A different kind of love affair
Sue Fone received the confusing postcard in the mail one afternoon in July 1998.
All her dear friend said was for her not to write anymore. He may get a different address. But the two had been writing back and forth to each other for 10 years, at some points sending a letter once a week from Michigan to California and vice versa.
Fone didn’t understand. But she had a bad feeling in her heart.
“I told myself I’d call him every hour until I got him, and I never did,” she said.
Then, her friend’s sister called and told her Alfred Clay Moore had taken his own life. Fone felt overwhelmed by a grief that would last years. She was so angry, and hurt. Her husband suggested she sit down and write through her pain.
Fone pulled out a big box of letters sent by Moore over the years, placed them in chronological order and read through them. What resulted is her self-published book, “ACM, My Other Man: In Love with Two Men at the Same Time,” which was published in July.
Fone, now 68 and a resident of Roseville, hopes her book will encourage readers to think differently about people society perceives as “weird.” Instead of staying away from those who don’t fit conventional molds, we should get to know them.
Fone’s daughter Melissa Gratiot met Moore as a 6-year-old, when he began joining the family for homemade dinners.
“Everyone should know someone like him,” Gratiot said. “I really, really believe that. My mom and I walk a different path, and we’ve always respected people for who they are.”
‘Twinkle in his eyes’
In 1972, Fone was living in a small suburb of Detroit with her family when she decided to return to school and pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. She got a job working the midnight shift at a local hospital. One night, an elevator door opened and out walked a “strange-looking character.” She learned he was nicknamed “Weird Al.”
“Nobody said a word to him and he never said a word to nobody,” Fone said.
Colleagues told her to keep her distance, but she would do nothing of the sort. The two struck up a friendship, and she delighted in his southern drawl — he was from West Virginia — and his eccentricities. He quit school in seventh grade, joined the service and now worked as a nurse assistant in the emergency room. He was book-learned dumb but the smartest man Fone knew.
Soon, Fone transferred to the emergency room, where she and Moore worked side by side, and their friendship deepened. They played pranks and jokes on each other.
“He always had this twinkle in his eyes; (there was) always something going on,” she said.
Moore would also joke with her four young daughters. Gratiot said he taught her to always give someone a chance.
“Everyone has their story and that’s the bottom line and who are you to judge?” Gratiot said.
Not a romantic love
Fone and her family eventually moved to California, but they kept their friendship alive through letters, phone calls and periodic visits — and Fone could tell Moore was “fading,” from years of bad aches and pains sustained from an accident in his youth.
After his death, Fone struggled to reconcile her grief, finding healing in writing her book. She said she can’t explain the love she had for Moore — it wasn’t romantic. They were more like soul mates. Moore always referred to himself as her “other man.”
“It was his spirit, it was his soul,” Fone said. “That’s what I was in love with.”