mostly; I’m just trying to show that you still have an incredible sense of humor, and I think that’s so important that people keep that sense of humor because this is something that’s carried through from Ellen too.

KATHRYN:  Uh huh.

TODD:  I’m sure.  I’m sure you’re very much the same person in so many ways.

KATHRYN:  Oh, I do too.  And, you know, it takes a while to get there, if it’s a new experience you’re going through or…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …a new loss, there are no rules, and there’s no right way to reclaim yourself or your joy or your belief that things are going to be okay but, at one point, the light does start to come up, or the sun, or however you would put that, you’re much better with words than I, but there is a day when it does happen.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  And when it does, grab hold, even if it’s for one second, and experience it.  And then the next time it comes, grab hold, so that it can start becoming a habit.  It’s about habits at some point, I think.  You can make that choice if you’re going to be happy…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …or if you’re going to be miserable and live in your monologue of your loss, and sometimes you just have to be willing to give up your monologue.

TODD:  And move forward.

KATHRYN:  You know what I mean, Todd?

TODD:   I do.  I do, and I hope that other people can too.  How do you compare the process and the healing process of what you’re going through, as compared to the death of a family member?  How does that compare?

KATHRYN:  Oh, my experience of losing my brother, and then my mother 5 years later is, I think, much harder…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …than having the physical abuse and the ritualistic abuse…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …and being in hiding.  I think the loss, especially of my brother, so randomly, you know, I looked for him for years, because I never saw his body, so I didn’t ever really think he was dead.

TODD:  And that’s very common.  Could you tell us how he died?

KATHRYN:  He died in a motorcycle accident.

TODD:  Okay, but did he…was he…?  You said you never saw his body.

KATHRYN:  He died of internal bleeding and my parents didn’t believe in an open casket.

TODD:  Okay, so that’s how you never got to see the body, okay.

KATHRYN:  Right, and so I just looked for years and years and years for John, my brother.  I think that that experience was…it’s just the hardest…I just can’t…there are no words for it.

TODD:  Well, you have to accept it before you can heal.  That’s part of it.  You’ve got to accept, “Okay, this is reality,” and, you know, I still have things that I thought I’d grieved over family members that have passed away, that I think that I’ve grieved over, that I know that I have not yet dealt with until certain points in my life.  There are going to be times when something will come full circle and its like, “Now I have to deal with this.”

KATHRYN:  You notice I haven’t talked that much about my mother?

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  Well, I was only 22 when she died.  I haven’t even looked that in the face yet.  And I’m 47 years old!

TODD:  Well, it’s getting to that because you…it’s just like you’ve…there’s a lot of things, because you’ve got things going on in your life that you’ve…I don’t know what I want to call it, it’s not avoiding it…

KATHRYN:  Well, you never know.

TODD:  …you’ve just decided not to challenge it yet, maybe, I don’t know.

KATHRYN:  Yeah, but I mean, whatever word give it, it’s something that is going to have to be…

TODD:  Well, you know it’s coming, but its like, “I’m not going to deal with it right now.”

KATHRYN:  Right, but I’m going to have you to thank because you just said, “Here it is,” which is great.  (Laughing)  See, how things works?

TODD:  If you watched, I think it was a Dolly Parton movie, where she was a radio therapist, Dr. Shirley…I forgot the name of it, but they thought she was a doctor, and she was doing a radio talk show, and she was actually trying to treat people and deal with their problems, and they found out she wasn’t really a doctor, but you know you do start trying to talk to people about their problems…

KATHRYN:  Uh huh.

TODD:  …and sometimes you bring up things and you think, “Wow, maybe I shouldn’t have said that to that person because maybe I’ve set them off on something that it’s not my place to make them deal with, right now.”

KATHRYN:  Oh, well, I say thank you to you.

TODD:  Good.  (Laughs)

KATHRYN:  Because I am extremely interested in taking care of that part, because I think as a survivor, you’ve got to take care of all these parts because you’ve got so many people to take care of as well.  And then I have my family, my children, I’m their mother; I’m a wife.

TODD:  Because you survived it.  It’s still not over…your life, you’ve still got to live out the rest of your life as Kathryn.

KATHRYN:  That’s right.

TODD:  Were there people that your husband hadn’t met until after?  Were there some of your family members that he was not able to meet until after?   

KATHRYN:  Everybody’s dead.

TODD:  So he never met cousins or nothing, right?

KATHRYN:  We did one trip back to Golconda, Illinois…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …where the only 4 surviving members in my entire family, on both sides, are.  And they didn’t know anything about it.

TODD:  Hmm.

KATHRYN:  So, you know, that was a really tricky situation.

TODD:  I bet it was.  I bet it was going to be hard to even deal with actually being there, because you had to deal with all these little schemes behind the facts, you know.

KATHRYN:  Right now we talk all the time.  So, “Hello, Golconda, Illinois.”

TODD:  So you got it off your chest.  So you’re from Illinois and you were in California when this happened to you?

KATHRYN:  But I’m from Indiana.

TODD:  Okay.

KATHRYN:  And I moved to California; I was in Oakland.

TODD:  Now, how did a Yankee get over in California?  (Laughter)

KATHRYN:  First I went to New York City to become a star, and I got on the road with the man that we were speaking of…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …and landed, luckily, right down the street from my sister.

TODD:  So Ellen just took you everywhere, and you got to where you were supposed to be.

KATHRYN:  That’s right, and have the good sense to put me near my sister.

TODD:  Maybe Ellen was looking for you.

KATHRYN:  Yeah, I know.

TODD:  I mean, really, maybe this was what…this is part of your destiny.

KATHRYN:  Yeah.  Yeah.

TODD:  I think we all have a destiny.

KATHRYN:  I do too.

TODD:  And sometimes I look down the tunnel and I get scared and I think, “I’m going back.”  I don’t want to have to deal with some of the things I find that I am going to have to deal with.

KATHRYN:  Right.

TODD:  And it’s so good to do one of these shows where we can laugh and just enjoy it because you’ve got such a positive outlook.  You know what lies ahead of you.  You know you’ve got things to deal with, we all do.

KATHRYN:  I was grumbling with something the other day about being tired, and my friend said, “You’re the one that opened Pandora’s Box.”

TODD:  Yes.

KATHRYN:  And I said, “Yes, I did, and I won’t forget that.”  When he said that, it was so true.  Darn right, I knew exactly what I was stepping in to, and you know what?  I’m really glad I did.

TODD:  Well I had no idea what was happening to me when I was working on some of this stuff, and it kind of gets away from you.  I didn’t know that there would be days that completely consumed and changed life.  You know I had no idea.


TODD:  The time I’ve spent on some of this stuff, I could have been a doctor, you know.

KATHRYN:  But what you’re doing in amazing!

TODD:  You like to think you’re helping make a difference, and help take somebody’s story like yours and take it and share with just one person.  And I get something.  I get something out of every one of these.  I can relate to everybody that I have ever interviewed, and I take a little piece of them and put them into little holes in my heart, that have been left in my heart.  So you’ll always be with me; I know it.


TODD:  There will always be something of you with me.

KATHRYN:  Aw, thank you.

TODD:  And hopefully it will help somebody else.  Now, you’re in LA.  At the first of the show, we talked about you be in LA, and you didn’t think we’d be able to talk for an hour, but we’ve already talked for 45 minutes.
KATHRYN:  I know.  Look at us.

TODD:  It’s easy.  You’re in LA right now; you’re in a car talking on a cell phone.  We usually don’t let people use a cell phone, because they don’t usually pick up very well, but yours is doing really good.

KATHRYN:  Oh good.

TODD:  Why are you in LA?  Can you talk about that at all?

KATHRYN:  Yes, I’m in LA.  I’m sitting next to Fred Anderson, who I knew when I went to Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and Fred knows me as Ellen…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …and found me through Reader’s Digest.  We hadn’t seen each other in 20 years.

TODD:  I found you in a newspaper article; in fact, Kimberly did and thought, “Let’s try to talk to that lady.”

KATHRYN:  In the San Francisco Chronicle.

TODD:  I thought, “She’s interesting, we’ve definitely got to talk to her.”

KATHRYN:  That’s so wonderful.  Wow.  So, we are here and Fred works in the industry, as a publisher…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …and he didn’t email me about that, but he emailed me about, “There you are!  Do you remember me/” And I said, “Of course I remember you.”

TODD:  Because you surfaced all of a sudden.

KATHRYN:  Yeah.  Overnight.

TODD:  Here she is!

KATHRYN:  That’s right.  Overnight.  Overnight.  You know I did the Montel Williams Show…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …and saw 5 or 6 people, 7, 8, 9, 10…I don’t even know how many people that just thought I had disappeared off the face of the earth, which is what I had done.

TODD:  Had nobody been looking for you?  I mean, I’ve not seen…

KATHRYN:  Yes, people had been looking for me.

TODD:  …any missing person report, as far as that goes.  I’ve tried to kind of look for a few; there might be some out there, but has there had never been, which I know family would have been the first to have done that, but obviously they didn’t.

KATHRYN:  I don’t have any.

TODD:  Even back then, though?  It was like I didn’t see anything that told me you were gone.

KATHRYN:  No, I was wiped off the face of the earth.

TODD:  Wouldn’t somebody have to wonder where you were at?    

KATHRYN:  Well, my sister knew where I was.

TODD:  Did anybody ever ask her?

KATHRYN:  I don’t know.  I never asked her.

TODD:  Well, we’ve got to get her and talk to her.

KATHRYN:  One life-long friend always knew where I was and what was happening, and we were working together, but, yeah, people did try to track me down.  One time I did a show, I tried to do a show again, and somebody came to the stage manger and said, “Is that Ellen Munger?” and that was the last show I ever did.  So people, yes, they did wonder…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …and they did try to find me.

TODD:  I think it’s real important that you talk to your sister and get some stories from her because you’re working on a story right now…

KATHRYN:  Right.

TODD:  …and you’re going to need all that data.

KATHRYN:  Better yet, my high school class, because they could not find me.

TODD:  So you missed your reunions?

KATHRYN:  I’ve never been to a reunion.

TODD:  When are you going to go?

KATHRYN:  I don’t know.  My next one’s probably my 80th reunion, or something.

TODD:  Wow.  You’re going to have to wear a badge that says Ellen.

KATHRYN:  Exactly.  Oh, of course.  They’ll refuse to call me Kathryn.  Like the whole high school really, they didn’t know where I was, and when my father died last year, and we buried him in Evansville, I did get to see a few people from my high school, including my music teacher.  So that began the process of people finding me.  People had been looking but, boy, when you disappear off the planet, it took 18 months for me to prove who I was, Todd.

TODD:  Yeah, you had to come back, you know.

KATHRYN:  There’s still a story to be written.  If there hadn’t been a jury trial…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …I don’t think I ever could have come back.

TODD:  And we didn’t even get to talk about some of that stuff.  What I’m relying on is, those are the stories that the newspapers covered, and so anybody listening to this broadcast, it’s real important for you to understand these behind-the-scene chats that we’re having right now, you need to read the articles, you need to read the links on this page so that you understand exactly what caused all of this.  This is the reason for these conversations we’re having now.  It’s real important for people to read it before they listen.  I say that at the end of the broadcast, right?

KATHRYN:  That’s great.

TODD:  (Chuckles)

KATHRYN:  That’s great.

TODD:  I should have said it at the first on the broadcast, but…

KATHRYN:  Well, I’m so new, you know, truly to coming out and talking about these things that doing interviews for me, I’m a novice.

TODD:  Uh huh.  Well, I like to tape these conversations, and sometimes I forget, the reason I wanted to do this particular show is because I had had so many conversations with interesting people, and I used to think, “Wow, I wish I’d tape recorded that.  That was one of the most wonderful people that I ever talked to in my life,” and it’s gone, and then you start forgetting the conversation, and then you think, ”Boy, I wish that I had tape recorded that.”


TODD:  Somebody could have really got something out of that, and I can go back now, you’re Number 41, the 41st interview, and I can still go back today and look and listen to some of the former interviews and I’m thinking, “You know, I’d have forgot that if I hadn’t tape recorded that.”  Or I could read it now, and I hope it helps you in the future because you’re doing a book, right?

KATHRYN:  Yes.  Yup.  Absolutely.  We’re in talks and that’s why we are in LA having meetings about a movie.  I really believe that I am supposed to be healing and be of service.  I’m really keeping my eye on that, and ‘After The Silence’ I’m creating a non-profit so that speaking can keep going on.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  And people can go out and speak and tell their stories, and by telling their stories, they can reclaim their own lives, and help other people reclaim theirs.  No matter the cause…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …because aren’t all of our stories relative?

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  I believe they’re all relative.

TODD:  It’s called life, right?  It’s just another facet of life.  We all just have different ways of going through it.

KATHRYN:  Yeah, and one is no bigger than the other.  It’s all the same.

TODD:  Uh huh.  Well, and it’s how…it’s what you make of it.  It’s how you deal with it.  And, you know I know some people that have had incredibly tragic things happen in their life, and I thought, “Well, I would have laid down and died too if it happened to me.”  And then, not only did they survive, they’ve excelled past it.

KATHRYN:  And you know what, that brings up one thing I want to say about a question you asked.

TODD:  Uh huh

KATHRYN:  Five years after my brother was killed, and right after my brother was killed, my mother quit talking, and she just died, and I think that’s part of why I refused to not pick up…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …and by the bootstraps, come hell or high water, I’m not going to stop, because I saw my mother do that, and she had other children.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  And you, as a parent, if you lose a child and you have other children, you cannot stop.  You must fight out of it.

TODD:  Well, you’ve got the obligation to the other children.


TODD:  You know you still have to be a mother.

KATHRYN:  My Mom quit.  And then I met Ken and just went, you know, that was it, a year later.  So I think that is a big reason now that you had mentioned earlier, why I do just keep going forward.

TODD:  Maybe you’re afraid to stop.

KATHRYN:  No, I believe that you really do have to fight through these things.

TODD:  And keep going.

KATHRYN:  Yes, because it’s no bigger or smaller than anybody else’s.  We all have it.  We all have something.  No one comes out unscathed.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  And, yes, there are times when we want to lay down and die, like you said.

TODD:  I’m afraid to stop.  I’m afraid a lot will catch up with me.

KATHRYN:  (Laughs)

TODD:  Because there’s always something nipping at your heels, you know, and you don’t want to stop and face these things that are inevitably going to catch you.  You know, you have to deal with everything in time.  I had a grandmother that died when I was 9 months old, and I didn’t really deal with her death until my grandfather died, and it was time to bury them side by side and get the double headstone.  It’s something I always knew I would do but until that point in time had come, where I got a double headstone, I hadn’t really dealt with it, not yet.  But then I was fulfilling a full circle, and I thought, “Finally, that task is finally done.”  I got to do it.  I wasn’t glad he had passed away; of course, it’s hard to say we were happy, but it’s like finally, that chore that was right behind me, is finally done.

KATHRYN:  Right.  Right.

TODD:  And I can move forward, and not have to worry about it anymore.  It’s like; I’ve already been through that pain, now I’ll never have to do that again.

KATHRYN:  I’ll tell you when we should talk again; we should talk on July 24th…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …because my mother died on July 24th, and so did my father.

TODD:  Wow.  Now that’s interesting.  That is a…that’s a double whammy on that date.

KATHRYN:  Uh huh.

TODD:  Here’s what I’d like to do with you.  I know you’ve got some things going on and you’ve got the movie possibility; I’d like to get you back some time this summer.  There are the questions to ask about your sister and, you know, something about your brother.  There are questions that you have never been able to fully answer tonight.  Do you think that you will be able to answer them then?


TODD:  And tell us what happened?

KATHRYN:  Uh huh.  If I have time to think on them…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …I would love to do that.

TODD:  And you’re about to enter a probably, and I know how these deals go in Hollywood, but you’re probably going to enter a screenwriting phase.

KATHRYN:  Well, I’m not going to be doing the screenwriting.

TODD:  But you’re going to be talking to them?

KATHRYN:  Yeah, but it’s done, a lot of the screenwriting and stuff, people are doing.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  And I’m going to be, of course, consulting with them, if they need me, if they want that.

TODD:  You better stick close, let me tell you.

KATHRYN:  I’m sticking close to me music, my records; the CD hasn’t been released yet.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  But people want it.  I will send it to you, personalized, it comes from me.

TODD:  I’ve got to have an autographed copy now, you know that.

KATHRYN:  Yay!  Yeah, of course.

TODD:  I’ve got to go on the special treatment list.

KATHRYN:  Oh, of course.

TODD:  (Laughs)

KATHRYN:  Just name the number.  And we are going to be on www.rdmusic.com.

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  That’s Reader’s Digest music, which is wonderful.  I’m just tickled pink.  To have music back, there are no words…there are no words.  And we just got on iTunes…

TODD:  Uh huh.

KATHRYN:  …so, you know, I’m like a little kid.  I’m like a little kid…a 4-year-old that just got a popsicle.

TODD:  Well, you’re getting to play again.  You know I think all this is behind you, and this is a sure sign that you’ve really got to the point in healing because you’re able to sing again.


TODD:  It’s able to out again and you’re happy.  For all that’s happened to you, you’re one of the happiest people I’ve ever known.

KATHRYN:  I know.

TODD:  To have survived this, but I know it took effort.  You had to make it be that way.

KATHRYN:  Uh huh.

TODD:  And I hope that everybody that hears this can appreciate that fact.  And we’ll tell everybody goodbye for now, but we will have you back.

KATHRYN:  All right.  And I’m here for anyone.  I’m so honored that you had me on the show.

TODD:  Well I honored to have you, and you better not think you’re too hot to come back. (Laughs)    

KATHRYN:  Oh, well…hello.  No.

TODD:  We’re going to hang on to you.  We’re definitely going to stay in touch with you and I think you’ve talked about a couple of things tonight that I think we’re going to be able to help each other in ways, in other facets of our lives that I’ll tell you about as we get to those points, but we’ve got some similar points that I don’t think you’re aware of yet.


TODD:  But, we’ll talk.  We’ll be talking.

KATHRYN:  I can’t wait.

TODD:  We’ll say goodbye to everybody for now, and then we’re going to talk a little bit longer on the telephone, and then I’ll let you get back to your wheelin’ and dealin’ in LA.

KATHRYN:  Thank you so much, and thank you to everybody.

TODD:  Goodnight everybody.

KATHRYN:  Goodnight.


Missing Pieces is a weekly 1 hour Public Service Announcement brought to you by www.LFGRC.org

Missing Pieces comes to you in the form of a radio show / PSA
as well as a resource / archive located at www.MissingPieces.info
that is produced and maintained by

All production efforts, services and web space are donated by
the above entity on a voluntary basis.

Site Meter

Guest: Kathryn Keats
Singer, Songwriter and Survivor
Missing Pieces would like to thank the following for their support:
Pastor Wayne Fitzpatrick and Eric Meadows with
WCAN Radio.com
Aired: June 12, 2007
After The Silence
It may be helpful to review this case prior to listening to episode in audio format.
Special Thanks to
with www.whokilledtheresa.blogspot.com
for transcribing this episode!

Taken from Your Life! Magazine:
Originally publication: Singing Into The Light
by: Kathleen Giordano

Kathryn Keats, formerly known as Ellen Christian Munger, lived in virtual hiding from a former live-in lover for fifteen years.  This man, Ken Ford, who was a well-known and accomplished composer/musician,  suffered with the insidious disease known as Schizophrenia.  For years, he mentally, physically, ritualistically and emotionally abused Kathryn.  He was not only her lover but was her artistic collaborator as well. 

After a five week jury trial, a court gave Mr. Ford a two year sentence to a mental institution in Napa, California.  He was not only a danger to himself and others in general, but, specifically,  continued to be a threat to Kathryn. With the intervention of the police and the help of the Victim's Witness organization, Kathryn was given a new identity to keep her safe from further harm.

Ten months ago, Kathryn found out that Ken had died.  Since that time she has been able to reclaim her life as a singer and composer by performing in concerts in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  She has recorded with Pete Sears of Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship, Aram Avagyan, Gunnar Madsen and many others.

Her one woman show After The Silence is being released as a book.  The harrowing details of her relationship with Mr. Ford have been written into a feature film by Hollywood's hottest screenwriter, Chrisanna Northrup.

Mark Monroe, Kathryn's manager and director, has set up a series of performances in Los Angeles that will feature her original work and story.  She is also enjoying great success scoring feature films.

Keats has never been happier or more determined.  There is no looking back for this enormously talented woman.  Kathryn is a survivor.

"Not enough can be said about getting one's identity back,"  says Keats.  "It feels absolutely incredible to be free from living in fear every day."