Saturday, December 22, 2007

Note #1- Letters from Marcie

Here is one of the notes I wrote about in this week's earlier, heavier post. It relays some of the love, as do all of them. More importantly, it illustrates the kind of wife and lover Marcie was, romantically speaking. Perhaps most importantly, her notes, letters and communications always told me what was on her heart, not just her mind.

The picture she sent me is the one of her in the green tank top at City College, viewable in the memorial book gallery widget/slideshow. She had not changed much at all, and I told her so. So beautiful...

Seamus was always sensitive to missing people in his life, and he still has a very good memory for people he has liked. He is quick to get close with long-absent pals and slow to take in unknowns. When Marcie or I would leave for extended periods, he would take up the habit of sleeping in the front kitchen window, overlooking the driveway all day and night for a few weeks. This was one of those periods, as she mentions.

Please enjoy. Reading these lately has made me feel at once both very loved and very forlorn.

I know she knows I love her, but I still have to declare it. God I love you, honey. I missed and miss you, too, and more all the time. I could use another note, too.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A little respite

A week from tomorrow I will take be on my way to San Francisco. My trip will meander up the 101 and the 1, including stops to see sights and take pictures of spots like this:

The above image is the lovely postcard I received from Jane today when I got home from work. Thank you, Jane. I love it, and I can't wait to pass through Morro Bay and Big Sur on the way up.

People are chipping in on this one and I want to thank them. Seamus will have a few caretakers. Dean and Joey and Tanya and Shawn have volunteered to watch him, pet him, love him and feed him while I am gone. I am glad I do not have to board my buddy. He's not one for the hospitality scene himself.

Walt and Lisa are at it again, reaching out and offering to share a good spot to stop at. A library of some sort. Lisa got a new gig (good job, Lisa!) and she's pretty busy, but she's very conscientious and loves to share her travel tips, be it Hawaii or little jaunts up the coast, which is nice.

My neighborhood has my back like I have theirs. When I am gone, my neighbor Bobby will be playing a cat backup role and general eye on the place while I am gone. The "dawg pound" will remain on patrol, too. "There'll be no perpetration" when I am absent, or so they tell me.

I'll talk about more specific plans and some back story closer to departure time. I just wanted to share the pretty postcard and clue people in on the plans. Thanks for all the support, folks.



Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A very special gift

Walt and Lisa Soto, our dear friends in San Clemente, told me about this gift, but I was so deep in my grief that it just kind of faded from my mind until the package arrived today. Treepeople is an organization which is helping nature heal our cities.

Now, Marcie will be a part of that effort. A grove has been donated and will be planted in her honor. I will attend a planting and, in my own mind, dedicate the trees I will later visit when I want to do something related to her memory.

Thank you so much, Walt and Lisa.

Much love,


There are others to thank. I will get to them as I can. Tomorow I will share my little cache of notes from my sweetie, dating back to my "second coming" to Humboldt, as she called it. G'night folks.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Tide's Turn

So this is the latter half of the story. NOT FAMILY FRIENDLY!

The Summer of Lust (2)

I first thought of how strongly connected Marcie and I were when I was up in Humboldt alone and relishing those phone calls and letters between my studies. I eventually figured it out to my satisfaction.

The key to making our lust last in our love was in drawing it out, but also in leaving the other one guessing as to who wanted the other one more. We treated lulls like opportunities, building anticipation up with teasing and flirting.

On a more animalistic level, we also both tried to be the most demanding, randiest in the relationship. Lust is a good drug, pastors, practicality and prudes be damned. It is also the only one that seems to get stronger the more you are exposed to it.

But more than all of that high-tension sexuality was the idea that we were a team, we were together, and we stood alone against everything and everyone we had to. We might have setbacks or misfortune, disagreements and uncertainty, but eventually we made it through.

And when it came to handling our opponents, there was a special connecting bond that saw us scheming to conquer or to thwart. Of course, it helped that, whether victory was assured or not, we'd have sex to celebrate its inevitability.

We only lost once.

Marcie was her usual amorous self when I returned from Humboldt State. We were in a good place in many ways. Except one. Seamus was sick. Wherever he went, he would lie on the ground and cough little, pathetic kitty coughs.

We tried everything to get him to feel better, and the veterinarian was stumped. When we were told that he would likely die, it dampened our mood. We worried but he ate, he drank, everything seemed fine save for a cough.

That the veterinarian tried to convince us he may have cancer was not terrible. But that she would not try asthma medication was. After an expensive set of scans and lots of gouging, she finally determined that he had asthma.

The vet got her money, we just had to do three heartbreaking months thinking of our cat as a dying cancer patient. In the mean time, Marcie and I were confronted with moving to a new home as our apartments converted into quite crappy condos.

Our lusty ways subsided for a while as we wrestled with the upcoming move, getting me a job which drew on my shiny "new" degree, and getting Seamus on his feet again. Nothing puts out the fires of lust like a coughing kitty climbing onto the bed.

But our latest sexual renaissance still smoldered nicely in the background. Then, in a new house and after things were on track, Marcie called me into the room. I was expecting a new lingerie set. She had stopped at the hosiery.

"Does this feel different to you?" she asked, looking very afraid as she gestured to her breast.

It did. There was no lump, just an overall firmness I did not remember from before, which was just a couple days earlier. I nodded.

"Honey, you may have an infection," I said. "Was there a lump before this?"

"No, honey," she said, sniffling and biting her lower lip. "I'm very scared."

And so we went to bed but we did not indulge in each other. Later, Marcie called Kaiser while I went to pick up Chinese food. We ate silently and held hands across the table.

Cancer was unthinkable. Marcie told me years earlier that she'd had a fibroma removed from her right breast in her twenties. It was quite a scare for her and the doctor had believed that she was looking at breast cancer. Marcie religiously checked her breasts.

The sexual side of our relationship slowed more that week as I awaited her appointment, which never seemed to come. When I finally asked her why, she told me Kaiser had put her off. I called them up and threatened massive mayhem. They saw her the next day.

The nurse practitioner who saw Marcie performed multiple small biopsies and told Marcie she would be in touch. Marcie was relieved that the practitioner suspected an infection.

Three days later, the phone rang as we tried our best to break our new king-size bed. We ignored it at first.

"Hello Marcie, this is your nurse practitioner at Kaiser," the voice said, not neutral. "Could you please call me at (619) 57..."

She did not have time to answer. Marcie ripped the receiver off the hook.

"Hello," she said, her hand on my chest as she sat back up, steadying herself on me. I held her hips and massaged them.

"Yes, I'm Marcie," she said, biting her lip afterward and listening. "It did? That was fast. what did it say?"

She dropped the phone and draped herself on me, her nose buried in my neck as she sobbed and shook. I heard a faint voice on the phone as I stroked her back now and tried to keep my composure, comfort her somehow.

"It's cancer, honey," she said. "Oh, my God, what are we going to do?"

"We're going to get you treatment," I said, noting the faint voice's apology as the receiver clicked. "We're going to get you fixed up."

I held her there for a long time and whispered my love in her ear, soothed her and stroked her magnificent body, her soft red hair and kissed her tears away. "We'll beat it, honey."

And for a while, it would certainly look as if I were right.

Notes from the Rising Tide

When discussing Marcie, I have been accused of being overly airy or romantic about our relationship by those who I can only consider must have far more concrete and firmly grounded ones in their own lives. That is not an indictment, but I am glad that Marcie and I had what we had.

Our relationship was, to me, always new and exciting, at once both comforting and familiar, yet unpredictable and volatile. I liked a little struggle, deciding in an argument whether to "win" a bitter victory or "suffer" a delicious defeat. Marcie did, too. It all worked out between the lines and the sheets.

But how does one relay that the strength and fire of a relationship over a decade old was not just my own take to the more jaded? By making everyone sick, of course. I know no way of doing that more adroitly than sharing Marcie's and my notes and letters.

I will save the cards and notes she sent me for another post. Instead, I will share an excerpt from my planned book. It's raw, but it's completely honest and puts across where we were and how we were feeling back then.

Not fit for family, folks.

The Summer of Lust (1)

The long days at The Learning Annex in the dark back room, and the ever quieter and increasingly demoralized office could not dampen my ardor for my wife. I blew out of the office every day and flew home.

She told me I was a menace, and I was and knew that to be so, but I could not get enough of Marcie that summer. I was wild, and she was gleefully willing. But Marcie had her limits, if not in principle.

"Look!" she demanded, motioning at the pile of sheets on the floor. "Look at this! Honey, this is ridiculous. I cannot do this much laundry every week. This is one week. One!"

She glared and kept her finger pointed down at the pile of sheets. Two sets in three days, and last week's to boot. I smiled, and I imagine impishly so. "Maybe we can try the floor again?"

No sooner had I asked than I was dodging the pillow she threw at me from the room.

"And that's ruined, too," she said. "Honey, that was a feather pillow, they're expensive. I don’t know why you shoved that under me. You don’t care, though! You just don’t think about these things."

Her eyes narrowed and she put her hands on her hips as she responded to me, a little frustrated, "Oh, the floor, huh? Yeah, so we can enjoy rug burns again? I don't think so. Maybe I'll just cut you off for a while."

She smiled and nodded her head, biting her lower lip. Her protests amused me. I read them as her way of saying, "You have been home 10 minutes. Why are you not all over me?"

I decided that what she needed was what caused the problem in the first place. “Cut me off?” I asked, standing up and slowly sauntering her way. “Cut me off and do what? Hmm?”

She squealed a little as I caught her around the waist when she turned to run into the room. She didn't put up a fight unless you count play wrestling. But she did make me do the laundry that night. It was worth it, all four loads of sheets.

They came and went, these long spells of satyriasis. And at the time, I needed the release, love and lust aside. I had made the mistake of not being attracted to a vain girl.

Having no desire for my rather snotty boss's hipless, assless, breastless and thoroughly unwomanly form offended her, I know. I took that to be her frustration speaking. It's hard to manipulate people who don't want the only thing you're good at selling.

But marital fidelity and indifference to a manipulative alpha bitch's charms had its price. There was grumbling and lying to my supervisor, who did not believe a word of what she said, but he still acted on her feelings. He was a besotted fool.

So, I was usually caged all day and separated from free air by the malice of the vapid bit of fluff in the front office and the dissolute nature of my also-married supervisor. Unless she was home playing sick, as she did about 40 percent of the time, I recall.

I was a menace to anything in Marcie’s social calendar that took place when she was not at work. This would be intolerable to Marcie, except this all involved the one thing she enjoyed even more than being organized and punctual.

Marcie and I were on a major roll in our relationship in 2004. I was working two jobs, but sometimes I had time off to relax and plan for graduate school, and I was taking an occasional course at San Diego City College.

I could tolerate the vain coworker’s borderline personality disorder gone wild, and I could cope with the hectic schedule. But I decided to make a move.

But when I applied for a graduate school slot in the UCSD Communications Ph.D. program, there was a problem. My Summa Cum Laude Journalism and Mass Communications degree from Humboldt was simply not there.

By way of a failed petition for credit, lack of proper documentation and changing general education requirements, I had graduated with a diploma that had no value.

“Honey, you need to go back and finish your degree,” Marcie said in the afterglow of yet another stress-relieving sheet wrecker.

“We can’t afford it,” I said. “I would have to stop working and enroll full-time, and then I would have to spend two semesters at state or UCSD getting enough units to graduate.”

“Honey,” she said, holding my hand under the sheets, “You need to just go back to Humboldt and take the two classes there, and turn in your portfolio. I am sure they will honor your credit from the transcripts if you petition.”

I put it on the back burner until cuts came down to the Learning Annex office. My boss initially chose to cut across the board, but after some wrangling, the bitch got her way. I
knew days before he told me. He had left the document on the public share on our server.

“I’m sorry, I have to lay you off,” he said.

“That’s okay,” I replied. “I have some prospects.”

Shortly after that, I received unemployment benefits. The vapid ex-boss almost boned herself by trying to claim I was fired, nearly committing perjury in the face of contrary documentation, before she backed down.

Marcie set me straight when I started to plan lots of regulatory and detail-oriented awfulness for the company. "Honey, they did not deserve to have you working there, and they treated you like shit. Let them eat shit."

The company tried to hire me back part-time, so I applied for and received underemployment. They eventually gave up, so I suddenly had time to finish my degree, and an income to do it with.

Marcie set me straight when I started to plan lots of regulatory and detail-oriented awfulness for the company. "Honey, they did not deserve to have you working there, and they treated you like shit. Let them eat shit."

Shortly after that, The Learning Annex signed Donald Trump for $1.5 million. "The Donald" lied about the value of the contract, hyping it, but his television show gave the company initial success.

After a year or so of selling Trump the Chump as a motivational speaker to real estate conventions, the bottom fell out of both the convention business and the real estate market. My former supervisor lost his job. The fluff is still there, older, more wrinkled.

I found out that my makeup would only take a single intersession summer “minisemester” to complete. I was enthused. But there was a problem. Marcie had hated Humboldt the first time, and she was not going to entertain seeing that place again as a vacation.

“I am not going to Humboldt with you!” she screamed, leaning forward, face red as her hair. “Jesus, you can’t handle five weeks away? You were in the Navy for Christ’s sake, what did you do then? Cry?”

“Well, I thought you could come up for a week or two and…”

“NO! No, I am not using my fucking vacation time to go hang out with the fucking hippies and those fucking redneck lumberjacks!” Marcie said. “Are you fucking crazy?”

So the plan was in place. I packed for a week, planning every minute and step along the way north for maximum efficiency. I also stocked up on Marcie.

When she came home from work, I had a little Marcie. Before the alarm went off, after the alarm went off “accidentally early,” and after her shower, I had a little more Marcie. And the morning before I left, at 4 a.m., I had a little more.

She saw me out, looking a little tired but happy as I kissed her goodbye. “Honey, I am glad you are getting this out of the way. Look at it this way, you’ll be able to move on,” she said.

Graduate school, a job in the media or perhaps in public relations, continuing on my work at the Annex, it all seemed pretty good, even if I had thought I was already set for that months before. “Okay, honey. I’ll miss you,” I said.

“Oh, I’ll miss you, but it will be nice to get some sleep,” she said. “You just call me when you feel it coming on, mister. I trust you.”

I smiled. Five weeks would pass slowly but make her very hot for me, I knew. The trip to Humboldt was finished before the sun set later that long summer day. I called her from
the motel pay phone to avoid the outrageous in-room fees.

“Honey, where are you?” she asked.

“Arcata,” I said.

“What? Really? You didn’t speed, did you?” she asked.

“No,” I replied. I hadn’t, but I also had only stopped three times, all for gas.

“Well, how was it? Was the drive nice?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I said, spying the statue of McKinley in Arcata square through the trees as I looked down the block.

“Well, I love you,” she said.

“I love you, too,” I said. “Which is kind of why I called. Call me back, okay? I am in room 114 at the Days Inn, (707) 822-2036. Call me in like two minutes.”

And she did. I had just gotten comfortable and smiled as I answered the phone. “Now, you hussy,” I said. “Tell me what you’re wearing.”

And so the madness continued for five weeks in absentia, with lust on the phone at night and classes by day. I moved to the dorms, wearing long coats and memorizing her dirty telephone tales before slipping into my room, keeping the home fires burning.

But all was not lust. I got to experience a little taste of long-distance love from my baby, in the form of a long exchange of letters and notes via email. What we did not exhaust in our titillating tête-à-tête conversations came out there. It was a time of joy.

More from this little excerpt tomorrow and the notes themselves by Wednesday... or Thursday.


Monday, December 17, 2007

To my anonymous benefactors

What a sweet and wonderful holiday gift. I put up the donation links on my page after I began to explore how to raise funds for my trip to honor Marcie. You have been very kind, and I did not even know it. I received this message in my email today:

Dear frank.pruett(at),

Greetings from the Amazon Honor System.

We wanted to let you know that we have initiated transfer of the
balance of your Amazon Honor System account to your checking account.
It may take your bank several business days to record the transfer.


Here is the receipt for the transfer:
Date: 17-Dec-2007
Amount: $120.47
Last 5 Digits: 27179

There were several transactions, two of $50. Thank you very much. I know that you likely chose not to reveal your names to me, as it would otherwise send me an email with contact informations, but if you did not choose to do this, let me know who you are so I can thank you in private.

We both thank you. I am deeply touched.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

About the notes

The notes I found yesterday are very sweet and come from a time right before Marcie fell ill. If there are any relics which illustrate the bliss we were experiencing at that time, these are they. For now, I am cherishing them. Additionally, I am having some tech issues wit the system and need to just not post tonight. I promise what I eventually post will be worth the wait. Thanks for understanding, folks.