Once upon a time, there lived two separate people going their merry way as they knew it. But wait, let’s back up and start closer to the beginning. When I was around eight or ten, I would look at my family and say, “Something is wrong with this family; something is wrong with this family.” Not “something is wrong with me.” I could not accept the fact that there actually might be more wrong with me than there was with my family. When I finally saw that I could not deal with my home life, I took myself out of the family-first by running away, and later, after marrying when I was nineteen, by joining the army. Each time I left “family,” however, I was forced to see that I couldn’t be myself out in the world either and fit in. I found ways to fit in but discovered that not being myself brought on despair. I knew that I had caused the despair by removing myself from my familiar (but not wholly comfortable) world and then not being able to handle the new situation, but I covered up the despair with drugs, alcohol, women, you name it. Singing had been my thing, but being a performer, an entertainer, had its drawbacks. The lifestyle led me to the abuse of drugs and a warped way of thinking about others. Basically, I bought into the hype that goes along with being a celebrity and thought more highly of myself than was probably warranted. So now, let’s flash forward to 1987. There I was in college, midtown Manhattan, and there she was, fresh out of grad school. We met at the junior college where I was trying to figure out if the world had left me any portion of a brain after twenty years of show business. One of the highlights of the experience was this English teacher. Boy, was she something! Still is. I said, “I’m going to get that girl,” but then I thought to myself, “Am I crazy?” I told a friend and he believed that I was definitely crazy. If you’ve read Noralyn’s side of the story, you have a pretty good
idea of what kind of a woman she is. But Noralyn was also very naive about life. Sure, she had spent a lot of years acquiring her education, but I had spent those years plus ten more experiencing the world. So naturally we approached life differently. One of my friends said, “What does she want with Oscar? We all know what he wants with her, but what does she want with him?” Whatever our reasons, we both wanted each other, so when the opportunity arose, we took it. The day we got married, June 9, was a beautiful day. Noralyn picked me up from the train station and our lives together began. She had given me a one-way ticket into her life, making it very clear that if I accepted this ticket, there was no way out-it was a oneway ticket. I thought about that for a minute, but that was all. I just knew that I wanted to take the ride.