Passive Echoes

What Ifs and Whys?




"Marcia and I have wondered and asked, “What if?” and “why?” Indulge us for a few moments.
What if our fathers had not been musicians and our parents had not stressed music in such a prominent way? What if Marcia’s mother and father and my parents had not permitted us to attend A&T the summer of ’68, would we have met? What if I had not flirted with Marcia’s friend and kissed her on the cheek on my first day at A&T?
Or, what if I had not daily teased Marcia in the cafeteria because of my attraction to her? What if I had not attended her recital that day and inquired about her age? What if Marcia’s friend as a result of my actions did not have a major crush on me and Marcia, whom I was infatuated with, had not agreed to assist by calling and discussing her concerns?
 Several days later when she called on the behalf of her friend, what if Marcia had simply hung up the telephone on me when I began coming on to her? What if she had not continued calling me knowing that I was attracted to her?
Let us take this matter to another level and ask “why?” This is where it really becomes weird but wonderful. Why was I not sent home by Dr. Pearsall, who was not fond of me at all, after repeated serious violations of the code of conduct?
Why did he warn Marcia not to associate with me, but days later assigned me the role of her father as punishment for infractions in the operetta, a role that necessitated that I spend time with her on and off stage? Why did Marcia who did not like me at all initially and had gone on record with her friend and said that I was not worth it, later continue to call me when she did not have to?  
When attractions such as ours develop there is a tendency to say that “it just happened.” Fate took over and there was no purposeful action on any person’s part to bring it about. That is an utter fallacy. I most certainly did everything conceivable to acquire Marcia’s affections. Marcia resisted only because of her friend and because she had been led to believe that I was an insincere player. Until her conscience began to plague her, there was also "purposeful" action on her part as well.
What if I had not seized her autograph book and wrote my two page letter, signing it, “Love, Larry?” What if, when Marcia read the book several days after returning home along with her sister, did not simply close the book when she reached the last obvious entrance? What if she was not compelled to flip through the empty pages until she by chance found my letter and was pleasantly stunned?
As she stated earlier, that short two-page note had a tremendous impact on her heart and she discussed what had transpired between us with her sister. It impressed on her mind that obviously I truly did care for her. And more importantly, what if I had not followed up this letter with the eighteen page letter within a week? 
It is doubtful that Marcia would have contacted me when she arrived in Winston-Salem if it were not for the second letter. There were other members of our A&T class of ’68 who lived in Winston-Salem that she never contacted during her entire four years in Winston-Salem. I was the only one. It certainly beckons us to ask, what if?
What if, the Governor had not heard her sing or although being impressed simply chose not to act and pass the note to his assistant? Or for that matter, what if her parents had not permitted Marcia to attend?


Perhaps the most significant 'What Ifs" involve the circumstances that resulted in my attending NCSA and Marcia calling and then visiting me in 1970. What if Marcia had not visited me or I chose not to accept Dr. Mennini's invitation to attend NCSA as one of his composition students? I had given the matter considerable thought and was initially compelled to decline. I wanted to remain with my Anderson classmates and many friends.
What if there was not desegregation in May, 1970 resulting in Mr. Clark my new band director becoming aware of my composing skills or what if he was not also a teacher at NCSA? Would I have had the opportunity to attend the conservatory with her and have dormant feelings aroused in Marcia to such an intensity that they did?
And what if I had not called Marcia on an August morning at 3 AM or what if she had been sound asleep? Would I have summoned up the courage to call again to apologize for not responding to her three letters during the previous six months?
As I stated in the preface with regards to love:
 ' One of the great mysteries of life is what I casually refer to as the "Eros Process", a sequence of chemical, circumstantial, time, and instinctive factors that draws and compels two hearts to yearn longingly for each other. Individually we harbor unique innate perceptions of beauty and love that are partially influenced and manipulated by cultural and environmental phenomenon.'


What if any of those factors had been altered; whether it be the circumstantial, time, or instinctive? Would we have fallen in love? Or 'why' did we not meet at an earlier time? We visited the same neighborhood stores, walked and played on the same streets for fourteen years during the summer months when we visited relatives? Why did we have to meet hundreds of miles away from our places of birth and 'stomping grounds' in Greensboro, NC? How is it decided when and how we meet and fall in love or with whom?
Marcia and I dismiss the concept of a 'soul mate' or that 'we were meant to be'. It is a far more complex scheme and works in harmony with our individual choice and free will. As stated above, "Individually we harbor unique innate perceptions of beauty and love that are partially influenced and manipulated by cultural and environmental phenomenon.'
Hence, our commonality and mutual interest in music borne of 'cultural and environmental phenomenon' motivated us to attend the music institute in Greensboro. Our 'innate perceptions of beauty' merged to form a mutual physical attraction to each other.
However, the 'chemistry' of the emotion of love is beyond human comprehension. Like countless other intangible and invisible forces that God has created such as gravity and the air that we breathe. They can only be understood in the context of how they affect us, appreciated for their value in the enhancement and continuation of our lives, and simply acknowledged that they exist.
'What Ifs and Whys' can only be understood from the perspective of what the Bible states at Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:
"For everything there is an appointed time, even a time for every affair under the heavens: 2 a time for birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what was planted; 3 a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build; 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to wail and a time to skip about; 5 a time to throw stones away and a time to bring stones together; a time to embrace and a time to keep away from embracing; 6 a time to seek and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away; 7 a time to rip apart and a time to sew together; a time to keep quiet and a time to speak; 8 a time to love …."

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