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Authors: Linda Lovelace


BOOK: Ordeal
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Linda Lovelace
with Mike McGrady
Kensington Publishing Corp.
All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.
Many of the names in this book have been changed to protect bystanders The following names have
been changed: Chuck Traynor, Leonard Campagna (a.k.a. Lenny Camp), Philip J. Mandina, Xaviera Hollander, Bob Wolf, Gerard Damiano, Harry Reems, Lou Peraino (a.k.a. Lou Perry), Vinnie, Tony Peraino, Michelle, Al Goldstein, Jim Buckley, Sammy Davis, Jr., Andrea True, Hugh Hefner, David Winters, Mel Mandel, Marilyn Chambers, Rex Harrison, Arthur Marks.
Twenty-five years have passed since the controversial 1980 publication of
. For Linda Lovelace this period was hardly less of a roller coaster ride than the preceding years, and it was to end only after her life came tragically, even eerily, full circle.
With two children and with a husband struggling to get a drywall business off the ground, the 1980s found Linda speaking out against the evils of pornography on behalf of the feminist movement, culminating in her 1986 testimony before the Meese Commission on Pornography. The same year saw publication of her second autobiography,
Out of Bondage
(introduction by Gloria Steinem) and a series of health catastrophes. During a double mastectomy, necessitated by complications from silicone injections more than a decade earlier, it was discovered that her liver was on the verge of collapse due to a severe case of hepatitis C contracted from a blood transfusion after her 1970 car accident. A successful organ transplant followed, but so did a lifelong dependence on expensive antirejection drugs.
The ensuing years brought more travail and controversy. After the failure of her husband’s business, the family moved from Long Island, New York, to Denver, where Linda worked a variety of jobs before embarking on a new round of antipornography lectures. The mid-nineties saw Ron Howard buy film rights to
and a divorce finalized between Linda and Larry Marchiano (on grounds that he was a physically and emotionally abusive alcoholic husband and father), while the new millennium began with a pictorial for the adult magazine
Leg Show
. Explaining what appeared to be an ideological about-face, Linda asserted that “there’s nothing wrong with looking sexy as long as it’s done with taste.”
Having become a grandmother in 1998, Linda spent her last few years living alone and working a series of day and night jobs. On April 3, 2002, Linda sustained severe injuries when her SUV rolled over. On April 22, surrounded by her two children and Larry Marchiano, she was taken off life support. Lost on no one was the coincidence that it was also an auto accident that began her life as Linda Lovelace.
As a coda to the Linda Lovelace story, 2005 saw the hit release of the documentary
Inside Deep Throat
, which looked back at the heady days surrounding the release of
Deep Throat
and revealed just how far the porn industry had come. But perhaps most poignantly, it gave the world one last chance to commune with the woman who was at the center of it all.
My name is not Linda Lovelace. Not these days. Linda Lovelace is the name of a woman who was much younger than I am now, much more trusting and naive and innocent. Linda Lovelace disappeared from sight several years ago. If I had my way, the name Linda Lovelace would have vanished at the same time and neither you nor I would ever hear of it again.
But the world won’t let Linda Lovelace rest in peace. Today I still can’t go to a supermarket or a bus station or a high school basketball game without the risk—the whispers, the pointed fingers, the stampedes.
I haven’t been able to escape Linda Lovelace, but I have been able to make peace with her. I understand her and what happened to her. I’ve written this book so that others will also understand.
My particular concern is with my three-year-old son, who will someday have to learn that his mother was once this woman named Linda Lovelace. He will surely hear one side of the story, the side that comes with a sneer and a dirty laugh. I want him to know the rest of the story. I want the record set straight. This is for him, and it’s the truth, the story of what really happened.
Noon of a white-hot Florida day. Recuperating from a bad automobile accident, I was stretched out, as usual, on a chaise longue parked outside my parents’ home near Fort Lauderdale. Betsy, a friend from high school days, had phoned to say she was driving up from Miami to visit me.
Although I was self-conscious about the fresh scars that crisscrossed my body, I was wearing a bikini and, lying there in the noon sun, I must have dozed off. A shadow moved across my face and I opened my eyes. Betsy! Then I saw she wasn’t alone. There was a young man with her. Even before he came into focus, I reached for a towel and covered myself up.
“Linda, this is Chuck Traynor,” Betsy said. “Chuck’s the photographer I told you about.”
“Hi,” I said. “Give me a minute and I’ll put something on.”
“Don’t go to any trouble for us,” the young man said. “We’re only staying a few minutes—we’ve got to be back in Miami by two.”
My first impression of Chuck Traynor: He was tall, at least six feet tall. Everybody I ever went with was my height or shorter. I was always afraid of the tall, good-looking guys. Tall guys always seemed to expect other people to do things for them; they were generally hung up on themselves.
Chuck Traynor was wearing blue jeans, an open-collared long-sleeved shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and wraparound sunglasses that looked like motorcycle goggles. Did I find him attractive? It’s particularly hard to be true to my memory here. Okay, he was tall; he was twenty-seven years old; he wasn’t too skinny; he had dirty-blond hair and, yes, he seemed attractive to me.
At that moment the most attractive part of Chuck Traynor’s personality was parked in the driveway. It was a new Jaguar XKE, burgundy colored, with a black leather interior and top.
impressed me. You’ve got to understand, almost everyone I had ever gone out with was driving daddy-and-mommy’s car and here was a man with a brand new Jag, all his own.
The other first impressions also were positive. He was friendly, and he quickly showed that he had money to spend.
“Your girlfriend Betsy is really something,” he told me. “I tried to buy her a new dress on the way over here and she wouldn’t let me.”
I went to another room to change into something less revealing and Betsy joined me. We had been best friends in high school, and now, at the age of twenty-one, we were living near each other and becoming friends all over again. I was there to recuperate from an automobile accident, and she was in Miami working as a topless dancer.
“I told you about Chuck,” Betsy said. “He’s the one who wanted me to be a model. Listen, Linda, I can tell he’s impressed by you, too.”
“What kind of modeling?”
“Not nude,” she said quickly. “Clothing. Strictly fashion modeling. Would that interest you?”
“I’d be interested.”
Interested? I’d have been interested in anything that would take me away from my parents’ home. We went downstairs and I poured them each a beer.
“You don’t drink?” Chuck asked.
“Can’t,” I said. “The doctors tell me I can’t drink anything for two years. My liver got all banged up in an auto accident.”
That didn’t tell the half of it. I had been in an Opel Cadet just driving onto Taconic State Parkway in New York, still in second gear, when an old Chrysler came skidding sideways over a small hill and crashed into me. My forehead and face hit the windshield; part of one eye was hanging down, my jaw was broken and my lower front teeth were sticking out through my chin. The steering wheel broke my ribs and lacerated both my spleen and liver. This was followed by a leaking intestine and peritonitis.
All my dreams at the time were smashed up with me. I had been working in a boutique, saving money to open my own shop. I had ordered a car and picked out a little house. But now it would be months before I could do anything again.
“You poor kid,” Chuck said. “Still, I don’t guess there’s any reason you couldn’t have a smoke?”
No reason I could think of. Chuck produced a joint, lit it up and handed it to me. I hadn’t smoked pot in a long time. However, even taking a puff in my mother’s house scared me. One time when my mother caught me with pot, she had dialed the police to turn me in. She would have done it, too, except my father walked over and hung up the phone.
“Linda, we’ve got to get back to Miami,” Chuck said. “I own a little bar and I’ve got to be there when the next shift comes on at two o’clock. Why don’t you come along for the ride?”
He didn’t have to ask twice. The three of us piled into the Jag. Chuck did the driving and Betsy sat next to him on the hump. We shared another joint as we drove along.
It’s difficult for me now to admit how impressed I was with Chuck during that first meeting, but I was. The only flaw I noticed: He was missing a finger. However, he wasn’t self-conscious about it. He explained to me that he had been working underwater and a snapping turtle had suddenly gotten hungry.
Even that story impressed me. The things he had done! He was a pilot who had worked as a crop-duster and had once owned his own private airline. He was a former Marine who had won the marksmanship award for the entire Marine Corps; his prize had been a date with movie star Natalie Wood. He was into flying and sky-diving and skin-diving—yes, I was impressed.
Chuck’s bar, the Vegas Inn, was in North Miami, just across the street from a police station and near a Carvel stand. At first glance, the bar seemed less than imposing—your basic one-story, flat-roofed, rectangular building, not much larger than a two-car garage.
Inside the bar it was extremely dark. We walked in from bright sunlight and it took several moments for my eyes to adjust. The only light came from winking black lights bouncing off day-glo decorations. The customers were construction workers, truck drivers, garage mechanics-just regular guys killing a few hours with the jukebox or the pool table or the barmaid.
“This is nice,” I told Betsy.
“Nice?” she said. “It’s a dump.”
“Well, it’s nice to be out,” I said. “You don’t know how miserable it is back there at home, having to go back and live with my parents all over again. They still treat me like some kind of kid.”
“Your mother hasn’t changed.”
“She’s worse than ever,” I said. “But I’d rather not talk about her now.”
My mother has always been very emotional toward me. When I was four years old, she started beating me—first with a belt, later with the buckle of the belt. She would hit me for the smallest thing. One time she sent me down to the drugstore for nosedrops—Neosynephrine—and I came back with the wrong kind. I was only eleven and she hit me with a broomstick for that mistake. She said I would have gotten the right bottle if I didn’t have my mind on boys so much.
. That was a laugh. Boys were the last thing on my mind. No one at home ever told me anything about sex. Only one message ever came through clearly: Sex was bad. Once, some of my girlfriends were talking about their parents going to bed to make babies and I tried to picture my parents doing that. No way. One of my friends used the word “fuck” and no one knew what it meant. I said I’d ask my mom and I did: “Hey, mom, what does the word ‘fuck’ mean?” I got smacked in the face, kicked in the ass, and sent to my room.
When I got my period for the first time, I was sure it was God’s punishment for one sin or another. Finally, I told my mother about it. She marched me into the bathroom and pointed to the box of Kotex: “Here. You get it once a month, it lasts about five days, and you wear this.”
That was the sum total of my childhood sex education.
“Linda, is something the matter?”
Betsy was shaking my shoulder.
“No,” I said, “No, I was just daydreaming. Tell me about your friend Chuck.”
“Chuck? Nothing. Nothing’s going on.”
“Believe it,” she said. “He’s a nice guy, but he’s just a friend. Seriously. I’ve slept over at his house a couple of times, and he didn’t even come on to me.”
We were joined by one of Chuck’s friends, Benny. Benny was a regular hillbilly, very much into country music, and he had a pleasant personality, not at all loud or crude. He was good-looking, black-haired and muscular from construction work. I suddenly realized that this was my first time out in many months and it felt good. I drank a Coke with Benny and later accepted his offer of a date.
It had been a year since my last date and even before that, my life had been very sheltered. I had no boyfriends until high school. Then, although I dated sometimes and would kiss a boy, I would not go any farther than that. I wouldn’t neck. I was known as Miss Holy-Holy and for a time even wanted to be a nun.
I can think of almost every guy who ever asked me out; they hardly ever asked me out a second time. As I got older, the boys became more persistent. Whenever I found a boy who wouldn’t hassle me, it was beautiful. I was the kind of girl who liked to go down by the ocean and hold hands. I still am.
I don’t want to pretend that I was always Miss Holy-Holy. I fell in love once or twice; I lost my virginity at age nineteen, and when I was twenty, I gave birth to an illegitimate child that my mother put out for adoption.
Anyway, Benny was my first date in many months and during the next few weeks, the four of us got together several times. Benny would pick me up at home and the four of us would go to Chuck’s house where we’d smoke pot and talk. It was nice to have some social life again.
But Benny was not going to be the man in my life—not for long anyway. Chuck and Betsy had stopped seeing each other and then Chuck began coming on to me. I’d be with Benny at the bar, and I’d suddenly notice Chuck was looking over at me, smiling. I would avoid looking back at him —I was too shy for that—but I was interested.
Then one day, after I had known Benny for six weeks, I came into the bar and I heard the barmaid talking about him: “Oh, Benny had another big fight with his wife and this time she took out after him with a gun.”
! I had gone out with Benny all that time and somehow he had neglected to mention a wife. That blew my head. I have always had great respect for marriage and would never have done anything to hurt one. I could never take a responsibility like that. I spoke to Benny just once or twice more. He tried to convince me that it was over with his wife, that they were getting a divorce, but by then it was too late.
The next week, when Chuck asked me out, I went with him.
BOOK: Ordeal
6.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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