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Norman Allan
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Chapter Thirteen: Martie the mobster's wife


Ted wrote of his "autobiography": A full chapter should be devoted to the saga of my marriage in the 1960's to Martie Sacco, ex-wife of Crazy Marco Sacco, an infamous Mafia "Godfather"

I was in New York (in 1967) putting the finishing touches to my Zen-Buddhist-Hebrew-Musical, "Chu Chem". Georgia Brown introduced me to Martie Sacco while Crazy Marco was still in jail. He had apparently threatened to kill some union leader, was caught in the act and sentenced to five years in Sing Sing. Martie, however, told me that Marco had been framed: he was a good union leader and his enemies had ganged up on him. I believed her. We started "dating" and I fell in love with her four-year old daughter, Harmony. Harmony used to visit her Daddy in the Penitentiary once a month. Marco trusted the four year old to carry his messages and gave her one to deliver to me. "Tell Ted I plan to attend to him personally when I get out of jail."
     I asked her to deliver a message back to her father on her next visit. "It is beneath you, Mr. Sacco, to use your child for these kind of messages." I felt noble, brave, and petrified, and when I began finding out more about Crazy Marco my terror only increased. He was rumoured to have committed dozens of murders, personally. I'm convinced now that one of the reasons I married Martie was my fear of Marco. I figured if I married her he'd not feel I had "sullied" his honour.
     One morning in New York, while I was working on rewrites of Chu Chem there was a knock on the front door and there stood three men looking like caricatures of gangsters from early Hollywood movies. The shortest introduced himself as "Sick Sacco", Marco's kid brother. I invited them in, putting on a great act of being "cool". Sick and I sat down at the dining table. His two bodyguards stood at attention nearby. "Marco," said Sick with an amiable smile, "asked me to give you a message. He wants you to leave New York by Saturday."
     My reply impressed me. "I have not," I proclaimed, "lived my life fighting tyranny in all its forms, to leave or not leave any city on somebody's command." Sick just smiled, patted my shoulder when I was through and said, "Sick is not Stupid. Marco just asked me to deliver his message. Nice meeting you, Mr. Allan. Bye." And they left.
     With the door barely closed I rushed to phone Martie. "Marco just sent his brother Sick threatening to kill me if I didn't leave town by Saturday," I screamed.
     "No shit," she replied. "Take no notice. They're always so dramatic about everything."

     Marco Sacco was a fascinating psychopath who read Shakespeare, Camus, loved poetry and art, and murder with ease. When little Harmony went to school in London and he learned it was the same school Sean Connery and other English "stars" sent their kids, he started giving up thoughts of revenge against me. Martie sent him photos of Harmony in a riding habit sitting on a horse and, finally, after Harmony visited him that Christmas speaking with a cultured English accent, he sent her with another message for me. "Tell Ted when I get out next year I'll finance all his plays, all his films. I'm grateful the way he's being a papa to you."

By the time Crazy Marco was paroled that following year, Martie and I had separated after a horrendous marriage. She and Marco re-married. He started beating her. She ran away, taking Harmony with her and got a second divorce. He re-married and was shot down, machine-gunned gangster style, on his birthday, so he never got to finance my plays.

Sometime in the nineteen-eighties in Ted's study in Toronto apartment Ted pointed to the shelves on top of his filing cabinets where a large series of very fat loose-leaf binders leaned and stood. "Those are my analytic notes. You may need them."
     The binder from the Martie years, the mid to late 60s, is a hodgepodge, both long-hand (difficult to read) and typed notes, and carbons and photocopies repeating, repeating, copies of letters to Martie and analytical notes. The relationship was disturbed and stormy. A recurrent theme in Ted's notes (not just at this time, but particularly at this time) is depression: "Depressed - depressed - ego shattered ... Have lost my identity - or I'm coming to grips with the truth of myself..." and again, "Going through another depression - crisis - involving me, my work, Martie, the therapy, everything..."

Martie was wild and wonderful, but they jarred, but they so jarred. Often during this period Ted said that he felt he was going crazy. Much of this, this relationship (like the relationship with Lucille a while before), was tied into therapy, Riechian therapy in this case, so putting his fingers in his throat to gag, and pounding at pillows with fists and tennis rackets, great burst of energy, near epiphany sometimes, but often tied to dispair, this was ted's life there, then.

Reichians, a whole chapter could be devoted to Ted's Reichians analysis, but perhaps I'll just allude to his claiming that coitous was part of his first session with G B, in London. But that was after Martie and Rothenberg (1)

Ted private, Ted public. Just this one snippet from Ted's notes (longhand, undated): "Dear Martie, I start my letter with the thought that I will not type it with a carbon and have a copy - so already it begins as a half, a part, not a whole of me.
     I just placed a carbon underneath this so I won't have to retype it (5) - and I will have a copy. Posterity is served..."

A tortured and tortuous courtship; Ted and Martie stumbled backwards and forwards towards marriage. Ted got an invitation to visit Mexico. He took the occasion to push through his divorce from Kate. But Ted couldn't decide whether he should leave Martie for the week, and he could not decide if he should marry her. He asked Rothenberg, their Reichian analyst, should he marry Martie? should he go to Mexico? Rothenberg told him that he could not talk about another patient, but he could talk about Ted, and yes, he thought that Ted should take the trip to Mexico. But Ted insisted,"Why don't you talk to me about Martie? Do you think I should marry her?"
     "I cannot discuss another patient with you, but I can tell you I think you should take this trip to Mexico," said Rothenberg. (Ted loved this story about how we don't hear what we don't want to hear.)

Finally in the summer of sixty seven Ted and Martie married. Why he married Martie isn't quite clear to me, despite Ted's copious notes, unless indeed, as Ted joked, it was from fear of Crazy Marco Sacco. I think most likely it was a desperate way to end the ambivalence, a very uncomfortable hook on which he was stuck. So he jumped into the fire to settle the indecision.
Ted and Martie crossed the Atlantic and Martie raised the floor in Ted apartment. Now Martie gave up her ambivalence and turned against Ted whole heartedly. "You're not a man. You're a worm."

In 1997 Kate spoke of Ted and Martie. "He told me," she said, "that when he married Martie, the day of the wedding he went into the bathroom and he almost cut his throat. Or maybe he put it that he wanted to cut his throat, because I can't be sure of the expression."
     "Later on, in 1969, I was in New York visiting cousin Amour. I was talking to Amour. 'The trouble with you, Kate,' she said, 'is that you never expressed your anger.' So I called him up to express my anger, but when I called him up, before I could express my anger, he started to cry. He said, 'I can't talk. I can't talk.' So I never got to express my anger."

I have a memory of visiting Ted and Martie at the flat in Putney, where they lived six months before separating. Karin and I came up from Brighton to visit. Karin and I were wretchedly sick, influenzaed. We were put up next door in Martha's flat (she was away). We were wretchedly confined to bed. Ted and Martie were too busy with their on-going feud to see to us as we lay languishing, but Harmony, then five years old, paid attention to our needs and looked after us.

After six months of marriage, couped up together in the Putney flat, Ted and Martie separated. Martie was bitter. She said she would never divorce him. "Sweat, Sweetie", she said. But then Marco Sacco got paroled and they, Marco and Martie, were getting together again. His living with a married woman would have been a breach of his parole. Martie needed a divorce in a hurry, and Ted, at last, was only too pleased to be free.


Chapter fourteen is pending

Second Intermission

Chapter fifteen