Passive Echoes

November 16, 1968



Being with Larry revealed Marcia's lack of commitment to her beau in Ahoskie, despite at one point telling Larry that she loved this boy. As is indicated in her letter in the previous chapter to her mother, they talked for hours each night to the extent that the girls in her dorm would tell each other to make their calls early because once Larry called Marcia no one would be able to receive calls for hours at a time.

Additionally, they spent the entire day together on Saturdays and Sundays. The "big brother" statement was to prevent her mother from knowing the true romantic nature of their relationship, because of the lack of parental supervision during Larry's visitations.

Their telephone conversations, hours in length, were spent discussing philosophy, music, life and their relationship. Marcia mostly listened and asked numerous questions about his viewpoints and Larry would ask her challenging questions that stimulated her quest for knowledge and understanding.

Occasionally he played various jazz albums for her to listen to over the telephone and would ask her impression of the music, and then they would discuss the theoretical aspects of it. 

A favorite singer of his father and his was Arthur Prysock. The first song that Larry played for Marcy was this rendition of the classic song, "My Funny Valentine" by Rodgers and Hart. Larry enjoyed the basic structure of the song based on a c-minor tonic progression and of course the trombone solo.

Marcia enjoyed the musical aspects but disliked the lyrics citing that they were demeaning to the person it was written about. She was rather perturbed and befuddled that this song is regarded to be among the greatest classic "love songs" because of the uncomplimentary nature of the song. Viewing matters from her perspective Larry had to agree with her assessment of the lyrical content which in part states:

"Your looks are laughable, unphotographable, ...Is your figure less than Greek, Is your mouth a little weak, when you open it to speak, are you smart?"

Indeed, their discussions were not typical of 15 year-old teenagers. They were intellectually stimulating and insightful. Both of them derived immense pleasure from them despite Marcia having to stand up (unknown to Larry) while using the pay phone for hours at a time. She never complained because of the satisfaction and enjoyment that she derived from their "rap" sessions.

However, Larry was becoming wearied of their lack of exclusivity and the fact that occasionally both of them would use their other relationship against each other to incite jealousy and maintain an upper hand in the relationship.

One evening, after such an occasion, equally motivated by jealousy and "Ripple", Larry mockingly laughed when she repeated that she still loved her boyfriend back home. Her expressions were in response to Larry's inquiry about the status of her relationship  with this boy after a month away from home and spending exclusive time with him.

Envious and disappointed in her apparent lack of change of heart, Larry sarcastically asked her if she truly understood what the word (love) meant. He then quoted Webster's definition verbatim and straightforwardly questioned Marcia.


"If you truly love him, why are you spending all of your time with me on the telephone and in-person, holding my hands, embracing my shoulders, and kissing my lips, literally hundreds of times? You are using the radio that he gave to you as a going away gift to sing love songs to me! Furthermore, tell me, what do you do with him that you don't do with me?"
"Although his questions and remarks initially angered and upset me, they caused me to examine myself. Needless to say, I ceased using the word with regards to this boy back home and eventually when I went home for a visit I finally ended the relationship.
 Regrettably, in a matter of months, Larry and I stopped seeing each other. Despite my strong feelings and attraction to him, I could not cope with some of his issues, specifically his drinking at the age of 15. I had given him repeated warnings and ultimatums about visiting me after his consumption of alcohol, which he ignored.
Nevertheless, I was still desirous and hoping we could resolve our issues up until our last face-to-face meeting in November, 1968. Although I never let it be known to Larry, because it would have gone to his head, I was absolutely crazy about that boy. It would not have taken much for me to have fallen head-over-heels in love with him if he had shaped up and changed his ways. We were so very young. Yet, we both had a special maturity because of circumstances in our lives. I never stopped caring deeply for him during the years of our separation from 1968-1970.
Of course, he didn't change in 1968, which resulted in our separation. I needed him to not just say that he loved me, but to genuinely prove it by respecting me and desisting from the over drinking. Still, because of our feelings for each other we agreed to remain in contact, mostly through letter writing and occasional telephone calls until the spring of 1970."

Larry began visiting Marcia at UNCSA with alcohol on his breath at some point in September, 1968. She could always tell when he had been drinking, even when he took measures to conceal it on his breath. He would become rude and wanted to debate rather than discuss various issues.

He also lacked tenderness and kindness at such times. Marcia warned him repeatedly that it was damaging their relationship and implored him to never come over when he had been drinking.

Nevertheless, she tolerated him because she was never physically harmed and she deeply cared about him. They would breakup, but a week or so later after he made promises to stop drinking, she would accept him back.

It was the plot of romance novels and movies, “good girl” meets “bad boy” and they are strongly attracted to each other. Next, the drama begins and usually ends in tragedy.

Marcia had also expressed disenchantment to Larry that due to his failure to introduce her to his family, take her to his home, and spend time with her in public beyond NCSA's campus, she felt that he took her for granted or was ashamed to be with her. This, along with his overall callous behavior when he had been drinking led to three breakups in just three months of dating in '68.

What led to their final breakup is what Marcia considers to be among the top five worst dates that any girl could experience. It was definitely number one on her list and on the list of one of her new friends at UNCSA. In mid November Larry and Luke were going to take Marcia and her friend to Anderson High for a basketball game and then take them to get something to eat.

Marcia was preparing and anxiously anticipating it all week. She was splendidly dressed in a beautiful pants and shirt ensemble and was going to wear her brand new winter coat. Her mother had sacrificed to purchase this rather expensive suede and fur coat.

Luke had arranged to borrow his sister’s car. However, when they went to borrow the car, Luke started an argument with his sister over some petty matter. The argument heated up despite Larry’s efforts to calm Luke and his sister’s husband’s efforts to calm her down. As a result she told him to leave and refused to let them borrow her car. When her husband attempted to offer his car he was forbidden to do it.

Larry was very disappointed and upset with Luke. Impulsively without thinking about options and despite having plenty of money, they began walking to NCSA, taking every shortcut that they knew to avoid being late. Marcia’s friend and Luke had never met, thus it was a blind date. When they arrived their dates were gorgeous and dressed fabulously. The girls greeted them with smiles and Marcia kissed Larry hello. Little did he know that this kiss would be his last kiss from her for more than a year and a half.

Without explaining that there had been a change in plans they paired up and began to walk off campus. Marcia and her friend were in high heels and were under the assumption that Luke had parked the car on one of the adjacent streets. After walking some distance, Marcia inquired about the location of the car and Larry finally confessed that they were unable to borrow the car. He informed her that they had to walk to the game. He assured their dates that it wasn’t very far and that they were going to take a shortcut. Marcia did not mind walking, but if she and her friend had known the change in plans they would not have worn heels.

It only got worse. Before long they were traversing a narrow natural walkway with heavy underbrush, thicket, and low hanging trees that would remind one of scenes from a documentary on the Amazon. Furthermore, this was in mid November with only the moon to light their path through the forest. After five minutes of this “expedition” they came out into a clearing and began another twenty five minute stroll to the school.

Larry and Luke were accustomed to this walk and it usually only took them fifteen minutes or less because of their pace. It was unfeasible and completely impractical for their dates to walk at a speedy pace for such a distance in high heels. Nevertheless, they finally arrived at the basketball game exhausted near half time.

Up to this point Marcia and her friend were only moderately perturbed, and as they watched the game their annoyance gradually dissipated. Larry assured Marcia that he would make it up to her and carry them to get something to eat after the game. After the game Larry frantically attempted to find suitable transportation but was unsuccessful. Thus, they had to walk home because there were no telephones available to call for a taxi.

As they began the walk back, the only place that Larry could find open was a pool hall. Because of the potential dangers inside, especially if he escorted two attractive young women in, Larry asked them to remain outside in the cold while he attempted to purchase something to eat. The kitchen area had closed for the night and the only thing he could find were some chips and sodas. Marcia was incensed and thoroughly disappointed in the evening, standing in the cold and shivering with her feet hurting. Then Larry walks out with their dinner, a bag of chips and a soda from a pool hall!

It gets even worse. As they were walking and eating their chips a car passes by and suddenly stopped and waited for them. As they approached the car it was loaded with guys who were “loaded” on cheap wine. They were friends of Larry and Luke and offered them a ride in the small car. Their dates were tired and cold, so Larry accepted the ride, his worst blunder of the evening. Up to this point he would have received only a reprimand and criticism from Marcia, but would have been given the opportunity to make up for it.

However, as they squeezed in the car with their dates sitting on their laps the evening appeared salvageable, though quite humorous. Marcia did not protest and Larry was enjoying her sitting in his lap and holding him around the neck. It was warm and quite cozy in the tiny car. In the “spirit” of hospitality they offered Larry a sip of the vine, a red. Marcia looked at Larry and said no with her eyes, which he ignored. As the uncapped bottle was being passed back to him the car hit a bump in the road. As if in slow motion, Larry watched the bottle’s content slowly descend from the air landing all over Marcia’s expensive new coat, completely ruining it!

Marcia was so angry that she was close to tears and was in no mood for apologies. Larry made light of the situation and offered to have it cleaned. Red wine on the coat would have never come out. Furthermore, what upset Marcia more than the mishap was his lack of genuine concern for her. Her mother had sacrificed for this coat and Larry displayed irresponsibility and immaturity. As he escorted her to her dorm she did not want to speak to him.

When they arrived at the front door Luke and his blind date talked, exchange telephone numbers, and even kissed goodnight. Seeing this, Larry foolishly asked Marcia for a good night kiss! She simply left him standing there without a word. He knew it was over although he attempted on several occasions to apologize and ask for one more chance. She remained angry and said no.

Marcia was unaccustomed to being treated in such a manner and was more than justified in terminating their courtship. She was a lady and deserved to be treated like one.


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