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In Search of the Final Freedom: Chapter 42 (part 2)

Updated: Apr 4

Marcy went on, “At dress rehearsal, the foundation’s board of directors was in the audience, as was my mother. Dorcus had also invited some members from the Chicago theater press and representatives from foundations Dorcus was hoping to fund us beyond the summer. With those people and another twenty assorted invited guests, we had a good audience for our formal dress rehearsal. Since for the troop, this was our public introduction, I was expected to do some meet & greets after the show. Dorcus made sure I knew to put on the kimono robe that my mother had bought me just for such occasions. It was one thing to go virtually naked on stage, it was something else to do so when I met the foundation’s board members.”

“The next day, we opened in Chicago’s Lincoln Park for the busy holiday weekend. I thought I was immune to nerves; I wasn’t. I’ll admit I was glad to see that we didn’t really have much of an audience beyond those who just happened to be in the park. Though by the time we got to the end of that first show, we had several hundred sitting in the grass in front of our stage. By Monday, Memorial Day, our audience had grown significantly. People evidently were coming out just to see us. It was a good start. After that first weekend, it just became a routine that ran week after week. There were twenty of us in the company, ten girls and ten guys, plus Margarete. Dorcus rarely came to the actual performances. So it was just the twenty-one of us in the large tent that was set up behind our portable stage. Each week, on our day off, a moving company moved our stage and gear from venue to venue. The tent was a combination production office, dressing room and break room. We had some big fans that drew air from the outside and circulated it, so it wasn’t too hot; though there was very little clothing worn inside the tent during the day. On the hot summer days, I was far from the only one wearing nothing at all.”

“Wendy, one of her assistants and I had to be on-site at 10:00 each morning to start my make-up. The others would arrive about noon. The first performance was at 2:00 PM, second at 7:00 PM. Between the two performances, we were free; but of course, since I couldn’t wear clothes over my body paint, I couldn’t leave the tent between shows. More or less, what you all saw at the rental house the last few days is what it was like that summer and the following summer while we still had the original group; except that we were all performers so the sex was always performance art. Pretty much every day two or three couples would put on a show for the rest of us between the two performances. While I technically could have sex in my painted-on costume; my range of activity was very limited since I didn’t want to damage my body paint or make-up. It entirely precluded close body-to-body contact, so I couldn’t get it on with the girls at all. I could give blow jobs and I could squat over someone’s dick, but that was pretty much it.”

“But you found a way. Right?” Bonnie said with a smile.

“Oh yes, I did. The majority of the days Karl and I had sex in the tent between shows. I either blew him, or he did my ass. He was able to do that without smudging my paint. By the first week on the road, everyone saw us as a couple. Additionally, as I said before, I played the role of sex fairy so when I saw a guy with a hard-on, I’d offer to take care of it. Between shows, nearly every day, I would do one or two of the other nine guys. Often Karl and I would do the guys together.”

“While a number of people got a reputation for putting on great sex shows, my performances with Karl were some of the most popular. We actually worked up a couple of routines based on what I could do in my make-up. The mini-show I was asked to do the most often was where first I would squat in front of Karl and blow him while I played with myself. With the knowledge everyone was watching, I could climax like that as often as not. When I either came or realized I wasn’t going to, he’d sit on a stool and I’d ease his cock up my ass. I’d use my hands to get myself wet enough before I would use one of those machined aluminum Maglite flashlights as a dildo. We had like ten of them for use at night. Not the little ones, but the big “D” cell ones that policemen carried. It was the audience that got me turned on even more than the physical sensations. I could cum every time like that. With Karl in my ass, I would fuck my pussy with the flashlight till I climaxed. As soon as I started to cum, Karl would let himself come too so it appeared that we did it at the same time.”

“It was such a hot performance that by the end of the run, I was asked to set a date where I would do it one final time between shows so the cast could invite special friends to watch. There were like twice as many people that afternoon in the tent as usual. That was so gratifying and such a turn-on for me. I guess I should mention that on any given afternoon there were a couple of visitors in the tent. There were either girlfriends or boyfriends who had come to the show, or just some hottie that one of the troop members wanted to screw.”

The girls fell apart. “You were doing live porn when you were fourteen!?” Sarah asked.

Marcy nodded “Pretty much.” But it was just for fun. Remember, I was in my full body paint, so it was visually something quite extraordinary and it was impossible to tell who I was. I loved putting on a performance. I still do. One of the few things that made me sad was that while all of the guys were happy to let Karl suck them off, and only one didn’t readily fuck his ass when he offered it; only a couple would suck his dick and Karl wasn’t actually interested in giving anal sex to anyone but me. So, for him, other than with me, sex was something he freely gave to others but rarely received. Still, from that summer till the end of the next summer, he and I by and away had sex more often than anyone else in our troop. That was the identity we both had assigned ourselves.”

“While it had been impossible for me to do anything with the girls between shows, I made up for that at night. The other players didn’t see me as a cheap slut, but as the bringer of joy and happiness. Even the girls who had boyfriends didn’t mind when I did it with their guys, even if he wasn’t part of the troop. By the end of June, everyone began to see me as the sex fairy. After the last performance on Labor Day, as they had done for several years, there was a party. Dorcus and Margarete rented a suite at a hotel and there was booze and pot and wall-to-wall sex.” Marcy seemed to think for a moment then said “From when I was younger than any of you girls, having an audience was a normal and important part of sex for me. Right up until the day before I got married, I wanted people to get off watching me. Damn, if I’m going to be honest, I should say I like to be watched, present tense. That’s why I pursued theater; it excites me for others to watch me perform. After I left the Northshore Players, it took me years to accept that having sex in a room alone with a guy or girl was normal. I’m sure that is why I’ve always thought of sex as performance art. If there had been the internet when I was your age, I would have been all over it. I'm sure I had more sex in high school than all of you combined. I know exactly how many times and how many people I did it with because it is all carefully recorded in my diaries. In the back cover I kept a list of names.

Sarah put in “Even after this weekend, I’m having a hard time imagining you fucking around like that a hundred years ago. I want to see the diaries and the pictures.”

Marcy smiled and said “I can assure you it has not been a hundred years. And I will do what I can to get both. But there is more. You see, while I was limited in what I could do while in make-up and body paint; of our twelve-week run it turned out that for five of those weeks we were outside of the actual Chicago area, performing at state and county parks. It was just too far to commute every day; so we stayed in motels near our venues. To accommodate the twenty of us, Dorcus would book five rooms of four people each. Aunt Margarete let us work out our sleeping arrangements. Kathern encouraged all of us not to room with the same three people at each new venue. She didn’t want cliques to form.”

Bonnie asked, “How’d that work out?”

“With Kathern, Wendy and I all actively pushing the idea, it actually worked pretty good. By only getting one person of the four to shift in each of the five rooms it allowed for couples & best friends to stay together while keeping things mixed up. For the first two of the five weeks we stayed in motels, Karl and I slept in the same bed. However, he found sleeping with a guy for a week at a time helped him to get comfortable with his emerging gay identity; so for the last three weeks we stayed in a motel, he and I both slept with a different guy each week. That was actually a really great way for both of us to get to know what we liked and didn’t like in guys. And you can just assume that I had sex with the other two people in my room more nights than not as well. So, by the end of the summer, I’d spent five nights rooming with over a dozen different people. AND…just because someone wasn’t sleeping in my room any particular week didn’t mean they didn’t come visit. At least once or twice each week, an orgy went on half the night. For some reason, whatever rooms Wendy and I were in gathered people. Two weeks she and I were in the same room, and it was like the sex never stopped. And… in the mornings… my male roommates always knew I could be counted on to happily relieve their morning wood.”

The girls all laughed.

Marcy finally said “I know I am going to regret telling you this next part. This is where the name Sloshy was coined. Since shows ran from Thursday to Tuesday, the first night in a hotel was not until mid-June. It was on the Monday afternoon of that first road trip that I was christened Sloshy the Sex Fairy.”

Bonnie and the girls had been waiting for this explanation for an hour.

“As I explained already, the fairy part I had deliberately cultivated right off. Since I was cast to be Ariel because I was petite, lithe, energetic, and sexy, I just tried to be that way all the time. I had learned from Wendy how to add the sexual component, so starting the first weekend on the road, I began to flitter around the tent offering joy and pleasure to anyone I saw needed a lift. The other players were quick to pick up on what I was doing and by the end of the first week, I’d already begun to be called the Sex Fairy. But… the Sloshy part came from something I said off-hand. Wendy, Karl, a hot guy named Darius, and I shared a room that first week we were at a motel. The very first night it seemed everyone wanted to come visit our room, and things just took on a life of its own. We’d pushed the two double beds together to make one big bed for what can only be called an all-out orgy.”

“She looked at the three older girls, think of what you guys did in our bed on Sunday, but with a total of twenty people coming and going for three solid hours.”

Bonnie could see the teenagers understood what Marcy was saying.

“For the majority of the troop, it was their first group grope. Let’s just say I made a point to make sure nobody who got in the big bed failed to get my attention. For most of them, it was the first time they had sex with me. About an hour and a half in, I had to get up to go pee. When I got back, I told Wendy that I thought my pussy was so full that I could hear it sloshing when I walked. You see, it wasn’t just the three loads of cum that had already been squirted into me, it was also that I get really, really wet down there when I get super turned on. When I’d sat on the toilet, I saw that mixed fluids were smeared from my belly to my knees, so that was why I’d made that comment to Wendy.”

“I didn’t think anything else about it until Monday morning, three days later, while I was getting my makeup done, two people asked me how Sloshy the Sex Fairy was. I didn’t know what to think about the name at first. It was hard to argue that was an unfair characterization. Especially since in order to start my body paint Wendy had already had to clean up the semen that had been deposited in me right before she started my paint job.”

That got a few comments from the girls and Marcy had to tell short stories about how she’d had sex with two different guys that morning before going to start her body paint. Once she’d told the stories, she went on. “As Wendy worked on me, she made it clear that the nickname was not a slur or attack. She said beyond the fact I’d had sex with pretty much every one of the cast and crew, everyone in the Northshore Players really liked me. She wanted me to understand that they were not attacking me or calling me cheap or trashy. After all, Wendy pointed out that she’d had just as much sex as I had. But she said that someone had heard what I’d said about being sloshy feeling down there. As people talked, virtually everyone who heard what I’d said had commented how over the prior three days, when I’d had them put their tongue, finger, or dick into me, no matter what time of day or night; they had found there was already stuff sloshing around in there. I knew what she was saying was likely true. Since that first night and the orgy, pretty much everyone had put part of their anatomy into my vagina. It had been four days and nights of sex. Because of that every time I got a new partner, they found they were getting sloppy seconds… thirds… or fourths. So just like Bonnie was called ‘Fuck on the First Date Bonnie’…well…after that I was called Sloshy the Sex Fairy, Sloshy the Good Fairy or just Sloshy the Fairy.”

Caitlin, with a tone of disbelief said “You mean that you already had semen in you whenever you had sex with someone new?”

“It wasn’t literally true, but it happened often enough that it seemed so. The truth was that the slosh was one part cum and nine parts my pussy juice. Even then, just a month or so after I’d had sex the first time, I was getting really sloppy with my own juices when I climaxed…and I have always cum very easily. So no matter if it were, or is, sex where the guy leaves me full of his jizz, or I’ve had sex with a woman, I get…well sloshy.” She turned to Bonnie “After our time with Hans and Otto, would you agree I am still Miss Sloshy?”

While the girls were still working to wrap their heads around what Mrs. Marshal was saying, Bonnie just couldn’t contain her laughter. It took her a few moments to get out “Oh yea! My face and the front of my hair was soaked after you got off of sitting on my head. I’m sure I’ve been with women who were as gushy as you, but I can’t recall any right now.”

After a moment, Bonnie added, “When I heard Mike call you Slosh, I’d just assumed it had some reference to getting drunk. We had a family friend back in West Virginia called Boozy; but to the best of my knowledge, he had been a tee-totaler for at least fifty years. I just thought it was like that.”

Marcy laughed. “Nope. It was that when my friends put something into my pussy, they nearly always found it already was full of wet stuff. Given how quick I was to fuck those first couple of years, they just saw it all as cum.”

For a moment there was silence, then finally all five girls burst out in laughter. It took five full minutes for them to calm down. Even Trish laughed from the driver’s seat.

Sarah looked to her friends and said “From now on, just like we call Misty’s mom Mrs. C.; we need to call my mom Sloshy the Sex Fairy.” The other girls agreed and Bonnie didn’t have the heart to tell them no.

After a few moments of looking mortified, Marcy started laughing too. Finally, she just shrugged. “I am who I am. Sarah, you were right when you told Mira that I have no shame in who I am or what I have done. But you should know, over time the Fairy part fell away as I grew up. By the time I was a high school senior. It had just become Sloshy or most often, Slosh. But if you girls want to call me Mrs. Slosh, go ahead. After all, I took the name with me to college. If I had wanted to bury it, I could have. I have never been ashamed of that name and I am not now. At Oberlin it was just Slosh. That was what I was called by everyone in college. I guess you have never looked me up in the Oberlin yearbooks in the living room. If you did you would see me listed as Marcy “Slosh” Hidelman. When I met your father, that was my professional name. That was the name your father first knew me by. It wasn’t till our third date that he learned that wasn’t my legal name.”

Bonnie shot back “You mean you really used Slosh as your professional name?”

“Absolutely. The sign on my office door at the Blue Globe Dinner Theater was Slosh Hidelman. Few people in Atlanta’s entertainment world knew my given name. Sure, I was Miss Marcy Hidelman when I was teaching, but that life had been on the back burner for several years when I met Mike.”

There was so much about Marcy that Bonnie had never even imagined. She’d been right when she’d said she’d hidden the real her for two decades.

Marcy looked at Sarah, “So little girl, that is how I adopted the free-love life. Throughout high school, if someone in the Northshore Players or the art students who gathered at the warehouse even hinted that they would like to have sex with me, the default answer was yes; even if I had to let them know it would be a quicky. I only declined if there was a reason I couldn’t. Everyone in the troop or the artists who used our space knew that all they had to do was to ask nicely and I’d almost always say yes.” She laughed, then looked to Misty and said “Perhaps you would understand. Misty, am I right that you had a threesome at your party with Natalie Foster and Cassidy White just because she asked nicely?”

Misty nodded “Yes, but I had to tell them I could only play for about fifteen minutes because I was the party’s host.”

Marcy nodded. “For those four years, it was just like that for me. Now, other than that summer I played Aerial, I didn’t go nude as my normal way of living, the way Caitlin and Sarah seem to want to. But wearing a tube top and miniskirt without panties offered much the same ease of access as if I were naked. Just like I’d seen Kathern do that first time, at rehearsals, I’d often be seen sitting in a guy’s lap. Everyone could see me working my hips and they knew full well that his penis was inside of me; it was just who I was and it was what they expected of me. I wore tube tops because I couldn’t fill out a halter. Even though they were slightly out of fashion, Wendy and my mom helped me find enough to have a full collection of colors and styles. I spent all of every summer till I was twenty with the Players.”

“I should also say clearly, it was just the first two summers and the school year between them that was the way I’ve described. Just as I began to spend less time performing and moved toward producing and directing as I moved through high school, there was also a transformation as to how I saw the sexuality all around me. It lost its novelty and became more of a part of the fabric of the world in which I lived. That first summer I actively worked at being the sex fairy; by the following summer, using my sexuality to bring happiness or to make a connection with my fellow players became as natural to me as shaking hands. In time I learned that kind of intimacy was not natural to everyone, but I used my body and my sexuality to build relationships and enrich the lives of those who were open to it. By the time I was seventeen, I was not so aggressive to show off as I’d been in the beginning. I wasn’t ashamed, but I was more sensitive to the feelings of those who might not like to be around sex all the time.”

“Even as I changed and matured, so did the Northshore Players. That first group of twenty was not the same as those that came after. Since all those initially recruited to join the troop had committed to the first two summer tours, the troop membership barely changed. For the second summer, only two of the original twenty could not commit to traveling with us; yet while we brought in two new people, both were from the group of artists who frequently used our rehearsal space as a studio. It was only in the fall after our second summer that things began to evolve. In September and then again in January and then once more in April we brought in new members. By the start of the third summer tour, we only had nine of the original twenty. That fall, however, we were down to four and we finally had open auditions. Those of us who were left began to realize the special relationship of the founding members would not and could not be replicated and so the culture of the troop began to change.”

“The initial grant which created the Northshore players had only been for those two summer tours. With that money, Dorcus had paid for a two-year lease on the warehouse space and set aside the funds to pay salaries to both herself and Aunt Margarete until the end of the second summer. She didn’t have a fleshed-out plan for what to do during the interim school year. The grant called for an ongoing workshop to keep the company together and to develop the skills of the cast and crew, but how to do that was rather up in the air. Initially, her idea was that we would continue to use other venues around the Chicagoland area to do free public performances. But due to the nasty Chicago weather and the reality that during the school year it was very difficult to book

performances because not everyone could drop their school work when she booked them. Even as we were wrapping up our first summer tour, as a group, we came up with the basic format of what we called the Northshore Review. The idea was a flexible show with many small components that could be mixed and matched based on the availability of players. The format would have group improv, prepared sketch comedy, and one-act scripted plays. That first year we actually did a couple of shows at other venues; but quite unintentionally, our warehouse became our performance hall. To begin with, we only had a total of forty-eight folding chairs, including those we had backstage. On the first Friday night in October, the company invited friends from their schools to come to be an audience. We had over a hundred people that night and everyone had a great time despite the majority having to stand for the show.”

“A month later we had two hundred chairs just for the audience, and we were doing it every Friday night. As it turned out, for the rest of the company’s seven-year run, the Northshore Review became the center of the company’s existence from the first of October until the first of May when we began full-time work for the next summer’s Shakespeare shows. While we technically had rehearsal Monday through Thursday from 7-10 PM each night, in practice, on any given night there were perhaps a dozen of us, plus three or four artists. While the artists were originally all from the Art Institute, by the first spring we had a couple from Northwestern, and in time we had painters from half a dozen colleges. The draw for the artists was both the bohemian culture and the ready availability of nude models. For the Northshore Players, the arrangement gave us all the wonderful props and backdrops we needed with very little effort from the players ourselves.”

“Our audience was almost all college students. For the entire seven years, The North shore Players never charged anyone to see us, not once. Though we did take donations. Because we were more like a club than a business, we could get away with a lot of things on our warehouse stage that no commercial theater could. There was lots of sexual humor and plot lines and there were at least a couple of flashes of female breasts most weeks, and perhaps once a month there was some skit that included extended nudity, both male and female. We did improv, sketch comedy, and one-act plays. Politics and sex were our main staples.”

“Before I finished high school, I wrote and directed two one-act plays. My first was a retelling of the Arthurian legend based on E.B. White’s The Once and Future King. That is the same classic book that was the source for Disney’s Sword and the Stone and the hit musical Camelot. In the book, the root cause of Arthur’s downfall was the sexual desires of three women: Arthur’s half-sister Morgan le Fey who seduced him (among many others), Elaine of Corbenic & Guinevere both of whom seduced Lancelot. White’s book is filled with lustful women who ruin men’s lives with their sexual desires. I loved the book; but for my play, I changed the story to make the women’s sexuality a positive trait, not a curse. In my version, a female Merlin teaches Arthur that sexually empowered women are a blessing to him and his future Kingdom, not evil temptresses. In my telling, Morgan le Fey, rather than using her constant sexual desires to ruin men, she led Arthur to use his power as king to usher in a matrilinear norm where women own their own sexuality and were free to openly take any lover they choose. This, of course, totally changed the love triangle between Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot and thus the outcome of the story. I called it Arthur, Guinevere, and the Round Bed. While even at our little private showings we couldn’t have actual sex, there was kissing by naked players as a stand-in. As a one-act it was just over an hour long, so for the show, it was combined with sketches and other short pieces. It was a hit. On the weeks when we staged a full one-act play (which we did twice each season), we did three performances (Friday night, Saturday matinee, and Saturday night). My play, which we first staged when I was in 11th grade, was so popular, after the initial weekend, we put it into the Friday night program three more times that year and twice more the next.”

“My second one-act, which premiered when I was a high school senior, was an allegory contrasting the religious right’s neo-Puritanism with free-love values. It was a rift on Orwell’s Animal Farm with Jerry Falwell and his group, the Moral Majority, as the pigs. What is amazing to me is that the message of both of those plays is even more important today than they were when I wrote them over thirty years ago.”

Sarah inquired “So, you say your plays had nudity; but you didn’t say if you were in them.”

Marcy asked, “What do you think?”

Before Sarah could answer Haley jumped in “Of course she was.”

Marcy nodded “Well actually not. I wasn’t a player in my own plays. I was the director. The truth is I realized that I could say and do more from behind the scenes than on stage. For my senior year and that following summer, I didn’t have a part in a single play. I was Aunt Margarete’s associate director. However, I worked up a pretty good stand-up routine where I took some of the bawdiest things from Shakespeare and made them into a twelve-minute stand-up routine. I started out in a vaguely Elizabethan-looking outfit; but as I spoke, I had one mishap after another that caused pieces to fall off. For the entire final few minutes, I was doing Shakespeare in the nude. It was very popular and I was asked to do it several times over my senior year.”

Haley then asked, “And let me guess after the show there was a sex party?”

Marcy hesitated, “Not a sex party exactly, but yes during the social time after our shows, the daybed in the make-up area and the divan in the artist studio area usually had some sort of action. And before you ask, yes, I was involved on occasion.”

The girls laughed.

“But I have to stop here and tell you that actions have consequences.” Marcy said in a serious tone, “While cum is wonderful and sexy, it has a purpose, and it takes vigilance to keep those little swimmies from doing their assigned job. As the first summer tour came to an end, I began to suspect I might be pregnant. My mother and I could not play our little game of deliberate ignorance, I had to tell her that I was a month late and needed to go to see the doctor. The truth is that I simply didn’t have the maturity to take my birth control pills consistently while on the road. You would think since I was screwing multiple guys every day and getting buckets of semen in my vagina, I would have taken it more seriously. Not only was I pregnant; but the doctor found that I had syphilis at the same time.”

Several gasps of shock went around the van.

Marcy didn’t slow down. “At least I knew exactly with whom I’d had sex…well mostly. I’d screwed all the guys in the show many times, and had done it with several of the girl’s boyfriends as well, so all of those were easy to trace; but I’d also done it with perhaps half a dozen guys who’d just come backstage to meet me after one of the evening performances. I didn’t even know their names nor could I recall where we were when I’d had sex with them. So mostly we were able to do contact tracing. Though it was embarrassing, Mom made me tell Margarete myself. We had a meeting with the rest of the players at the rehearsal hall the next day and she told everyone they needed to be tested. It was the first time she’d addressed sexual health with the group. It would not be the last. In retrospect, we should have taken the lesson more seriously, but we did not. “

Though the events in Marcy’s life were difficult, Bonnie knew it was good for the girls to hear it.

“Ending the pregnancy would have been more complicated for me, but fortunately, only about a year before that, the abortifacient RU-238 had begun to be legally imported, though it was not widely available because it was not yet FDA approved. However, our gynecologist had access and I used it.”

Haley put in “I think that is what I used, but it has a different name now.”

Marcy just nodded to Haley in understanding.

Bonnie was very glad the girls were having this conversation, but she decided not to participate since Marcy was the one with the knowledge to be shared.

“Due to my failure to take the pill regularly, my gynecologist got me one of the first IUD’s when they were reintroduced in the US market. That both made birth control secure and mostly stopped my periods. Which, to me at the time was great because it meant I could have vaginal sex every day of the month.”

Again, Marcy’s talk was sidetracked by laughter and comments.

When Marcy resumed, she picked right up where she’d been interrupted. “Sadly, I didn’t learn from that experience. Once the Players came back after a three-week break, Sloshy the Sex Fairy was back too. By the first of October, in addition to the Northshore Players, I was having sex with most of the student artists who used the warehouse for a studio. In addition to just sex as a matter of course, the Northshore Players had lots of parties where group sex was a normal event. On top of all of that, when Dad was out of town, my female friends often slept with me in my bed at home; AND, I slept at Aunt Margarete’s nearly every Friday and a good many Saturdays. There, in addition to Karl and Aunt Margarete, I enjoyed the company of a steady stream of new partners in her bed. Oh…and I had dated guys from my high school from time to time. I could be counted on to give a blow job on the second date and fuck on the third. All that to say, I had more sex and more partners through those four years than I would ever have again; and I am actually looking forward to finding my diaries. I’m sure I only remember a small fraction of all that I did. It will be wonderful to read the details. What I do know, is I spread joy and happiness wherever I went. By my third year in the Northshore Players, my self-image and my public persona had morphed from the Sex Fairy to the Love Fairy because I was spreading love not just sex. Do you all get the picture?”

The girls said they did.

She paused again " I've never been ashamed of my sexual activities. I had a wonderful mother that had been part of the sexual revolution and she made sure I was sex-positive even though we only directly talked about sex that one time, and that was before I’d actually done it. Sex positivity is a way of viewing the world, not just free love."

Sarah again said, "I can’t believe Grams was like me…and you."

Marcy nodded, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree little girl.” She then continued "But my lack of care for safety kept having consequences. I didn’t catch an STD just once. The second time was the next summer and we all got it. Literally, every one of us got it. While the first time Mom was able to handle it discreetly, the second time I had syphilis…the time everyone got it…the Health Department got involved. There was nothing as humiliating as having to sit in a health department office and write out the names of everyone with whom I'd had sex in the past two years. I'd been warned by my friends what they'd be asking so I'd copied the names from my diary. I actually had to ask for a second, then a third form to put all the names because they wanted both males and females. Though for most I knew first and last names, for some, like people who’d come over to Aunt Margarette’s’ apartment, I only knew first names, and for several, I had no name at all. As with the abortion, my mom simply could not completely pretend she didn’t know what was happening. Though she literally was sitting next to me as I wrote over four dozen names, she was not the least bit judgmental. Though I think she did peek a couple of times to see who I was doing it with. The look in the eye of the lady who'd been assigned to be my caseworker seemed to say she thought I was some pathetic victim. That was way worse than if she’d looked at me like I was just a dirty slut. For her to think I was weak and victimized actually did make me feel ashamed. I wanted to tell her that I screwed all those people because I liked it, not because I was abused. If I hadn't had my mother there supporting me, I don't know what I would have done. But she was there, and she was totally supportive. Even still, it was something none of you want to experience."

Bonnie couldn’t help but ask “Did the police get involved since most of your partners were adults and you were still a minor.”

“No. I was assured they do not share the information with the police.”

Bailey asked, "Did you start using condoms after that?"

Marcy with a little laugh to herself said "As stupid as it sounds now, I did but not consistently. At the health department, we all got a lecture on HIV/AIDS. It was the first time it really got through to me that I could get it too. However, at that time it was still something seen as an issue with men who have sex with men and IV drug users. The social worker told me that all anal sex is high-risk, even for girls. I hadn’t thought about that before. As I’ve told you, anal sex was just for Karl, so while I told myself that wasn’t risky, I knew that he’d already begun requiring the guys who wanted to fuck him to use condoms. It took us some time, but we eventually started using them when he did me in my ass. But the truth is I didn’t really start to use condoms consistently until I was at Oberlin, and by the time I moved to Atlanta, I was on and off with them again. The sad truth is that for too many of those sexual encounters I was under the influence of booze or grass. That is why I am so supportive of Bonnie's no booze or drugs rule even while she is cool with you fucking your brains out right in front of her.”

From the driver’s seat, Trish said “I will be going to the health department next week for an STD test. If anyone wants to come with me, I’ll be glad to take them.”

Marcy nodded. “I’ve already told Mike I’ll be getting one too. But I won’t apologize for enjoying my first real orgy in decades. It brought back a lot of good memories. And I guess it was because of sex parties that it was hard for me to be good about condoms back then too. Just like your big thing on the upstairs bed. Condom use is hard in a group grope.”

Once again Marcy’s narrative was sidetracked. But this time the adults let the girls talk the issues all the way through before Marcy went on.

“The other reality that it took me time to understand was that, by design, few people stayed with the Northshore Players for more than two years. We were a teaching company, and it was expected that our best and most talented would go on to other repertory theaters and the rest would simply graduate from college and go on to other careers. So, after the second summer tour, we were always bringing in new people and seeing friends leave. But when they left, they not only left with theater skills; they left with a set of values and a view of human relations that we hoped they would take with them. Among the values we tried to instill was the idea that their sexuality need not be put in a box and separated from everything else; rather, their sexuality was an intrinsic part of a full life and sharing it with others was a normal part of that life.”

Bonnie noted that all five girls nodded in understanding and agreement.

The girls all smiled and said they did. There were some more side conversations about different parts of her story, then Marcy said “BUT… there is a dark part. It is the real reason I have never told anyone about all this. Well, that and the part about sleeping with my aunt for years.”

That elicited some laughs.

“Let me wind back to the spring of my sophomore year of high school, things were sort of bleak for me. Kathern had begun her internship at WGN and Wendy was in the process of leaving the company as she was focused on graduation and her post-college plans. Karl was finally breaking free from his mother’s control and was working to make a transition from her world to Chicago’s gay community. Though he went on the third summer tour with us, he was in the process of dropping out of both the Northshore Players and high school. In the fall of my junior year, he was spending perhaps one Friday and/or Saturday night a month with men he was seeing, rather than coming home so as to be with me. By the following April, I only saw him once. It was hurtful, but we’d talked a lot and I understood he had to free himself of his mother’s control. The truth is, I knew full well that Aunt Margarete smothered him and saw him as an appendage of herself. As painful as it was for me, I repeatedly told him I was happy for him and encouraged him to find his true self.”

“This brings me to Becky, my second true love. In September after our third summer tour, we had open auditions for new members in the Players for the first time. I was on the committee. Becky Black was a short curvy dynamo. She was shorter than me and was what we used to call voluptuous. She had hips & breasts that gave her a distinct hourglass figure, and a smile that simply dominated the stage. That fall we were down to four of the original Northshore Players. Aunt Margarete was resisting replacing Karl, but Dorcus insisted we at least choose an alternative that would get his slot if he did not commit before the first show. Even still, choosing was hard. Because we’d brought on new people before the summer tour, we only had seven open slots that fall with nearly a hundred applications. It was decided to bring the total number of players up to twenty-five since we had found over the past two school years, that when classes were in session, it was sometimes hard to have enough people to put on a quality show on Friday nights. Given the growth in our popularity, we were planning to seat two-hundred-fifty people for our free shows. Still, choosing even a dozen out of a hundred was very difficult. It was one of the few things I truly dreaded doing. The selection committee consisted of the four of us from the original troop as well as Margarete and Dorcus. Though I was still in high school, I was seventeen that fall and was part of the leadership team. We gave twenty-five of the hundred a full audition on the stage. They had five minutes to impress us. Becky impressed me from the very first.”

“She was our first student to come from Arora College which was an Evangelical Christian school located well outside the city, though it was actually closer to my home than any of the other schools from which we’d been drawing all our players. Due to comparing herself to the people in the insular rural environment in which she’d grown up, she arrived at her college thinking she was morally open-minded and worldly-wise. She was the first thing, but not even remotely the second. Until those open auditions, Dorcus and Margarete had been careful to weed out those who had not already shown interest in the free-love outlook; but open auditions made that much more difficult. With Becky, we all had been taken in by her open-hearted enthusiasm. Even in the growing right-wing backlash of the mid-80’s, the urban theater community had not forsaken its Bohemian value set. However, Becky was not from the urban anything. Of course, none of us saw it at the time, but she was so naive that it masked the huge cultural chasm that she would have to cross to become one of us. While Becky wasn’t a virgin, she had very limited (and unsatisfactory) experience with sex. Her sheltered history first showed up in the very first day of rehearsals. She had come back to the make-up area and had looked around the folding partition to see me on the daybed, naked, sitting on the face of Suzette Collins, a junior from DePaul and I was just approaching orgasm. I mistook the look she gave me as one of excitement as she watched me climax.”

“It was a full year later that she told me she had been both shocked and terrified. She said she almost quit the company that day. Since I had misinterpreted her response and since mine had been the loudest voice saying she should be one of the new players, I took her under my wing.”

“That fall, we were preparing for what we were calling our fifth season of the Northshore Review, counting each school semester as a season. Becky readily saw my role as her mentor despite the fact she was a year and a half older and in college while I was still in high school. She became my shadow. When I’d been introduced to the free-love lifestyle at age fourteen, I had been completely ready to make choices. At all times, the choices I made to have sex with a variety of people day in and day out had been mine and mine alone. I had the strength to keep ownership of myself, even as I fucked my brains out with dozens of people and came home with a sloshy pussy nearly every day. I just made the assumption that she was the same. I was sure that if I opened doors for her, she would walk through them and not lose herself. I was wrong; though it would not be until two years later when I would realize my mistake.”

“By Thanksgiving, Becky Black was my best friend in a way I’d never had a friend before. My friendships had always been split between school and theater. As such I never had a single friend with whom I could share all my life. In my first two years of high school, the Northshore Players had become the most important part of my world and was the center of my emerging adult personality and persona. While I had many friends among the players, and two very special people in Kathern and Wendy; what I lacked was a person who was both a peer and an intimate friend. Becky and I were less than a year and a half apart in age; though I had far more life experience, that seemed to level the field so we could be true best friends. Her dorm room was less than twenty minutes from my house. Since we both had our own cars, that distance was virtually erased. We did everything we could together. In addition to all the time we spent at the rehearsal hall, she spent most of her free time at my house rather than on the Arora College campus. My parents quickly adopted her as one of the family. She more or less moved into our guest room. It was only a few days after she caught me having sex with Suzette when we first made out. She’d kissed her best friends back home, but I naturally assumed that kiss was just foreplay. I fingered her to a climax as I assumed she expected me to do. It was the first time she’d had anyone bring her to orgasm. Ever. The night after that she stayed after rehearsal to help me lock up. Of course, we had sex. To me, it was a given. To her, that hour or so we spent intertwined naked on the day-bed was a life-altering event. I didn’t have a clue how profoundly our relationship was challenging the values that had been ingrained in her. To me, she seemed to be eating up my attention. After that, she seemed to want to have sex with me every time we could be alone. Naturally, I tried my best to comply.

“By the time we started the second semester, she was spending the night in my bed most nights my dad was out of town. My mother pretended not to know. I thought I’d found someone who was just like me and I clung to her as much as she clung to me.” Marcy looked around to each of the girls and said “What set up the disaster was a power imbalance that I did not understand was there. Becky saw me as an authority figure. I didn’t understand that. With the departure of the key leaders from the Northshore Players, I stepped into a leadership position. I was given true adult responsibilities and authority within the company. In September I had been named the new production manager. That is why I was on the committee to select new members for the troop. Because of that, I had significant control over not just our productions, but over the college students who made up the Northshore Players. And while my years in the theater & my seniority in the company gave me technical knowledge; I utterly lacked any understanding of the responsibilities of leadership. Most of the time I think I did a pretty good job and I simply don’t have the personality to lord authority over people; however, I didn’t see that just my suggestions seemed coercive to others. I now see that in Becky’s case, because I was an authority figure, she did things I suggested that she would not have chosen to do on her own. I made the mistake of projecting my life experience onto her. While Aunt Margarete and I were total believers in egalitarianism and personal autonomy, Becky was steeped in hierarchical control social systems.”

“I didn’t see it at the time, but my mother had raised me outside the mainstream of sub-urban middle-class Schaumburg. Long before I joined the Northshore Players, she had taught me to reject the suburban bourgeois values of middle-class white America. She drilled into me that people should be valued for being people, not for their social station, wealth, or what they could do for me. I have a distinct memory of her berating me for treating our cleaning lady as my servant. I couldn’t have been more than ten, and I don’t even recall what I did; what I do recall is how hurt she was that I had treated the woman as less than me. By the time I was a teenager, I truly believed that I was no higher or lower than anyone else. When I entered Aunt Margarete’s working-class world, I saw the differences in her surroundings; but I didn’t see those differences as indicative of personal value.”

“Becky was raised in a very different world. She came from a small town in the southern tip of Illinois where race and class truly mattered; but, unlike me, she did not have a mother who pushed back on those things. While Becky vocally opposed racism and sexism, deep down she believed that those who were put in authority over her were put there by God and thus must be obeyed. It was just who she was. In our case, from the get-go, she saw me as an authority figure. She felt compelled to do not just what I told her to do in blocking a scene but in everything. In effect, to her, I had forced her to have sex with me that first time even though I had not dreamed of any such a thing. On a certain level, when that night I expected that we would have sex after I’d locked up the hall, she did not believe she had a choice to say no. In a sense, it could be called rape. Though neither of us actually thought of it that way, all our subsequent interactions had that first time as a foundation. It was several years later when I first realized what I had done. I was horrified not just by how I came across, but by the terrible consequences to Becky that traced back to that night. I still am horrified. I will never be free of the guilt I carry with me every single day.”

Marcy stopped talking. Bonnie could see how hard she was having to work to maintain her composure. Sarah took her mother’s hand.

After a moment or two, she went on, more quietly this time. “I had no idea until it was too late that she felt compelled to do the things I did. I led trusting Becky down a path that not only was she not prepared for, but one that took away her self-worth rather than building it. Rather than using her body as a tool to meet her goals and bring joy to others; at a deep level, she believed that her body was her true self and that each time she spread her legs for a guy or girl, she was giving part of herself and her value away. I saw it, and still see it in completely opposite terms. Each time this week I had sex with a man or a woman, I felt empowered and validated. Even now, it gives me a glow of happiness to know that some of Squirrel’s sperm are still alive in my uterus.”

Sarah patted her lower abdomen and said “And his sperm are alive in me too. I told you he and I did exactly what he did with you, so we didn’t use a condom. It was my first time having my vagina filled with semen. I get it now. There is some kind of psychic energy that is dampened by catching the semen in a condom.”

“Yes,” Marcy agreed, “Then his essence is alive in you too.”

Bonnie could tell Marcy thought about saying something about Sarah not using a condom, but she didn’t.

“Back in those days, it was a part of the psychic and spiritual energy I got from my free-love life. Since sperm stay alive for four to five days, at any given time when I was in high school I had the sperm of at least four and usually more guys alive in me. I guess I really did absorb some of Aunt Margarete’s mysticism about sex because when Squirrel ejaculated in me, both times, I felt a filling of his young essence and energy.” Marcy paused and looked right at Sarah, “And I should also add that it meant a lot to me for you to be on the bed as a participant with me and Squirrel. Like I said before, deep down I believe that when I share my sexual experience with friends and loved ones it gives it additional meaning and potency.”

Sarah, with a confused face, said “But I didn’t participate. We didn’t like, have a threesome.”

Marcy again took her daughter’s hand “Certainly you participated. You were on the bed just inches from me watching everything I did from first to last. You and I looked right at each other on and off the whole time. And don’t forget you were also completely nude too. Then when it was obvious that he was going to cum, I saw how you positioned yourself to actually watch his penis pumping his semen into me.”

Sarah nodded “Yea, I did that. It was really amazing to see it happen like that.”

Marcy also nodded, “I am sure it was, and feeling that filling of male essence was my last step in becoming Slosh again. The fact you were right there with me is what I will remember about that experience in years to come. It was your participation, not Squirrel’s performance that made that experience stand out to me.”

Sarah seemed to understand. “I hadn’t thought of it that way. But I guess you are right. “

Marcy said “Next time, you might try just laying your hand on my back or shoulder to feel my body move with the guy’s strokes, or even better hold my hand while I do it. You will find the sexual-psychic energy you felt just being near me will be magnified like a hundred times. I think you found out this week that to bring someone into your experience doesn’t require them to touch you in a sexual way. Simply holding the hand of someone you care about while you are in the throes of sexual ecstasy acts as a conductor of the joy to your loved one.”

Bailey jumped in “Yea, Sarah and I did that five or six times this week. I didn’t have to actually be having sex to feel the high of doing it. Holding her hand while she fucked and especially when she climaxed let me feel part of the high that she was getting. I hadn’t actually realized that until just now. I just knew I liked doing it.”

Several of the girls nodded in understanding. Bonnie also knew exactly what Marcy was saying.

Sarah’s response was different. “So, you are saying there will be a next time?”

Marcy smiled “Of course there will. The horse is out of the barn now. Slosh is back. It is who I am. And you too have embraced the same wonders and joys that I did as a teenager. I think you would agree that our relationship has changed in a profound way and we wouldn’t want to go back to how things were even if we could.”

Sarah’s eyes were wide with a sudden revelation. She didn’t seem to have words, she only nodded slowly in agreement.

“I will certainly start having men over to the house and I don’t have the slightest doubt you will, at least some of the time, want to be there while I make love to them. Conversely, just like you have done this week, I expect that you and your friends will feel free to have sex right in front of me as well. So yes, there will be many next times. I think that you and I both believe sexual joy is something that is multiplied when shared. That is who both you and I are.”

Marcy let that sink in for a moment before returning to the narrative. “But it is not who most people are and that is what I didn’t understand when I was your age. When I brought Becky into my life and world, moving from one sex partner to the next had always been so very affirming, it simply never occurred to me that for Becky it was the opposite. In the end, when I left her to move to Oberlin College, she concluded she was utterly worthless and had no value at all.”

Marcy wiped a tear from her cheek and looked at her daughter. “I was also too young and too inexperienced to understand cries for help don’t always look like what you expect. It is this story, even more than that of Karl, that has kept me from telling you about my sex life when I was your age. It is the story of a seventeen-year-old girl, who dragged her eighteen-year-old best friend into an abyss. I have never ever been ashamed about how many sexual partners I’ve had; but the shame of how I failed Becky, that is different and I can’t even think of that period of my life without thinking of her.”

Marcy got quiet. The girls in the van did not try to push her.

“Again, I was just too young to understand what was happening. All I saw were the outward things. Being from rural downstate Illinois, she was a little lost. The people in the Northshore Players tended to be city people with city outlooks and experience. I wanted to help her fit in and the truth was, I really enjoyed her company. She filled the void left by Karl, Kathern, and Wendy and since we were closer in age, it was a more comfortable fit. Within weeks she started coming home with me for meals and she and my mom hit it off. Other than the one weekend a month we did the three shows, we only put on the Northshore Review on Friday nights after which I went home with Margarete. Soon Becky was arriving at my house on Saturday mornings and she would spend her weekend with me and my family. We took her to the Chicago museums, a Cubs game, to the Sears Tower and shopping downtown. It was all so new to her. She’d never even ridden a sub-way, so she and I would sometimes just leave our cars and spend the day adventuring on the trains. It was like an idyllic time in my life.”

“But here is the deal, for me, free-love sex was just part of my normal life so I didn’t think of it as a particularly large leap when I asked her to participate with me in all the things I did. It was just one more aspect of my world and life that I very much enjoyed. Since I had made that transition to the free-love life so easily, I just naturally thought Becky would too. Though during the normal rehearsals, nudity and sex had been toned way down since those first couple of years, during my last two years of high school one Saturday night a month there was what only could be called a sex party at the rehearsal hall. In addition to an ongoing orgy on the stage that usually lasted for hours as people joined and left the group action; people used other spaces for more intimate couplings. And of course, booze and pot fueled the fire. Unlike the first year, not everyone participated, but since it was not on a rehearsal night and we had twenty-five members, many of whom brought dates, there was a large variety of potential sexual partners at every party. At those parties and at other times, Becky and I would together have sex with guys or couples or groups. I don’t know how many times we were side by side holding hands while we had sex with two different guys. For me, moments like that were magical.”

“I just assumed she felt the same. I was wrong. Though she put on a good front as long as I was right there with her; when I went off to Oberlin and I was not there to support her, she imploded.” Marcy looked at the girls “You need to understand, that while for you what happened this week was liberating and uplifting; for other people, it would be devastating, and you cannot know who it will help and who it will harm. You need to think of your sexuality like a tool, just like my mother taught me. You use it to benefit yourself and others; but like any tool, it can be dangerous to those who are not prepared to use it. And the more you are comfortable with the use of your tool, the easier it is to forget that others may not be. In Becky’s case, as long as I was there to hold her hand; she was able to enjoy what we did, even though under the surface tensions were building that I did not see.”

“So for two years, we had a great time and for two years we shared more men and women than I can begin to recount without that diary. I was the undisputed leader of the free-love lifestyle in the troop. She followed me and participated fully. In those two years, we had literally hundreds of casual three and foursomes. But even then, in the back of my mind, I knew she wasn’t quite as free as I was. For instance, while she joined me in modeling together for the artists at the rehearsal studio many times, she never took any requests for her to pose nude by herself. Her figure, and breasts, were a sight to behold.”

As an aside, Marcy explained, “Almost immediately Becky began to come with me to camera club engagements to act as my make-up and hair assistant; but she never posed for the photographers, even in lingerie, though she was asked many times. When I turned eighteen in September of my senior year, my artist friends set me up to start posing on weekends at both Northwestern and the Art Institute. I didn’t make nearly as much money as I did for the camera clubs, but they were my friends. Between the clubs and the two universities, I was posing once or twice nearly every weekend. I was in every respect a professional nude model.”

Bonnie could tell the girls were impressed.

“I also noticed how at parties and when I had sex on the daybed in the makeup room or on the divan in the artist’s studio, unless I specifically invited Becky to join in, she seemed happier to sit and watch me. Though I couldn’t put it in words, I began to understand that while it was clear she truly enjoyed watching me have recreational sex, she only participated at my request. I should have seen that as a clue that something was wrong but I didn’t. Over the summer tour, I noticed she did not engage in the sexual goings-on unless I was around. I didn’t have to be right there in the sweaty sticky bed with her, but she needed me nearby. I also saw that she gravitated to a single guy at a time. My entire senior year she engaged in what is called serial monogamy. She only had sex with the guy she was dating unless I was with her. Finally, that last summer on the road before I went off to college, I finally began to consciously see that Becky did not want my lifestyle. When we stayed at motels, she only took a bed with the guy she called her boyfriend or with me. She had stopped partaking in the company’s free-love culture; well unless I was right there beside her. Together we still had group sex side-by-side as we had always done; but slowly I began to understand when we’d finished a couple of hours of sweaty sticky group grope, she didn’t have the same sense of bliss I had afterward.”

Marcy stopped. “Before I tell you the rest, I need to tell you what else was going on that summer. As I said, my role in the Northshore Players had slowly morphed from young actor to that of Margarete’s assistant. For that summer tour after I’d graduated from high school, I was not going to be on the stage at all. For many young actors to face that they simply didn’t have what it takes to be the star is hard; but for me, I found my real calling as a writer and director. As much fun as it had been to be the ingénue, at the ripe old age of seventeen, I was again becoming someone else.”

“The Northshore Players was changing too. For the first year and a half of the Northshore Players, when we mainly had the original group, things continued on much like they had been that first summer. Without a doubt, the first summer was the most free-wheeling and open. Each year after that, it became less so. The company didn’t so much as become more conservative, but more mature. The first year we had nothing to lose; but once the Players had a reputation and something to preserve, we became less willing to risk what we had. I guess that is true for many organizations. And you have to understand that during that time the larger culture was also changing. Things we would do that first year were simply not possible by the end of the 1980’s.”

“While it would be easy to blame the anti-sex attitudes on Ronald Regan, Margret Thatcher, and the Religious Right; the reality is, there was something else going on: HIV/AIDS. You see, it took some time for the threat of HIV/AIDS to make its way from New York and California to us. It was only just becoming a real fear by the end of our third summer tour.”

Marcy paused to look around at the girls. “I am sure it is hard for you to imagine a world where AIDS wasn’t the existential threat it is now. But I lived at the very end of that era. So far, most of what I’ve told you has been joyous. Even with the two bouts of syphilis and the pregnancy, I continued to wring every bit of sexual pleasure I could out of my body. For four years I had relished being Sloshy. I loved knowing I had the semen of several guys in me at a time. Many days, especially in that first year and a half, I had guys cum in my mouth or pussy three, four, or five times in a day. It was my self-identity. During the school year, if I wasn’t sloshy on the way home from rehearsal, something was wrong. Even after having sex with multiple people at the rehearsal hall, most nights I would masturbate in my bed. My habit was to put my fingers in me and then lick them to see if I could still taste the semen. It was part of the joy to think of how the guys had pumped their liquid sex into me at rehearsal. Even the thought of how I’d brought them to orgasm made me feel good about myself.”

That got laughs.

“In those years pot, booze, and semen was everywhere. But the truth is, we were all taking insanely stupid risks. And I am very fortunate I did not get HIV. I’m not sure when Karl contracted it, but the doctors say it was sometime in the winter or spring of my last year at home.”

She paused. Bonnie was not prepared for that. Certainly, the girls were not.

Slowly and deliberately, Marcy continued. “When one of his friends was diagnosed with HIV, fall of my senior year, Karl, Aunt Margarete, and I had a talk. AIDS was a death sentence back then. After that, we never had sex again without a condom; though I continued to suck him raw. Karl had finally moved his belongings out of his mother’s home around Christmas. The last time we slept together was in mid-January. Karl broke down in tears when he told me he loved me too much for us to keep having anal sex, even with a condom. He knew I had only started doing it for him, and though by then we were only having sex a time or two a month and it was always in my ass, feeling him inside of me was an important part of my life. He said three more of his friends had been diagnosed with HIV and he was quite afraid. Still, I didn’t push him away. That weekend we slept together on both Friday and Saturday nights. It was the last time we spend a weekend together like that.”

Marcy stopped again.

“I didn’t see him at all until late March. When I did, he told me that he had been diagnosed with HIV.”

Marcy stopped speaking again. Tears were running down her cheeks.

“For close to a year he was in and out of the hospital. Aunt Margarete did not travel with us that summer. I was the director and Dorcus took over company management. As the summer drew to an end, and I was preparing to move to Oberlin, my idyllic life had come crashing down. The reality was much harsher than I’d realized.”

Marcy took a deep breath.

“In November, Becky committed suicide. No one I know had any direct information about what happened or why. She told several people in the days before that she might get expelled from her Christian college for sexual immorality. The following February Karl died of AIDS.”

Tears were streaming down Marcy’s face. Bonnie now saw it; the reason Marcy had never spoken of these things.

In a monotone, Marcy said “Aunt Margarete never recovered from her loss. I don’t think that she was ever fully sober again. According to Dorcus, she was functional most of the time, but she was never the same. When a year later, the Northshore Players project lost its funding to continue past that next summer, it was the last straw for her. Shortly before our last summer tour, she died of an overdose.”

With that Marcy broke down sobbing. Sarah held her mother close as they both cried.

They drove in silence for some time. The hum of the tires on the highway echoed the numb feeling Bonnie had inside her.

Trish again decided it was time to stop for gas and to let the girls stretch their legs and for Marcy to get a break. Bonnie and Trish made sure the stop lasted a good twenty minutes.

The van was only back on the road for three minutes before Marcy announced she was going to finish her story. She assured everyone it was more just an epilogue to tie the girl she had been to the woman who married Mike Marshal than a new tale.

“Oberlin College was a different world for me. It was full of like-minded people who were committed to making the world a better place. Up until then, I had been quite contented in shaping the world around me, primarily through the Northshore Players. Karl’s AIDS diagnosis in April had been a sobering comeuppance for me. It was time for me to start growing up. But when I went to Oberlin, I was in a world of other young people who had eyes on the larger world and its injustices. I’d never given a moment’s thought to South Africa or the ozone layer. Initially, I was intimidated by their vision of impacting the larger world. That lasted all of let’s say two weeks.”

The girls laughed.

“Really. It only took about two weeks to see my new peers were overwhelmingly spoiled rich kids who were every bit as smug as the worst of my mother’s social group. The only difference was they acted like martyrs if anyone pointed out how silly they were acting. In my four years of integration with Aunt Margarete and her community, I had come to understand much of what I’d initially missed about the people who struggled to put food on the table and to keep safe in dangerous streets. I’d also held a position of real adult leadership and come to understand that difficult problems are not solved by simplistic slogans. Even more disappointing was that my mission of promoting free love as one of the answers to making a better world was unwelcome by a certain faction at Oberlin. It baffled me that some of those who claimed to seek feminine empowerment sought to put me into a sexual straight jacket. Fortunately, those few who spouted Andrea Dworkin’s nonsense that all heterosexual sex was rape were in the political science and feminist studies departments, far from those of us involved with theater. I had a few run-ins with such people, but I am not prone to intimidation. I proudly brought the name Slosh with me, though I’d long since dropped the fairy part. When people would ask about the name, it gave me an opening to see if they were at least open to my view of human sexuality.”

“However, what really knocked me down that first semester was Becky’s suicide. It came as a terrible shock that she had been struggling. Through a friend, I was informed that I would not be welcomed or wanted by her family at her funeral. That was hard. I was fortunate that Oberlin was ahead of its time for providing mental health services for students. I’d never been to a counselor before. I was surprised at the help I received. As I began to reassess my role in Becky’s life, my feelings of guilt grew exponentially. Spiritual answers to such problems were simply not something I understood. I continued to see my counselor until I graduated. When Karl passed, I already had a support group.”

“With the help of my nickname as a litmus test to see who would accept me as me, I had begun to develop new relationships on campus. While the double blow of losing first Becky and then Karl was devastating, by late spring I’d found my footing. From the first week, I was welcomed with open arms by the Oberlin fine arts community. My professional resume from the Northshore Players gave me entry into the theater department; though from the very first day, I took acting as a sideline with my main focus on production, direction, and writing. Starting the spring semester, my references from the Art Institute of Chicago got me a regular gig as a figure model for Oberland’s art department.”

“I should note though that in college I had much less sex than I had in high school. In fact, over my four years at Oberlin, I had about the same number of sexual encounters each week as I did every day in my first two years with the Northshore Players. It was not that I’d become a prude. All the way through college I kept the same default answer of ‘yes’ to friends who asked to have sex with me. It was just I had more things on my plate. Though I guess I should also note that while I had about the same number of encounters as many of my peers, perhaps two or three each week; I had far more partners. You see, after the pain of losing both Karl and Becky I was not interested in another relationship. I also decided I did not want to take the path my mother had taken and abandon the free-love life for domesticity when I was young. As a result, in my four years at Oberlin, I never had a boyfriend. I had several loves, but I never let myself fall into an exclusionary relationship. Because of that, I had sex with many times as many people as anyone in my peer group.”

Marcy laughed as if dredging up a memory. “It’s funny. I became sort of the threesome queen of the theater department. In the 80’s, lesbian chic had not taken hold, so among my social group, nearly all the girls were heter