I am going to try my best not to make this post some maudlin thing about a friend who died. Unfortunately, it will be about my perspective and for that I’m sorry. It’s not about me, or about anyone but this precious life that was lost to the Enemy. I’ll explain.
Around 1964, after my family and I had been in Oyster Bay (Cove) about a year, I was in Mr. Russo’s fifth grade class at the John F. Bermingham Elementary School, which, like many at that time and in that place, was overcrowded. Our class was situated on the stage of our elementary school auditorium. For many this was a shameful indication of how little the powers that were cared about education in my home town. But for us it was an adventure. And Mr. Russo was the coolest fifth grade teacher. He loved John F. Kennedy. He had a passionate faith. He loved children. And he had a great sense of humor. We just loved him. [In the picture on the right, Marcie is on the left. Genellen M – now Genellen another M, LOL – is the bride. Thanks, Genellen, for the picture- it means a lot!]
One of my favorite classmates in that year before puberty reared its ugly head was Marcie D. Marcie was one of the “smart” kids. Her mother was a teacher, so what else would she be? Seriously, she was smart – as were her sister Karen – five years older – and her sister Holly – four years younger. Marcie had red hair, freckles, and the most amazing overbite I can remember in fifth grade. She rode the same school bus with me and my numerous siblings, so I was there when she showed everyone her braces – rubber bands and all:) By the time we got to high school, Marcie was a good looking girl – tall and willowy with no evidence of the overbite. She had this curly red hair that in our senior year she had cut short amidst the rest of us who wore our hair parted in the middle and halfway down our backs- but it looked so cute on her. Marcie had an amazing sense of humor. I really liked her family. Her mother and father seemed a little bit older than mine, but they also seemed really nice and decent. Marcie took “CCD” (Catholic religious instruction) which appeared very mysterious and interesting to us non- Catholics. In the summers, her family had a party at her house out in their back yard in Oyster Bay Cove. Marcie had this amazing dog named Oliver. No one walked Oliver. He walked you! One of my funniest memories from high school was seeing Karen, home from college, being walked down Cove Road by Oliver. I have no idea what kind of dog Oliver was – some kind of Irish Setter – darned if I know – but he was strong and he was BIG!!
When graduation came, we all went our separate ways. I went to Vermont, to Middlebury. Peter went to Dartmouth, Lynne had gone to Pratt for art, many friends went to Cornell – Claudia, the Feinberg twins, and I don’t remember how many else. Marcie went to Syracuse University in upstate New York. (You New Yorkers know what “upstate” means — anything north of the NY metro area, LOL!) Marcie was going to be an architect. I know she was going to be a good one. In fact, there was this guy I met shortly after John and I got married and moved to the DC area – Alexandria, VA to be exact. He went to school with Marcie and told us how brilliant she was. He didn’t have to – I already knew that:)
Apparently in 1982 or thereabouts, Marcie got married. I know this because St. Dominic’s Church in Oyster Bay published the Banns of Marriage around that time. It was about 6 years after John and I got married and because we lived in Oyster Bay and attended St. Dom’s, we posted our Banns there as well. (For you non-Catlicks out there, the Banns are a notice in the church bulletin letting everyone know that one intends to marry – this allows any spouse to come out of the woodwork and say you have no right to commit bigamy or an ex spouse to say that you’re divorced, but still married in the eyes of “the CHURCH”). Anyway, I called her folks’ house when I was back in town, visiting family on Long Island and never heard back. I didn’t think much of it – people get busy, we move on and hell, I was busy myself with six kids and law school.
What I didn’t know in 1988 was that Marcie was dead – killed by her husband, who later took his own life. I don’t know why or how or the dynamics of their marriage. All I know is she was murdered. And that makes me so frickin’ angry. And sad and just sick. I wonder about all the cute little curlyheaded redheads that don’t grace this earth because Marcie never got to have kids. I wonder what the site where 9/11 occurred would look like had Marcie been able to work on the rebuilding of the area. I wonder what it would have been like back in 1998 when we all got together in DC had Marcie joined us- with her inimitable crazy and wild sense of humor.
And I cannot begin to imagine the hole in her parents’ and her sisters’ hearts. They have established a scholarship in her memory at Syracuse. And they contribute and work with domestic violence shelters whenever they can, God love them.
I will not forget her. And I refuse to forget any victim – and hopefully survivor – of abuse and violence. They all matter so much to me. I just wish I didn’t have to put a real human face on it.
Rest in peace, Marcie – we won’t forget you!