First there is tea and toast in the morning, and then the housework. She vacuums three times a day. There are trips to the laundromat and chats with the neighbors, and by 3 o'clock, it's time to start dinner, usually pork these days, you can't go wrong at $1.90 a pound.
The afternoon is brightened by the soaps, she had to have her soaps, she says, "All My Children," "Days of Our Lives." The days of Linda Marchino's life are all of a piece now, and there are artifacts everywhere to testify to the way things have changed for her -- there, near the couch, is the coupon collection, saved for the discounts, and there on a crowded shelf the brightly painted Raggedy Ann, madeout of dough, the way they learned in homemakers' class, and there, too the cake recipe that calls for Jello and Cool Whip, the brand names invoked familiarly, conferring their own legitimacy.
"This is me. Happy in my home. You know, I drive my friends crazy, the way I'm always cleaning, always cooking and baking. I'm in seventh heaven here. If I can get back to gourmet cooking, that would be even better," but not now, she says, it's too expensive.
This is Linda Marchiano talking, Linda nee B oreman, once Lovelace. As in Linda Lovelace. As in "Deep Throat."
She wears dark blue slacks and very sensible shoes, a turtleneck and a pink pinafore embroidered with the word Mommy. The baby beneath it, her second, is due in the spring. she and her husband Larry live on welfare now, and have for the last three years.
Her freckles are obscured by silver rimmed glasses and her hair is long and straight now, the frizziness is yet another part of the past. Her mouth is set in a thin straight line that begins at prim and ends at proper.
She is 31 now, wary, plain, nervous. Laughter startles, irony eludes her. She doesn't see the sleight-of-hand, the tricks that can turn a suburban cliche into a much cherished fantasy. There is only the adamant denial of the way things semmed to be.
"I wouldn't want to meet Linda Lovelace," she says. "I wouldn't want to have anything to do with her. That's not the way I am at all. That wasn't me."
She says it, calmly with quite self-assurance, as if that should be the end of it. It isn't, of course, not after the splash the movie made and the storm that followed in its path.
"Deep Throat," after all, became its own kind of cultural landmark when it was released in 1972. There it was in color, showing at respectable theaters on a big screen, with a semblance of a plot and a sense of humor.
Suddenly it was porno chic, taking dirty movies out of their dark demimonde and flashing them before the trendy middle class. It was a time when, for those who were putting sexual self-help manuals on the best-sellers lists, traditional attitudes seemed to be going the way of hula hoops and it was not a case of what was right or what was wrong, but what was hot and what was not.
And there in the spotlight was the star of it all, Linda Lovelace, on whom celebrity was conferred only partly because of her astounding physical prowess. There was that, of course, but there was also her unabashed smile, the twinkly good time she seemed to be having. This was no pan-fried porno queen, with a hide as hard as the look in her eyes, but a mere slip of girl, with freckles on her face. And, she says now, bruises on her legs.
She has written a book now that says she was forced to do the things she did, that the man who managed, and married her had forced her to perform in "Deep Throat" and the other pornographic movies that preceded it.
The book is filled with explicit details, explicit sex, famous names. The book is called "Ordeal" and that, says Linda Marchiano, is what it was.
Her ex-husband and former manager, Charles Traynor, however, denies all of Linda Marchiano's allegations. Traynor is living in London, now, managing the career of Marilyn Chambers, the star of "Behind the Green." He says the charges are "so ridiculous I can't take them seriously." In fact, Traynor says "you'd think she would at least be grateful for a few moments of glory, even if they didn't last."
"I expect people not to believe me," she says in the flat, mashed monotone of the Bronx, where she was born: "Catholic girl, policeman's daughter, living in a house where the pin money came from Tupperware parties. "I mean the easiest thing for people to do in society is to say, "I don't believe it.' That's the world's greatest cop-out."
She rolls down a white support stocking to reveal the black bruises on her leg, the result she says of beating she received back then. At night, her husband Larry massages her leg to bring the swelling down. Eventually, she says, the broken veins will have to be removed.
Harry Reems, her co-star, says he never noticed any brusies while they were filming "Deep Throat." There was, he says, "no indication to me that she was physically abused or even mentally abused." An no one seemed to notice them when "Deep Throat" was released and men brought their dates to see it on Saturday nights. The movie disappeared soon enough from the public consciousness, and its title came to mean more to Watergate than it did to erotica. Linda Lovelace seemed to disappear as well, into whatever oblivion is reserved for cultural exclamation points.
Now she's back to insist that the heart of darkness was dark indeed, and the comments on morality delivered by Linda Marchiano would sound somewhat incongruous to the fans of Linda Lovelace.
She is living on Long Island now, in a mustard-colored house fashioned out of old Army Barracks. There are three dark rooms filled with second-hand furniture and the toys of their 3-year-old son Dominic, who wanders into the kitchen were she is serving pie and coffee. "Let's go to food stamps," he says.
"Mommy's already got her food stamps," she says.
When she was 3, her family moved to Yonkers, and she grew up there. She went to St. John the Baptist and she remembers the uniform, navy blue pleaded skirt, white blouse, a jacket, and saddle oxfords, which she would change the minute she got across the street. She went to a Catholic high school as well, until her father retired and her parents moved to Florida.
After high school, there were dreams of some day owning a small boutique, but a car accident in New York wiped out the newly hatched sense of independence. She came back to her parents' home in Florida to recuperate -- back to 11 p.m. curfews and all the other reminders that childhood hadn't ended.
And so, when Chuck Traynor pulled up in his burgundy Jaguar with the black leather interior and his tales of his skin-diving, flying and sky-diving adventures, she was, she says in her book, impressed, and when he offered her his place as a refuge from her parents, she was grateful.
Nearly three years later, she left him and is asked if she thinks it will be hard for people to understand why it took so long for her to get away from a man whom she says forced her into seemingly endless degradations.
"I think Patty Hearst might be able to answer that," she says. "A weak person will fall apart and let themselves be killed. I was too strong for that. I found the strength to survive. One day at a time."
It was her notoreity, she says, that made it possible for her to leave Traynor, her fame making it harder for him to keep a constant watch on her. The escape from Linda Lovelace, however, apparently took more time. After leaving Traynor, she visisted the various rookeries of the glitterati, popping up everywhere from Vegas to Ascot, smiling her sunbeam smile and wearing clothes so transparent they exposed her to everything but sunburn.
"It wasn't right what was happening," she says of the lease she held on her old persona. "I didn't go for that walking around without a bra on." But, at least it was an identity she was familir with and she needed time to make the transition.
She wrote, or at least affixed her name to a book, "The Intimate Diary of Linda Lovelace," which, like its predeccesor, "Inside Linda Lovelace," contained more trash than truth. She made two more movies -- "Deep Throat II" and "Linda Lovelace for President." At least, she says, they contained no explicit sex, even if there was nudity.
Which, of course, had something to do with the fact that they were her last two movies.
After that, she "kept trying to get into legitimate situations. But every aisle we went down, it turned into an x-rated movie. It would start as a PG movie and then it would go straight downhill. I always thought I could make a real movie if they gave me a chance. I was going to be the next Susan Hayward." She looks up with a tentative smile -- she knows what reaction to expect.
By then, she was with the man she would later marry. Larry Marchiano. She met him in Florida, where he was taking time out between jobs as a cable TV lineman, staying with one of her sisters. He tried to help her sort out her tangled finances and went with her to Las Vegas, where she was to star in a play called "My Daughter's Rated X."
"It was a legitimate play," she says. "I had on more clothes than probably anybody has seen on one person in Las Vegas. But that flopped because the public was offended that I wasn't naked. One guy tried to attack me, he was angry because he said I was cheating my fans." She sounds somewhat astonished.
"We were two kids trying to make a buck," says Larry Marchiano. "We were simply trying to turn a dollar in an honest way. Maybe the title was misleading and the actress' name was misleading but. . . ." Larry Marchiano throws up his hands and sighs. "Anyway, it opened and closed in a week."
Linda Marchiano's husband has gravel in his voice, and gray in his beard, his features weathered with the lines of a life outdoors. "I'm just a laborer, he says. " lose track of what's beyond my grip. It's gone from Rudolph Valentino to snuff movies -- what's next?"
Marchiano gets mad when he talks about all the things that he says have happened to his wife. "A middle-class person goes for a lawsuit, he says. "A lower-class person goes for something else. I can just hear it now, if I'm for real how come I ain't doin' nothing'? Tough guys don't talk, they do things. It makes no sense to me." But then he sighs and says, "The first thing you do is stand by your wife and let her know you love her."
After the play folded, after they tried to pawn her jewelry and discovered, according to Linda Marchiano, that the stones were fakes, they came to Long Island, Larry's boyhood home, in a battered yellow VW.
"I don't know what would have happened if we'd stayed out there," says Larry Marchiano. "I'm not talking about our love cracking through society's pliers, I just don't know and I don't want to speculate on negative thoughts."
Back on Long Island, Larry tried for a while to return to his old job as a lineman, but that meant being away from Linda all week and he gave it up. He tried construction jobs nearby -- "but I had my problems with the situation.It took a lot for me to turn and walk away" from the knowing smiles and hooded glances, the request for copies of particular movies, not just the big one, but all the sordid little ones she had made before that.
In August, Larry found a construction job where he could work without the cries and whispers. Recently, he quit to be home with his wife at her request -- both of them say they are worried about possible reprisals from some of the people she once worked with and had now written about.
Still, the old life echoes in the new. She is afraid of the dark; there are days when she does nothing but sit and cry. "Linda Lovelace for President, is playing at a nearby theater, and they were called down to the welfare office when a new movie was released featuring film that was shot for "Deep Throat." Linda Lovelace impersonators abound -- there was one working a club in Connecticut just a short while ago.
Now says Larry Marchiano, "we stay 100 percent to ourselves." They play chess in the evening and backgammon. They watch television which can bring its own surprises.
One day Linda Marchiano was watching "The Phil Donahue Show" and there was Susan Brownmiller, author of "Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape," talking about Linda Lovelace. "She was talking about how I took advantage of becoming a celebrity by doing an X-rated movie and became a superstar. It was frustrating," she says, "because I wanted to get on the phone and call right away and say, 'wait a minute, it's not that way.' And then I realized it was a taped show."
"Maybe now," says her husband, "Mrs. whats-her-name will have a different opinion of Linda."
That of course, is one of the reasons for writing the book, the consolation of True Confession. She wants vindication as well, although the form it should take still seems a little vague. "I really have the firm belief that somebody's going to pick up the ball on this, I really do," she says. "I just keep my fingers crossed for that."
It seems a naive little wish, but in its way it patches a hole in the sleeve of a dream she's been weaving since she was 11. "I wanted the little house with the white picket fence and the husband and the home and the children," says the former Linda Lovelace. "It's taken a little time, but I'm there."