Passive Echoes

II. Continuation of "The Proposal"



"Marcia's leaving school in January 1971 would not have transpired if she had known that I was still in love with her. She was suffering from unrequited love (her love for me which I failed to reciprocate), as well as a legitimate illness. After we were dating again she confided to me that had she known my true feelings, that nothing including her illness would have kept her from remaining with me in Winston-Salem."

Since September, 1971, Marcia has made Larry feel like a king and the sentiments of the song "Crowned and Kissed" has become his theme song. It is descriptive of the way and the manner in which she has given him her soul, mind, and heart since September, 1971. Even the trombone solo in this song is reminiscent of the many performances that Marcia sat in the night club crowd to watch him perform. She says Larry's tone and technique was much sweeter and smoother than the trombonist performing on the recording.

Marcia and close friend, Ben.He recognized her misery before she left in early ’71. Although unhappy, Marcia always strived to appear as though she was in control and put on a convincing act at times to conceal her inner discontentment with life. She attempted to be hard, but it went contrary to her essence. Marcia has too much heart and cares too deeply about people to be apathetic and uninvolved. This was also her greatest weakness and oftentimes exposed her to being taken advantaged of. 


"Regrettably, I intentionally inflicted emotional distress and pain on her that year…to hurt her as I had imagined in my own twisted way that I had been hurt by her. I succeeded in doing so, far beyond my own expectations."

One of my greatest regrets is that I took a chance, rolled the dice, hoping that my actions before she left would force her to reflect on the possibility that she could lose me for good, not realizing that she felt that she had already done so. That was a possibility that I never conceived.

In actuality, I came so very close to losing her forever, especially when I broke her heart by not responding to her letters after promising to do so. If I had known that she had doubts that I still cared, I would have set aside my pride  to reassure her of how utterly impossible it was to ever stop loving her.

It was my sole intention to send her a message by my actions that I was not going to continue waiting for her to rid herself of, in her own words, the "foolishness and play". Though very young, I was ready for absolute commitment and so very wearied of meaningless relationships with other girls. Marcia was the girl, the woman of my dreams and hopefully my future wife.

Despite numerous obstacles and setbacks in 1968-1970, I had not altered my plans in the least. This was especially so after she telephoned me and gave me some assurances in January 1970. At that time she revived my hopes and dreams which had withered for several months in the latter part of 1969."

Although in many ways they were very much alike, Marcia was quite different from Larry. She was a very extroverted. sociable, trusting, and caring individual. He preferred isolation and had become hardened by life. Loneliness was food for him and nurtured his resentment and loathing for pretentious and hypocritical people, which at the time he felt that NCSA was a breeding ground.

In Larry's view, nearly all the students that he became acquainted with seemed to have an agenda with the exception of his teachers, Kay, several other close friends of Marcia's, and his fellow composition students. Regardless of their major, Larry surmised that they were all drama students, acting and pretending to be something that they were not.

High school and college at NCSA was a microcosm of society as a whole, he felt. Rumors, false allegations, gossip and intrigue abounded and flourished on the campus. It was ravaged by the same insidious and backbiting mentality that infected the world in general. The moral fiber had been long stripped away, eviscerated by the lack of adequate and responsible adult supervision and standards of morality. 

Students were essentially left to pursue pleasures and indulgences at their leisure. The administration attempted to provide direction and imposed discipline when wrongdoing was exposed but the students were exceptional in evading exposure.

Larry was rumored to be a 'Narc' due to his much older looks, staying away from cliques, and his disappearance after classes were over. His reasons for not desiring to live on campus were explained earlier. Marcia defended these false accusations as did Marilyn.

Nevertheless, this was the environment wrought by drug use and countless other forms of immorality rampant on the campus which in turn created suspicion and paranoia. The difference with NCSA from traditional universities is that it also housed middle and high school students intermingled with undergrads and graduate students.

During their courtship, late in ’71, Larry was perplexed as to why such a stunningly beautiful, uniquely talented, and brilliant young lady was plagued by insecurity, self-doubt, and a consuming melancholy. In time she pulled back the curtains to reveal the raw details of her self-hatred and profound sorrow. Larry considered it a privilege and his mission to wipe each tear from her eyes as she shared hidden emotions from her early childhood and beyond.

These feelings had been kept submerged by an outer encasement of smiles, friendliness, and genuine concern for others. Yet, there was a deep and overwhelming pain below the surface that required considerable compassion, abundant love, and encouragement. Similar to Larry, her parents had separated and divorced in her early teens which had a profound impact on her insecurity issues.

On the other hand, commencing in September ’71, his reward for his love and compassion was his becoming the recipient of a raging and passionate love waiting to be unleashed. Marcia literally smothered Larry with the affection that he so desperately needed.  Each day he was indulged with countless cards, notes, expressions of endearment, and a total relinquishment of her heart, body, and mind. She denied him nothing that he desired and he reciprocated in kind.

Each time they searched each other’s eyes they lost all sense of time and space. Reality became a distant blur when they embraced. She was only seen on campus during necessary times for class and rehearsals. Otherwise, she was being caressed and held in his arms, comforted by his words, and soothed by his love. Happiness and joy was rapidly restored to both of them.

When they dated in 1968 rarely did they play or joke with each other as typical 15 year-old teenagers. Rather, they spent most of their time discussing, debating, and exploring the meaning of life, understanding love, and striving to impress each other with their individual perception of maturity. Their relationship was much different this time, beginning on their first date.

Although there were many serious discussions, they had tremendous fun playing football, basketball, wrestling, going to movies, clubs, and playing cards. Larry and Luke taught Marcia to play poker and she repaid them by beating them most of the time. Most importantly, not only were Larry and Marcia deeply in love with each other, they became best friends.

Larry used to tease Marcia for being such a "snoot" because of her superb etiquette. Now, he was extremely impressed with her ability to adapt from being a beautiful "proper lady" to a spunky and tenacious "tomboy" when the occasion called for it. When chosing teammates for any sport or game he never hesitated to partner up with her. He was especially impressed and amazed at her wittiness, competetiveness, and sense of humor. The tide had turned, it was she who made him laugh and smile again.

Larry also abandoned his life-long dreams and aspirations. Although he was different, a loner, and much that he was striving to accomplish as a composer went unnoticed because of the nature of his craft, he sacrificed his precious freedom. In fact, most students at UNCSA were not aware nor understood what composition students actually were there for. Unlike dancers, instrumentalist, actors, and vocalist, they worked in seclusion with only fellow composition majors and their teachers, Dr. Mennini and Dr. Ward.

A composer needs freedom, seclusion, and silence from the world to flourish in his world of music. Love, on the other hand, needs daily nurturing, communication, and companionship. Thus, as swiftly as he abandoned his fellow band members for her, he forfeited his right to the privacy and often isolated and lonely world of a composer. Larry has never looked back or regretted his choice of the two loves of his life. Marcia was the greater of the two. Today, she is second only to God as the most important person in his life.

Why not wait for two more years until Marcia’s graduation or perhaps three for both of them to complete their studies as many suggested?

Marcia and Larry:

"We were so much in love and had already waited years for each other (a modern era Romeo and Juliet). In Larry’s case, more than three years years and nearly two years for Marcia. If circumstances had dictated or necessitated that we wait, we would have. However, we did not believe that such a situation existed.

Additionally, we were of legal age, not needing parental consent, although we desired, pursued, and acquired each of their approval. Marcia's mother essentially acquiesced. She did not disapprove of Larry, but did not want Marcia to abandon her educational opportunities at UNCSA and her career pursuits. She desired that we wait at least two years for Marcia to acquire her degree. Nevertheless, Marcia’s mother and her father  signed our marriage certificate as witnesses.

Perhaps the foremost reason for our desiring marriage is that for young hearts love has an urgency and an unquenchable yearning that is nearly impossible to resist. We felt at that time that college could wait, but not our love. We desperately needed to be with each other. Neither of us were willing to risk even for a moment this second opportunity with each other.

Also, due to the stress of the previous year when we pretended not to be in love with each other, we could no longer bear the agony of days or weeks of separation. December 1971 was agonizing for us both."  

When Larry picked Marcia up from the airport on the morning that she returned to school, they literally ran to each other and she leapt into his awaiting arms with tears of joy. At that moment they vowed that such a prolonged separation would never occur again.

There were those who could not accept their simple explanation that they were very much in love and just wanted to be with each other morning, noon, and night without sneaking around. One so-called "responsible" adult encouraged them to "just live together" without the benefits of honorable matrimony. Larry cherished and respected Marcia and would have never conceived of such a repugnant idea and was angered and disappointed in the individual who made the suggestion."  


"One weekend in late May, Marcia drove from Ahoskie to Newport News to bring her clothes and personal possessions to our new apartment. On that particular occasion we came dangerously close to eloping. This was because Marcia and I did not want to wait any longer to be together as husband and wife.

However, we realized that considerable planning and expense had already been undertaken by Marcia's parents. Neither of us desired a large wedding. She stayed for three days, but ultimately we discussed matters and decided it would be best for her to return home to continue planning for our wedding, now a little more than a month away. We both cried and kissed goodbye for the final time before our marriage."

Marcia and Larry's actual wedding napkin. 



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