ALONG COMES MARY
I had been seeing Patty off and on since a toga party at Mary's house. They were friends of Tommy Kraft and he introduced us on Leif's 20th birthday, which fell on Halloween of '85. Mary Ingemar lived in her father's house without her parents, but with her 16 year old sister Karen Ingemar, Karen's daughter Erika, and Erika's father Phil Maycott. Patty was also living there.
They lived in a town called Tabernacle, New Jersey, and that was a 45-minute drive, so I did not spend too much time there. Patty was shy and would have Mary call me whenever she wanted to invite me over for the night. Mary's voice on the telephone was the sexiest voice I had ever heard. I was mesmerized by it. She could get me to do anything she asked and I would go more often than not.
I knew Mary wanted me. During the summer of 1986 the girls were going to dealer's school at the Casino Career Institute, so I would see much of them. They would come over for a visit and the three of us would curl up under a blanket as we sat on the couch watching TV, drinking beer, and smoking pot. Whenever Patty would get up for something, Mary would make her feelings about me known. I did the same to her, even at times when Patty was with us. I knew our time was going to come.
At the end of September, 1986 I had my first date with Mary Ingemar. I found her interesting and different from the other women I had been seeing. I fell in love with her in October following our second or third date when I learned something about her never known.
We were talking in my living room when I came clean with her. That night I told her what it would mean to be my girlfriend.
I told her how I was a Christian and how I tried to make God first in my life and she would have to play second fiddle to that. She said she understood. I wasn't sure she did, so I told her about the night I found God in December 1983, at my Stockton dorm room. She stated she had a similar experience only a couple of years ago and felt the same way I did. I fell in love.
When I met Mary Ingemar she was pumping gas for a living. She was also taking care of her sister's baby while Karen went to high school. When we started seeing each other on a steady basis her sister was out of school, Patty had gotten a job dealing at Caesar's, and Mary had also finished casino school, received her license, and was waiting to take an audition. She was soon hired by Caesar's. Patty Cebik, Tommy Kraft and her planned to move to a condo just over the causeway from Atlantic City, on Brigantine Island.
Mary didn't have a car. She wrecked it one morning in October or November after spending the night with me. She was on her way to work in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, when some idiot made an illegal U-turn and forced her into the woods right in front of the Atlantic City Medical Center in Pomona. She was fine, the car died.
On the day she went to buy a new car I suggested that she buy a cheap one so she could pay it off soon in case she did not like the job and wanted to leave it. Mary would not listen. It was February and she bought a brand new Pontiac Sunbird. The payments would be $200 a month for the next five years. If that was not enough, she started charging to the hilt. She bought a bed and dresser filled with mirrors for $2400 and various other items for her house. I warned her not to go crazy for a while, stating that if she could make it the first six months in that business then she would be able to take it. She didn't care. She was a hot shit, Atlantic City craps dealer at Caesar's Boardwalk Regency taking home $500 a week (I was lucky to gross that at Bally's).
I should have known she would be able to take that job after she told me that she and the manager of Exxon, Terry Kraft (Tommy's sister), robbed the place for $2000. She said that the station and police believed it to be an inside job and asked them to take a lie detector test but they refused saying they were insulted for being asked.
One of the first things Mary and Patty did when they moved onto the island was have a casino party. I was totally against it. The only one that I had ever been to was held after work on Christmas. (It sucked.) At that party, in Ventnor, was Bobby Jones. Everyone was around him like he was the shit. That was exactly what I thought; he was shit. He didn't show a warm welcome towards me and I wondered if it was because he heard I would not conform to the code of the biz. But the girls were content on showing off and becoming popular before they realized they were working for crooks. (It usually took three months before they would give a break-in control of the dice.) They got what they wanted, the party was a success and they gained popularity throughout Caesar's.
They loved being with those gangsters. One thing they wanted to do was go on a ski trip with them. I would not allow it. It would be Mary, Patty, and another girl from Caesar's who had a reputation for being loose. A lot of the guys were married but they were not taking their wives with them. Our relationship was shaky because seeing her enjoying herself with that crowd made me wonder if she was Mafia. (Mary used to ask me about the Mafia. She said she was intrigued by their power and money. She stated that her mother's father was involved with Murder Inc. and that her father, Raymond Ingemar, was once a strong-arm for the mob. She told me a story about how her and her sister found her father with two other goons going to break the legs of some guy because he was late on a payment. She said he got enraged when they saw each other and started yelling at them. She had me believing that she was a Mafia Princess and I knew better than to break the heart of one of those.
When I dropped her off for the ski trip I told her not to get to involved. "What do you mean?" she asked.
As she was about to leave the car, I looked at her and said, "Fraud is a felony," then watched her go.
I was so disgusted with her. I was convinced she knew what she was getting into and enjoyed stealing. Why not, she got Exxon for two grand.
When she came back I didn't want to see her. She said she had a lousy time without me. She put a white elephant wearing a shirt that read "I Love You" and holding a helium balloon on my porch, rang the doorbell, and took off. She always knew how to get to me.
The summer of 1987 on the island was terrific. I spent much time at Mary's place and that made for tensions between Tommy and me. The girls and I would party without him, but that soon would have to stop when Mary developed a drinking problem.
Mary began to hate the job. After she figured it out she became angry with herself for not listening to me and getting into the position which would have to keep her working there. Every night--and I mean every night--when she got home from work she drank an entire six pack of beer. She would also become a miserable drunk like her father. I didn't like her father's drinking. He was a bit of an alcoholic. She would still get high with us, but she drank herself drunk. It finally came to the point where I had to step in and tell her if she did not quit drinking I was going to leave her. She took that to heart and quit the bottle.
There were times when we would drink socially. I remember one time during that summer when Trump's Castle was having a fireworks display in celebration of their first anniversary of business. We could see that hotel from Mary's front porch on 40th Street South. That night the two of us decided to get a bottle of wine and go to the beach to watch the presentation. I went into a bar called The Lagoon and purchased a bottle of red wine. We took that to the jetty, set out a blanket on the beach, got high, drank, and watched the display. When it was over we decided to get another bottle for the house.
We went back to the Lagoon. I walked in and waited in a line of about five people. The same man who served me earlier was there only this time with an assistant. I approached him with a smile and ordered the same wine as the last time. This time he asked me for I.D. I had misplaced my driver's license, so I brought my Casino Control Commission license with me. I handed it to him and he turned me down.
"What is the problem," I politely asked.
"I'm not going to accept it."
"Why? That is a New Jersey CCC license. I'm of age, so what is the problem?"
"I don't have to serve you, now get out of here."
I knew he was going to give me a hard time when he saw my eyes, which have been druppy since birth. I was becoming angry at this immature old fart as I said, "What is the problem? You served me earlier."
"I did not! Now, get out of here or you're going to get trouble!"
Now, I was pissed. I stood over in line and told everyone in the place how that ass would not serve me after just serving me two hours earlier just because of the way I looked. The man, who was also the owner, became furious. When I told him I would get a cop to make him serve me he flipped out.
"You're gonna call the cops," he started screaming, "I am the cops. You have no idea who you are fucking with here! Do you?" Then he proceeded to call the cops.
I answered the question put to me, "Yes I do! You're an asshole who won't serve me because of the way I look!" I turned to everyone in the bar and repeated myself. He ran out from behind the counter, grabbed me by my collar and waist, and physically and literally threw me out of the establishment.
The pigs were arriving at the same time. "Did you see that?" I yelled to them.
The old man also yelled at them, "Get this kid out of here before I kill and bury him!" He turned and went back inside.
Mary had been sitting in her car waiting for me when she saw everything going down. She got out and came over to help.
The cops were focusing their attention on some nineteen-year-old looking kid who got out of a new Rolls Royce, Silver Spur. They joked about how the kid was doing something right and they were in the wrong line of work. Then they started getting on my case.
"Did you hear that?" I shouted at them, "He threatened my life. He made terroristic threats against me. I want him arrested for that!"
The police just laughed at me, "He didn't say anything. Let me see some I.D."
I gave him what I had given the old man. I told him how he would not serve me after he had a couple of hours ago. The pigs just told me that he owned the place and could refuse service to anyone he wished. I started screaming.
"Hey, where do you live pal," one cop asked like a tuff-guy. When I told him he turned to Mary, "Do you control him, Miss?"
When she started to speak and say she would calm me down I stepped in, "She don't control me! No one does! I have a mind of my own!" Those assholes. I was a felon by trade who knew more about reality than they did and got no respect wherever I went.
The pig got loud with me, "Well someone better control you or you're going to be living in Mays Landing, at the Atlantic County Jail, until Monday!"
"On what charge," I screamed at him. "I don't care. I got a great lawyer. He'll have me out before you're finished writing the paper work." Then I turned to Mary and said, "Mary, if these guys try to arrest me you get on the phone and call Seth Grossman. Tell him what happened and have him arrange to get me out." Then I gave her his phone number.
At that instance the attitude of the police changed. They became very nice with me, spoke to me like a human being, and stated they could work something out. It must have been Seth's name because they backed down whey they knew I was properly represented.
The next week I went to see Seth and told him I wanted to file harassment charges against the Brigantine Police Department. He advised me to let it drop and told me I was lucky they didn't take me to the station to beat the hell out of me. He said that is exactly what would have happened if it occurred in Atlantic City. He didn't charge me anything for the consultation because I was sending a lot of business his way, which he was making a lot of money from. He said I was a blue chip client and he was happy his name was able to save me some trouble.
I had never told Seth that his name came up at the scene. Seth had been in the paper a lot at that time for exposing incompetent councilmen at the Atlantic City, City Hall. That must have been why the cops backed down. However, the comment he gave me about his name being able to help made me think that he was called about it. That was probably why he did not want to help me. Either that or he did not really care about his clients.
Mary's involvement with her co-workers was getting to me. I knew exactly how those scum bags worked on the women in there. One night she came home and told me that there was an extra days pay in her paycheck. I got angry thinking that she was fucking a Pitboss after work for the extra cash. They had that power to give it to people and I heard some of them did. But there was one man in particular she was paying too much attention to.
His name was Mark. He worked with her and always went out with the girls, but never brought his wife. Mark was the person who talked Mary into going on the ski trip with them. He also never wore his wedding ring and I knew all about the men in that business that did not wear their wedding bands. I did not trust him.
I also didn't trust Mary. It was because of what happened on Christmas of 86' after she had invited me to her house when I got off work. I talked to her just before I left my house. When I arrived in Tabernacle, she was not there. Her sister and Phil were the only ones there and Karen told me she did not know where Mary was and that Mary had no idea that I was coming over. I knew she was lying to me, but Karen insisted that Mary had no clue that was coming over. She said she would tell Mary I stopped by when she got back. I knew something was up, so I waited for her. Shortly, she arrived with her "ex-boyfriend", John Rogers.
John had been Mary's first love. She lost her virginity to him when she was only fourteen years old and continued a sexual relationship with him long after that. He was the "boy across the street". Her father liked that dirtbag but Mary told me that he would beat her often. I treated Mary like a queen and she liked that. I found out she was cheating on him when she started seeing me, so I knew it wasn't beyond her to do it again.
Mary had also experienced cheating first hand when she was younger. Her father was cheating on her mother with Mary's best friend's mother who lived two doors down from them. Mary and her sister hated their father for that and have never forgiven him. What is worse is that he recently married this woman and now the two Ingemar girls have to be reminded of their pain each time they visit him.
One evening I got an early out from the Tropicana and showed up at her condo. I went through the back because I felt she would be there with Mark. When I walked in I found her, Mark, Patty, and some other guy from Caesar's who Patty was spending a lot of time with, sitting on the couch. The tension in the room was so thick when they saw me you could cut it with a knife. Right away Mark got up and said he had to go home. Mary said she was going to walk him to the car. Patty looked scared and asked me what I was doing out of work so early. I peeked outside and saw Mary giving him a kiss with their arms around each other. She denied it, but I not only felt it but saw it as well. When you truly love someone as much as I loved her they cannot hide anything from you. I told her how I felt about Mark, how I would call his wife if I ever saw them together again, and then left. She and Mark stopped their friendship. My suspicions of her fooling around were heightened.
On another occasion, when I showed up at her house, Patty told me she had no idea where Mary was. I had heard that before and was not about to believe her. I had a feeling she was at the house of another married man she worked with and spoke of often. I knew him from dealing school and knew he cheated on his wife, but Mary always used the excuse whenever she was with those men that they were married. I drove to the street where I knew he lived. At the house that I suspected to be his, I saw what I thought was her car. It was the same make, model, year, and color. It even had the same letters (BTI) on the license plate. I went crazy. She ripped out my heart and I was going to make her pay. I went back to her place and waited for her.
A lot of the guys at work talked about how they would beat their wives every now and then to keep them in line. Mary told me her father used to hit her mother and her quite often when she was growing up. She also mentioned that John Rogers beat her as well. That was a relationship that lasted many years. I thought about it for a while and concluded that Mary had no respect for me because I was never violent towards her. I was, after all, the only man who ever treated her like a queen. I figured that the only way to gain her respect was to beat her as she was used to and expected from me.
I remember the date well; it was June 8, 1987. As soon as she walked through the door I asked her where she had been. She stated that she was shopping with her mother. I saw her car on the island, so that was a lie. I became enraged. I called her a liar and began to hit her. She started to run. She got backed into a corner in the kitchen and fell to the ground trying to cover herself. This was the saddest and lowest night of my entire life.
I continued beating her as she screamed for me to stop. There was nothing Patty could do but watch. I was filled with the Devil's own rage. Soon, I was overcome with guilt listening to her cry. I had to stop.
Looking back, I know that it was the atmosphere of the casinos that was able to strip the goodness out of my heart and turn me into the vile madman of that night. The fact that I knew how those people worked, the fact that Mary seemed to enjoy them, and the fact that I was trapped working there myself among the lowest people on the planet, caused the suspicions, non-trust, and violence.
Mary, curled up on the floor and crying, begged for me to believe her. She didn't ask me to leave right away, she just asked me to trust her. She told me how much she loved me and how she would never do such a thing (even though she had in the past). I could not understand what was going on. I had never hit anyone since I was in high school and that was at least five years past. I let a lot of vented up furry go on her that night and she forgave me.
I broke down and cried. It was hard for me to fathom that I was capable of such violence. I had been losing my Christian ethics. I held her and begged for forgiveness. She explained that I had it and told me to leave. I stopped back at the house where I thought I saw her car and found the same car, which was not her's there.
I became a changed man. This was real love. I could fuck up that bad and she could go on loving me. How I loved her for that. It was at that moment that I knew I had to spend the rest of my life with her.
The next morning when I got to work I signed the early out list and was out before noon. I went to see a man who used to work with me at Bally's.
His name was Artie. He had gotten fed up with the biz and one afternoon told upper management he was not returning after that day. When I asked him why he just didn't walk out of the joint he said that would have been a mistake. When I asked him why he did not give a two-week notice he said because they would not have given him one if they were going to fire him. God, I loved him. He nicknamed me Woodsy the Owl. Although, I believe they were calling me No Clue Lou. He was also the one who gave Beetle his nickname. But Artie was now out of there and working for his family as a jeweler.
I didn't have any money saved up, so I needed a great deal. Artie showed me a few stones and their prices. I picked out a .51 point brilliant stone and then a unique six prong gold setting for it. The stone was flawless, the setting exquisite. I had been looking around at diamonds and knew that combination could have cost me between $1400 and $1500. Artie gave it to me for $1150. I had no money because I was pumping everything into the business. All I had was an un-cashed paycheck I just received for $300. I signed it over to him and put the ring on lay-a-way until I could come up with the other $850. I was so excited and filled with love in my heart.
When I got home, Leif and his friends were getting ready to party. It was around one in the afternoon, so they asked me what I was doing home so early. They could not believe it when I showed them the ring receipt. At first they tried to talk me out of it and then they asked me if I knew what I was doing. I could not tell them what happened the night before, but I assured them that this was for real. They congratulated me and wished me luck.
Meanwhile, the progress on NightSky Enterprises was proceeding slowly. Richard Walter, owner of Wordcraft, Inc., thought that it would be better to call the company NightSky and the product "Heavens Above!", so I would not be limited to just murals. He was the big-time consultant, so I listened. One afternoon the two of us took a trip to Cleveland, Ohio, to meet with a man who I met at a convention inside Jacob Javits in New York City.
He was very interested in producing and marketing the mural and had a lot of big connections with Spencer Gifts, Inc., who had their headquarters in Atlantic City, behind the casino employee's parking lot. His name was Ted Trikilious and he owned the company that did the Farrah posters and a poster that I had seen in the movie, "Revenge Of The Nerds". It was the poster of the Space Shuttle being launched which hung in the nerds' staircase. I should have worried about that man when he gave me a copy of that poster and the story on the back was missing a chunk. Ted showed us around his facilities and said he would call with an answer as soon as he spoke to Spencer Gifts in early July.
In July, my mother's father had come to New Jersey for a visit and she wanted me to see him. I never cared for him because to me he was just some man I hardly knew. I knew one thing and that was I did not like him because he left his family seven or eight months before my mother was born. He didn't even know she existed. Around 1980, my mother decided to look for him and found him after only two weeks of investigating. Before that we had always thought he was dead after he disappeared never coming home from work, but when I found out he was alive I lost respect for him because he was remarried with a family and had no idea that my mother's mother died when mom was but seven years old, leaving her an orphan. He got remarried thinking his first wife was still alive. I have been told by my mother that if I knew why he did what he did I would understand and forgive him, but I do not believe her because if that were true she would have told me the story. I had a party at my house for him anyway, which had my sister visiting me for the first time in over three years.
My grandmother, parents, sister, her ex-boyfriend, Leif, Mary, my mother's father, and his wife were all there when the phone call came. It was Ted. He was pleased to inform me that Spencer Gifts loved the mural and wanted to order 50,000 units to put in their more than 500 stores. I stood to make $5 on each one. That would have made me a net profit of $250,000. I was very excited, as I knew I would be out of the casino by the end of that year. We all celebrated to my success.
But my life was soon to take a turn for the worst. I was having some doubts about Mary. She didn't like my friends in Carbondale and would never go there with me when I went to visit relatives. A close family was important in my family and if she was unwilling to fit in I might have to let her go. I wanted to ease up on the relationship, so I asked her over to discuss it. When she showed up she had to tell me her news first. In August, after I had returned from my five-year high school class reunion, I learned Mary was pregnant.
I had always told Mary if she wanted me to hate her all she had to do was get pregnant. The children I knew as a youngster tormented me and I hated kids because of that. I never wanted to be a father. I realized that I had found the perfect woman in Mary after she got upset one evening telling me she could never get pregnant and have my baby. That made me more interested in her. She said she never took the pill and had been having sex on a steady basis since she was fourteen. Nothing could happen. Still, I warned her.
When she told me the news she did not seem too upset. She knew I did not want the financial or emotional responsibility of being a father. Not only that, but I was flat broke and over $24,000 in debt because of the business. She told me that I could walk away and she would take on the responsibility all by herself. She said she would never ask me for any support and that all she wanted was the baby.
I told Mary that I had to think about it and get back to her. She went home and I did some serious soul searching. I still loved her but did not fully trust her motives. I had the feeling that if I walked away she would sue me the moment NightSky Enterprises started making money. I figured that if I was going to pay for the child I might as well enjoy it.
The next morning I thought about how great it would be to be a father. To have the mind of a young child I could mold into one of the coolest people on the planet would be very rewarding. I thought about how my father never taught me about what reality really was and how it hurt me when I found out on my own. But now my child could have that head start I never received. I could teach it everything I knew about God and love for each other on the planet. The child's eyes would never have to be closed to reality and would be able to enter college knowing who it was and what it wanted to commit its life to.
When I arrived at the casino that morning I parked my motorcycle across the street between two cars as I did each morning. I got to the pit early so I could take the relief spot on the crew and get the first break, which would last almost half an hour. At Bally's Park Place the spot we were to start on was already assigned to us before work. At the Trop it was every man for himself.
As soon as all the dealers showed up I ran downstairs, got on my motorcycle, and rushed up Pacific Avenue to Fisher Florists, by Bally's and the Sand's casinos. I ordered a dozen roses to be delivered to her and stuck a message in the card that told her I was with her all the way. Then I got back on the bike, headed back to the Tropicana, and made it to the game by twenty after ten.
When the flowers arrived at Mary's place, Patty took a picture of her with them. I saw the photo, but it confused me. Was that a smile of joy or relief? Was she happy that I loved her or was she happy that she found someone to take care of her for the rest of her life?
September 29 was to be Mary's 22nd birthday. I had to get that ring out by then. I made plans for the two of us and borrowed some money from Leif. We spent her birthday alone, at a motel room with a Jacuzzi, as we did every year after that. That night, I asked her to marry me.
Mary bringing up my child in an apartment with Patty, who was quite friendly with the men, and Tommy, a homosexual, did not seem to appealing to me. We had planned from before the pregnancy to move in together in January of 1989, after her two-year lease ran out. I told her if she could get out of her lease she could move in with Leif and me. She was for that, but she wanted Leif out.
I didn't know what to say to Leif. We lived together for four years, three of them being in that house. I was also worried about Mary being able to take up his half of the rent.
Mary and I sat down and looked over our finances. I came up with a plan which could let her pay that half of the rent and all her bills while saving up money for the months she would be off after the birth of the baby. We agreed to it and in October Leif moved out and Mary moved in.
Not two weeks after Mary moved in she quit her job at Caesar's. I couldn't understand why. They let her and one other pregnant woman stand and spin the big six wheel for $500 a week. She complained that it was too much for her to stand on her feet for an hour at a time with smoke in the room. I thought she was crazy. I had seen titty girls run around the floor carrying trays weighed down with drinks well into their seventh month. She didn't care about them. She called in for a week straight and then never showed up again.
The deal with Spencer Gifts fell through. It had something to do with me not being able to come up with the half million dollars needed to get the production started. It did not matter to me all that much because the design sucked. Everyone involved was taking me for a ride at my expense. I had a baby due in April and needed everything to be ready and done right by then. It was time to take charge. I called an emergency meeting of everyone involved and laid down the law.
Mary, although my strength, just sat in a chair chewing gum while I gave orders. We knew everything about the production, but I hated the design Richard Walter had his artist come up with. I was starting to sense a conspiracy between everyone to defraud me. I thought the casino might have even had something to do with it. The first thing I did was show the artist what I wanted and personally followed it every step of the way. Then we lined up everything else which was going to be needed from changing the brochures, to making the screen films, to ordering the papers and setting up press times and the procedures everyone would follow. Then I told Walter to get working on an advertisement for Astronomy Magazine. I had reserved a spot in the February issue, which was to come out the first week of January, but needed the mechanicals by the middle of November (at the latest) and that was only two weeks away. I was happy with the progress of the day and had Mary and the baby to thank. But I will never forget Mary just sitting in that chair and chewing that gum. It was as if she did not care what was going on. I felt alone.