Nancy and Maria – the Loves of My Life

by on January 26, 2021 · 5 comments

in From the Soul

by Ernie McCray

Often, these days, when the world seems grim, I think of how lucky I’ve been to have had two great loves in my life: Nancy Kay, a hippie White girl from Pacific Palisades, down the street from Malibu, and Maria Ester, a Chicana from San Antonio, home of the Alamo.

I remember my first image of Nancy, down on the floor of her classroom, water coloring with students whose love for her radiated in their smiles and comfortable postures, as they asked her, “Miz R,” questions like when are we going to the beach again?” or to Balboa or Chicano Park? “What are you going to teach us how to cook next time?” In that room there was so much rhythm and rhyme.

Some part of me, in those moments, fell in love with her too and we eventually got together and loved each other for thirty-four wonderful years and then she passed away and in time Maria came my way, a woman much like Nancy in so many ways.

And I fell in love with Maria in much the same way as I did with Nancy, standing to the side, watching a woman love and be loved in a gathering of students, counselors she had trained to serve multi-cultural communities – and they were all over her, hugging her, kissing her on her cheek, asking her to dance, jockeying for chances to sit next to her or talk to her, going on and on about their families and their occupations and their plans for the future, smiling at Maria’s “Well, that’s wonderful, kiddo!” As a scene of mutual love, there could be no better.

Whoa! I was sold! The love for her in that room, like the love Nancy got in her classroom, made me want in.

Damn, what great women, not to mention good looking and sexy which has always worked for me.

The laughs we’ve had. Like Nancy and I falling down laughing at Richard Pryor recalling the days when he nearly died, talking about how “When you’re running down the street on fire, people will get out of your way!” We loved that brilliant tormented dude.

Maria and I were in stitches not too long ago looking at Rudy Giuliani on TV speaking at a press conference in front of the “Four Seasons Total Landscaping Company”” which he thought was going to be the “Four Seasons Hotel” – next to a porn shop.

I think of all I’ve done with them, sleeping in the woods, hiking, driving Highway 1 for its sheer beauty, walking the streets of Madrid and Paris, wide-eyed at the ancient loveliness of the surroundings…

How many plays have we seen?

And to have a life with someone who pursues social justice as you do is an activist’s dream, especially when they’re kickass as I recall Nancy yelling “You’re a disgusting racist asshole!” at Rhodesian Prime Minister, Ian Smith, more than a few years ago – and Maria referring to Donald J as a “pendejo” at the mic at a women’s march and rally in San Diego.

I’ve admired the fire in their souls.

So many similarities between the two.

Nancy swam a mile in a pool or in the ocean or in the bay just about every day and Maria walks over five miles a day.

No mothers could be more loving than they are or anyone more loyal and devoted to their friends.

Nor could there be better cooks or more voracious readers of books or lovers of good music and British TV.

Having Maria love me as powerfully and as unconditionally as Nancy did, makes me about as lucky as a man could be.

They’re the winds beneath my wings in my reality. And I’ve loved them equally as passionately as they’re loved me.

They’re the loves of my life.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorena Slomanson January 26, 2021 at 11:14 pm

NOT A DRY EYE IN THE ROOM! I feel like I’ve come to be a fan of Nancy’s through the way you talk about Maria, I’d that even makes sense. You are a lucky human to have had these two loves! You deserve it. The way you inspire each other is my fave!


Irina January 29, 2021 at 1:07 pm

My heart is a flutter with happiness for you. I was there for that beautiful ‘pendejo’ comment.
What a wonder life can be when you share it with someone you love. ??


Lauren January 31, 2021 at 7:57 pm


It’s wonderful to know you have such tremendous love in your life. A good person such as you is well-deserving.


Suzi February 1, 2021 at 10:39 am

Ernie! You’re amazing! This one brought tears!
Be well!


Thomas Gayton February 3, 2021 at 1:38 pm



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