From that moment, Sue began a behind-the-back campaign to undermine
Nicole's authority on the paper, and destroy friendships Nicole had made
with other people on and off the newspaper. Sue would spread lies about
Nicole, constantly demanding people not repeat what she told them,
knowing they would, swearing everyone to utter secrecy, when secrecy was
impossible. But Sue's primary target was Glenn, and Sue bent all her
powers of persuasion to destroying that shaky relationship.
Strangely enough, Sue failed at her primary mission -- partly because
her wiles have little effect on truly mature men like Glenn, and partly
because Nicole transferred out of William Paterson College to Rutgers,
well beyond Sue's reach.
Joel in his attempt to learn more about Sue's college life, scoured the
internet seeking people from the Beacon crowd and managed to interview
Linda Bloom, Nicole Bush, Bill Madaras, Ron Goldberg, Larry Henchy, Glen
Kenny as well as several professors, including Fort Manno, Richard
Attanally and Stanley Wertheim. Indeed, when Joel heard that, Philip
Ciofari, a creative writing teacher from Sue's era at school, was
reading at the Barnes & Noble in Edgewater, Joel scurried up there to
dig for dirt.
Many of those Joel contacted expressed embarrassment over what they did
and said at school. Some feared their habits back then would cause
damage to their careers if revealed to their employer. Nicole, who
writes advertising copy for a pharmaceutical firm, didn't want her past
revealed. Even then, she was fuzzy about those years of her life. She'd
spent too many weekends smoking pot to relax. She hasn't been involved
in the scene for years, and remembers having to rescue her husband from
the dancing pit at a punk concert.
Joel pressed many of these people to tell him things Sue had told them
in secret, trying to unravel the reason behind some of her actions, then
and now. At first, some were reluctant. Sue had sworn several to
secrecy, and even after nearly twenty years, they were reluctant to
divulge what Sue had said. But one factor seemed to come to light. Sue,
it appears, had been raped when she was three, by -- apparently -- one
of her mother's boyfriends.
"She displays the behavior of someone who has been abused. I can't say
she was without better information. But her tendency to use men like
Kleenex fits the pattern," Joel said.
Joel's investigations had uncovered some other details of Sue's life and
her continually consistent behavior. Sue has been attending NYU seeking
her masters in English. Glen, a friend and colleague from William
Paterson, actually helped her with her paper on Marquis De Sade, a
notorious historical pervert and sadist. This fits in with the pattern
of Sue's life, echoed by the uncovering a 1984 Halloween photo in which
she came to a party dressed up as a prostitute.
"It is clear from what I've found out, Sue is someone who wanted to push
the edge, was fascinated by it, in a very voyeuristic way. She may have
been suffering from a Histonic Personality Disorder, which is a disease
that makes people need attention,. The DSM, the Diagnostic Statistic
Manual claims almost every actor and actress in Hollywood suffers from
Of course, Joel, like many current and former social workers, suffers
from trying to ascribe psychological theories to people he meets. He
would later claim Sue fit the classic bi-polar disease pattern when it
fit wmeets. He would later claim Sue fit the classic bi-polar disease
pattern when it fit with his theory on her being dead. Unfortunately,
Joel had just enough knowledge in these areas to over prescribe, often
reading things into my motivations, as well as Sue's, and he clearly did
not know Sue addiction to self-help medical books, or how she was a kind
of hypercontriact of psychological disorders. If she read about it, she
displayed the symptoms -- and indeed, seemed to have several psych
Joel did contact a psychiatrist, a former colleague from his days as
social worker in Brooklyn, who claimed Sue fit the pattern of an abused
child, acting out situations, creating scenes, seducing older men, all
in a vain attempt to regain control of her life.
"I get a sense that she was addicted to the life and got a thrill out of
performing," Joel said. "From what people have told me so far, this
seems to be a theme with her, seeking power over men."
Sue, Joel said, came to William Paterson College at a time of open
enrollment, when the lighter standards allowed her time to pursue these
social games. In many respects, when she was there, school was already
attempting to change, getting rid of the people did not take their
education seriously. In 1978, William Paterson College suspended or
ejected hundreds of students whose grade point average didn't come up to
the minimum acceptable standard.
"This may be in anticipation of the changes that occurred in 1984," Joel
sail, whose recent trip seeking background on Sue took him back to the
campus. "What struck me at William Paterson was the change in the kids.
The wave we saw when we were there doesn't exist now. You won't find the
same kind of nutty kids we used to see."
When Joel sought out the Beacon office, he met Yonnie Rosenbaum, the new
editor of the Beacon, someone who has studied the past twenty years of
the newspaper in order to get an idea of what kind history the paper
had. Joel only looked as far back as 1979. Then and now, the biggest
issue seems to be apathy among the student population. Joel seemed to
confirm Sue's interest in editorship.
"When I went back to look at her work," he said during his resent visit
to the campus. "I was shocked to see how little she wrote about the
arts. Most of what she did was news. When I talked to Nicole, she
explained to me that very few people every came out of the arts to
become editor and chief."
Sue's manipulation seemed to work, She rose in power on the paper,
exchanging title as she climbed towards editorship, a climb cut short by
her graduation. At which point, she took a head long dive into a darker
and more dangerous real world.
Since my few contributions to the school newspaper fell under the
category of the arts, Sue seemed to disregard me as a useful commodity.
Joel was not been able to acquire any of Sue's stories that were
published in the literary magazine. Some of the problem may be that Sue
sometimes published under the initials S.M.
But the biggest problem, Joel said, was getting people to remember.
"Most people don't have the memories we have," he said. "After 18 years,
people aren't going to remember the details."
He said he called first, as to jog these memories so that four or five
days later, they might remember something that can help him in his
When Joel finally reached him Bill Madaras reluctantly confirmed some of
the Pattern's Sue established while at college. Sue had sworn Bill to
secrecy, the way she had many others, telling him she needed him to know
certain things and then told him stories that Joel said he had already
heard from many of the other people he interviewed -- though Bill did
say Sue once told him she had been sexually abused at age three.
Madaras now works as the press person for a software company and lives
in the Mahwah area of New Jersey. He married another WPC graduate and
lives near where he grew up. His father passed away over the last
decade, but his mother lives near him, a protective women who one
student from WPC called "clinging."
Madaras at college, dated Linda Bloom until she decided to be a lesbian.
Apparently upset and drunk, Madaras stood up in the middle of the pub
and announced the face. Within hours Sue moved in and began what some
have called a turbulent relationship.
But Sue, according to Madaras, was not to blame. He called her "noble
and brave," and stuck by this tale even to the point of breaking off
friendships with people who disagreed.
Joel, when interviewing the man, was struck by the loyalty the man still
"He said he wasn't sure he would talk about these stories," Joel said.
Yet Joel managed to pry them out of Madaras anyway, if only to learn the
secrets were no secrets a all. Madaras' relationship with Sue ended with
equally bad feelings. Sue apparently would tell him tales of stalkers
(saying he should say nothing to anyone) and he -- so enraged that
anyone would think to hurt his precious Sue -- would march up to that
person and tell him to leave Sue alone. Madaras was often greeted with a
At school, Madaras seemed to hate Nicole and Glenn -- though by this
time, had already graduated WPC, coming back for possible graduate work.
Sue used him continually to write her papers, and fight her battles, all
the time, she talked behind his back, badmouthing him with others,
telling other men how much she wanted to be rid of him. Although a
debatable point, Madaras once came near to belting Nicole over Sue, and
shoved her away. Madaras later claimed Nicole had hit him.
She did not, however, resemble the "noble and courageous" soul Bill
Madaras claimed she was, nor the helpless bird she painted herself as in
her fiction, but a weary wanderer who at age 19 or 20, life had already
ceased to make sense, just webs attached to webs and circles within
circles. And perhaps in those moments alone, Sue actually did try to
find the truth inside herself, confused by the innumerable lies she'd
invented and stories she had told, unable to remember which stand led to
the center of her web, and which alternative history was actually hers.
One other memory, however, seemed to stand out for most of those people
"For reasons that no one seems to know or recall, Walsh went into a
crying jag [in a Student Center stairwell] that was so intense as to
frighten her friends," Joel wrote in his unpublished manuscript. "no one
could calm her down and she retreated whenever someone came near to her
At the time, I did not ascribe great significance to the freak out. We
all did crazy things. Even after I started searching for Sue in July,
1996, the moment lacked weight in my memory, until jogged to the surface
by subsequent research and the claims of people like Rob Hardin -- who
claimed Sue the victim of bi-polar disease, an untreated condition he
thinks led to Sue's death.
While I still disagree with his conclusion (I believe Sue is not only
still alive, but very conscious of the search for her, taking it in as
another form of entertainment), I do now belieas another form of
entertainment), I do now believe that the circumstances leading to her
disappearance, may have resulted in the last of at least three
psychological freak outs, the
In my journal -- written years after the incident -- I recalled people
telling me about Sue's freakout. But after thinking about the affair, I
recall now that I was actually in the building when Sue fled to stairway
and refused to come back into the halls or the newspaper office.
In fact, her position on the stairs was a regular hangout of mine, one
of the few places a person could find privacy, and warmth on a winter
day. And with the stairways surrounded by glass, the view of the campus
was remarkable. Sometimes I would spend hours there with my books and
notebooks, yet would get little done for staring out at the people
I remember seeking out that same refuge and running into a crowd of
people from below, people who muttered and struggled to look up the
stairway over the heads of people closer to the scene.
"What's going on?" I asked, annoyed at the crowd, the way I was
sometimes annoyed when I found some coral group occupying the stairway
ahead of me, coming here because of the natural echo.
"Some girl is freaking out up there," one of the students said.
I did not know at the time that the girl was Sue. That news reached me
later, via reports from others, who claimed Sue had camped out in the
stairway, refusing to talk to anyone, screaming and crying as people
rushed from offices throughout the building.
Dave Bruce heard it, and ran to find out what the problem was. Stephanie
ran there. So did Bill Madaras.
"She wouldn't let anyone into the stairway with her," someone told me
later on. "I just couldn't believe she was doing this."
As managing editor, Sue had a lot of pressure on her back, especially
with the loan negotiations going on. The school newspaper was a private
entity then, funded differently from the rest of the clubs such as the
literary magazine. Instead of a direct subsidy, the newspaper took out a
loan, then paid it back through advertising revenues -- more or less
guaranteeing the school a free press. If it didn't have to worry about
support from the SGA or the college administration, the paper could feel
free to write what it wanted, honestly.
But SGA and the college administration had begun to have second
thoughts, disliking the idea of a free press, disagreeing with the
liberal editorials that routinely blasted both. While I didn't know the
details, I gathered they wanted some kind of censoring power, and the
power to hire and fire the newspaper's editors.
How much Sue had to do with these negotiations I didn't know, nor did I
know if they had anything to do with this sudden public spectacle. I
later learned from others that she cried long and hard and wouldn't let
more than one person come down to talk to her, as she huddled in the
corner of the stair, her arms wrapped around her head.
I talked to Joan Tanner, Eric Kessler, Dave Drowin, all confirming the
freak out, without any knowing why Sue suddenly had a fit. Bill Madaras
finally went down to talk to her and eventually, with his arm around her
shoulders, led her back up the stairs, telling her, everything would be
"She did finally calm down," wrote Joel later, "and concerned friends
were startled when she continued about her business as if nothing had
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