WHO WAS THE REAL TOM?
Tom O'Rourke as Justin Marler on
the Guiding Light
"January 1, 1977: And so another year begins. We have had a great start. New Year's Eve was wonderful. Marcy and I rented a 1977 Buick Electra from Avis to drive out to M. and R's new home, or should I say old Ribbon factory, in Piermont N. Y. Then, as we were driving along the Palisades Parkway we stopped off at one of the lookouts. We - Marcy and I, danced the New Year in with a polka and a two step and kissed and toasted with champagne.... We left M and R around 1am and drove till we found another overlook, parked and sat in that new car looking at the ice on the river, the snow covered cliff, the stars and the lights of the city and drank a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne. It was fantastic and romantic and unforgettable."
This was the Tom I thought I was married to for thirty-five years. Yet, I now know from my research that he was already making advances to one of the producer babes on the show, promising to leave me, before we'd even gotten married. Dancing, toasting the New Year and ready to get back to work and to making time with someone else.
Our wedding was April 4, 1977. Only a few months after the wedding, my best friend and the best woman at my wedding, called me and said that Tom had taken her out to lunch and come on to her. She was a very flirtatious, almost forty-year old woman who'd never been married. I didn't believe her. Tom told me she had called him, but they'd just had lunch, according to him. Forty years later it turns out she was telling the truth This was an incident which I only recently remembered.
I never saw her again. I thought she had gotten carried away because Tom was on TV. I tried to smooth things over with her, but she insisted his behavior had been improper. I just didn't believe it. In fact, I still have trouble believing it. But there were so many incidents that now I know it was true.
Another memory has come back to me. Because he couldn't get out of it, he took me to the wrap party for WORKING GIRL, the nighttime TV sitcom he co-starred in along with Sandra Bullock. One of the directors, who I knew Tom didn't like, made a point of coming over to say hello. He seemed to be saying nice things, then he added, "Tom, we always had such trouble finding you to shoot your scenes." This was such an obvious dig that I asked Tom what he meant, wondering why Tom, who was always such a professional, would be hard to find. Seeming embarrassed, Tom said he spent a lot of time in the bathroom with constipation. I accepted that. The only time I ever met that director was at the party, so I didn't realize he was dropping a hint to me that my husband was fooling around on the set with women. He was trying to out Tom's cheating and mess up his marriage. He really didn't like Tom. I wish I had gotten the hint. But, he seemed so happy in our private life, I never suspected a thing. Who was Tom?
A birthday party for me and friend with the same
birthday. Happy? I thought so.
So many unflattering phrases come to mind for what Tom was doing. And he knew them all, too. How did he justify his behavior to himself? What was going through his mind as he lusted after and got fresh with any woman who'd let him? Why did he need to do that? In Bedeviled I reveal the answers to some of these questions. Tom has showed me things in dreams that helped me to understand a little of what was going on in his mind. It wasn't pretty. What our minds can do to us can be sordid, ugly and tragic.
There was something very wrong with Tom. I wish he'd tried to understand himself better and figure out why he did things that he knew were wrong, very wrong, and self destructive.
I feel rather like Rick in CASABLANCA. Here's what he said to Ilsa when he meets her again on the arm of another man after she stood him up at the train station in Paris.
I didn't count the days
I did, every one of them. Mostly I remember the last one. A wow finish. A guy standing on a station platform in the rain with a comical look on his face because his insides had been kicked out.
Tell me who was it you left me for? Was it Laszlo, or were there others in between? Or aren't you the kind that tells.
Well, my love story had a wow finish. Nothing noble like CASABLANCA, just a mental problem that took over Tom's life and ultimately sent him to his grave.
This is the strangest afterlife story you will ever read. A man with a divided soul, one in hell and one in heaven, came back to confess the truth and expose how the devil ruined his life. A must read for anyone struggling to reconcile sin and mental illness.