Passive Echoes

A Long Overdue, but Sweet "Hello!"

Marcy in 1971

Memorable Music: Stop, Look, Listen to Your Heart

Marcia had no intention upon returning to NCSA in the fall of '71 to become entangled in a serious romantic relationship. In fact, due to Larry's failure to respond to her letters between February through April, their relationship spiraled downward to an all-time low.

His unresponsiveness and seeming insensitivety to Marcia's three letters completely baffled her. She wrote a fourth letter in May to solicit Kay's assistance again. This time Marcia asked her to inquire if Larry received any of her letters. In recent years Marcia has stated that the song by Maroon 5 entitled "Misery" aptly describes her feelings concerning Larry's silence for those six months.

Kay responded quickly to Marcia's request and the next day saw Larry in the hallway composing and began conversing with him. Then she asked if he had received any letters from Marcia. Larry stated that he had received three letters but had not responded to any of them. Kay asked why not and he responded that he needed more time.

Next she updated Larry on Marcia's status and her concerns about his unresponsiveness. She asked him if there was anything that he wanted her to say to Marcia in his behalf when she wrote back. He simply stated, "Tell her that I said Hi." Kay's countenance reflected a bemused expression of disbelief at his response. She expected more. She asked again, "Are you sure that is all that you want me to write?"

Larry desired to open up to her but his foolish pride again hindered him. Soon after Kay had departed, remorse at this missed opportunity to acquire in-depth insight into Marcia's true feelings from someone who really knew her began to emerge. Larry wanted to search for Kay to amend his response and to inquire about Marcia. But he kept telling himself that it was pointless.

When Kay wrote and informed Marcia that Larry had received all of her letters and merely sent a simple greeting, this further deteriorated the situation. She was now thoroughly convinced that that there was nothing salvageable of their relationship and that it was time to move forward with her life. It was obvious to her that Larry had certainly moved on. However, things are not always as they appear.


"I was becoming very despondent and frustrated with my inability to move forward. I felt that I needed to purge myself emotionally of Marcia once and for all. This was one of several reasons why I did not respond to Marcia’s letters. It was my intent to permit the barriers of time, distance, and isolation to prevent any further nurturing of my love for her. I theorized that without this reinforcement at least the intensity level would wither and die out."

Consequently, he dated five different girls in a four month period, from February through May 1971, hoping that perhaps one of them could move his stubborn heart and silence its beating for her. However, this merely reaffirmed his love. He realized that he had truly miscalculated the depth and permanency of his affection for Marcia.

Thus, after May 1971 he dated no one and isolated himself. His summer was spent composing and he only left home to rehearse and perform with his band. Beyond that and with the exception of his family and Luke, he desisted from all communication with the rest of the world.

Larry was disciplined by love and his pride soon wilted under the all-consuming heat of his passion for Marcia. The words of writer John Rushkin rang true: "It is better to lose your pride with someone you love rather than to lose that someone you love with your useless pride.” Finally, heeding the daily urging of his heart and swallowing his pride, three months later in mid-August, '71 Larry decides to call Marcia at three in the morning after a night club gig.

Depressed_Larry.jpgThis occurred after performing love songs for four hours while observing couples embracing on the dance floor. Especially after listening to one of his band's lead singers, 'Lan, perform "Love On A Two Way Street" by the Moments, he acquires the motivation. Larry reflected on the familiar lyrics contained in the first verse, "True love will never die, so I've been told"; a truth that everyday he was enduring.

In the late 60's during the height of the Vietnam War, eighteen year-olds were given the right to vote and to purchase wine and beer legally in North Carolina. Larry's father took it a step further and permitted him to drink "hard liquors" at home. Also, because his appearance and comportment was that of a thirty year-old, he was able to purchase liquor from the ABC stores wherever he went without showing any form of ID.

This being said, Larry was assisted in this early morning endeavor by two quick shots of bottled courage in the form of Old Forester bourbon. After reading again Marcia's three letters from February through April while sitting at the bar in his den, Larry picks up the telephone and calls her to confess his true feelings of love, utter passion, and adoration.

When Marcia hears his voice she is overwhelmed and shocked, but overjoyed. However, she conceals her true feelings from him and strives to act reserved and cautiously optimistic. Her primary reasons for not revealing her unabated love and thrill of hearing from him at that time were lingering concerns about his sincerity and the fear of relinquishing a considerable amount of her freedom.

Marcia understood Larry's thinking in this aspect of life due to numerous conversations and letter exchanges and suspected that Larry would require total commitment to their relationship and would settle for nothing less from her. However, her greater concern was regarding his willingness to make necessary changes in his attitude and conduct this time around.

For instance, during their conversation and after apologizing several times while skillfully avoiding the issue of his not writing to her, she could hear his familiar sips audible through the telephone. His drinking was a major issue when they had courted years earlier. Also, the issue of relinquishing her freedom was affirmed when Larry in a joking manner suggested:

Larry: Let's stop playing around with each other's emotions and just get married.

Marcia: No, I'm not going to marry you or anyone in the near future.

Larry: Why not?

Marcia: Because I am not in love with you.

Larry: You will learn to love me. Who are you in love with?

Marcia:  (Laughing) I am not in love with anyone and I would never marry someone that I am not truly in love with. While we are on the subject, how could you even provide for a wife?

Larry: We would live off of love!

Marcia: (Laughing) Larry, it's too early in the morning to be playing and joking. You haven't answered my question, why did you refuse to answer my letters?

Larry: (Very serious) I have answered your question several times. There was a lot going on in my life with school, at home, as well as my overall mental and emotional state. I have apologized several times. Again, I am very sorry, that is why I am calling you now.

Although she felt that he was kidding about marriage, Larry was very serious about marrying her. And if she had been honest about her feelings he would have been more persistent and pursued the proposal, two months before he actually did.

The tone of their discussion then quickly becomes serious again. After they move on from the letter writing issue and express similar aspirations about the upcoming school year, they both inquire about the other’s availability and relationship status. Larry initiates the interest by asking Marcia if she is in a meaningful relationship with anyone, and she states: "I am going out with someone but it is not serious. Just something to be doing."

After a pause, Marcia softly and pensively asks, "What about you? Are you involved with anyone?" Larry assures her that he was seeing no one at all. Both of them exhaled a silent sigh of relief and then spoke at length about their individual state of mind and to some extent about their topsy-turvy relationship.

An additional reason for deceiving Larry about the extent of her love for him during this discussion was the consequences that would result. Marcia and her parents had invested considerable time, money, and effort in reaching this pivotal point in her career pursuit. That is why she intentionally always strived to keep Larry at a distance and never tipped her hand to him.

She feared that if they became involved again it would become very serious and necessitate major changes and sacrifice. Nevertheless, during the past three years she had grown to love him more than all else and did not want to lose him again. Unknown to her, Larry was willing to wait for her for as long as it took, if he had a solid commitment from her. 


This became quite a dilemma. She was approaching adulthood and the legal age of eighteen in a few weeks. There were serious consequences associated with revealing her love for him. It was far different from saying "I love you" to a boyfriend that she was infatuated with during her early teen years. Girls especially were prone to do that, often with little or no consequences and Marcia was no exception. 

In fact, Larry had stated during a heated debate with Marcia in 1968 about this very issue, that he had heard those words more than a dozen times from girlfriends and it had lost its significance. In contrast, Larry had expressed his feelings in such a manner to only one girl, Marcia. Furthermore, when he expressed his deep affections for her using the "L" word, it was in a brief note at A&T prior to their leaving.

This was after observing her closely almost daily, talking extensively, and sharing time with her for two months. His feelings had not been clouded by any physical passion. He had only held her hands on several occasions, embraced her while dancing, and later merely kissed her hand. The first time that they actually kissed was on the campus of UNCSA several weeks later, the day after she called Larry to inform him of her arrival in Winston-Salem. At which time they began dating.


He reminded her that her girlfriend at A&T was crying her eyes out and confessing the depth of her "love" for him when Marcia attempted to intervene during that same summer of 1968. He had only visited and briefly kissed the girl a couple of times during the first few days of school and then attempted to sever the relationship.

This was because despite her beauty and charm there were aspects about this girl's personality and inner qualities that he found lacking. Those qualities that she was devoid of were ones that were abundant and innate to Marcia's persona. 

Larry expressed to Marcia during this debate of sort, his demeaning opinion that girls were often fickle and capricious. He further stated that those three words tend to roll off their tongues with the ease of a cordial "Good Morning" to a total stranger.

On the otherhand, Larry qualified his statement by adding that boys were guilty of this too, but often with an ulterior motive, usually of a sexual nature. He further stated that there were always exceptions where a durable "first love" at a young age with time and nurturing could blossom into a real and enduring love. His love for Marcia proved to be among the exceptions.

However, coming from her lips now after a relationship of three years, it would be far more significant. Marcia understood the ramifications of such an admission. Thus, her confession was not forthcoming and they simply addressed to some extent the issues surrounding the previous year. Hence, Larry expressed his heartfelt remorse and asked for her forgiveness which she granted despite the anxiety and hurt his actions had caused her.


"I would awaken each day and run across the highway to retrieve the mail from our mailbox in anticipation of a letter from Larry. It became quite apparent after four months and three letters that such was not forthcoming.

That is why I wrote to Kay requesting her assistance. When she wrote me back and said that he had received them and provided no explanation as to his neglect in responding to my letters (after he had promised me that he would write), my spirit was crushed and I surmised that Larry no longer loved me or cared about our relationship."

Larry sensed in her voice the angst and the unsullied wound of heartbreak. He now understood the truthfulness of what has oft’ been said, “Harsh words hurt feelings, but silence breaks hearts.” Truly, he regretted that he had not responded to her letters and that his actions had done harm to the person that he loved most.

Unlike nature, where there is much that grows in silence; blades of grass, leaves on trees, or the blooming of roses, love needs to be spoken. It thrives on the din of the heart’s expression. It wilts and dies when it is not nurtured with the care and consistency of “I love you.”

Thus, it was not unanticipated when Marcia adamantly expressed to him during two successive telephone calls several weeks prior to the start of school that she was going to focus all of her energies and attention to her singing career. In fact, they both expressed a mutual resolve to just be cordial while they concentrated completely on their craft without distraction.

Although he responded to each of her letters during February through April he was grateful that he never sent them. Rather, he destroyed each of those letters as well as relinquished the feelings that inspired them. Those feelings were as Larry describes next:


" I failed to accept accountability for my past actions. I alone was the one responsible for the failure of our relationship in 1968. In fact, Marcia was exceptional in her tolerance and forgiveness for my repeated failures to publicly acknowledge our relationship by dating openly and for my foolishness while under the influence of alcohol, such as disrespecting and embarassing her.

It was not until the summer of 1971 that I finally acknowledged the error of my ways and ceased placing blame on Marcia and asked for her forgiveness for all of the pain that I had caused her over the years."

Larry felt that his pride had destroyed any hope of reuniting with Marcia. On the other hand, he did not regret his decision to remain silent during those seven months. The letters that he did write and destroyed as mentioned earlier were filled with bitterness, anger, misery, and despair. They would have only worsened their strained relationship.


"I felt somewhat uneasy about the way that we ended the conversation, although it was pleasant and cordial. We were both very tired and it was past four in the morning. We agreed to talk again before the start of school.
However, I could not wait and decided to call her later, the same afternoon. We had slept and were well-rested. Thus, our conversation was more spontaneous, insightful, and lighthearted.

Luke had come over while we were talking and they talked for a while. When they completed their conversation our discussion became more sedate and contemplative as we decided how we would approach the coming school year, especially with regards to our relationship."

Marcia summed up all of the rhetoric by simply stating, "We will see in September how things go with us." They ended the conversation pleasantly with Larry expressing his love for her. Needless to say there was a very large question mark and an asterisk at the conclusion of this hour long conversation.


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