When Carson left, Alfred reasserted himself in Vicki's life. She set two conditions: no more hookers and no more group sex. Alfred agreed and set her up in a house near Stone Canyon Reservoir, where she lived for most of a year with her son, Todd.
But in 1978 she managed to squeeze in a third marriage, to Robert Shulman, a wealthy real estate developer.
They were old friends and lovers from Cornfield's Grayhall. They bumped into one another at Christmastime and impetuously decided to fly to Las Vegas and get married that same night.
But Shulman learned that a healthy relationship with Vicki was impossible with the specter of Alfred Bloomingdale looming.
Bloomingdale offered to buy Shulman out of the marriage for $1 million. Aghast, Shulman walked away, and Bloomingdale won Vicki back by default.
In the language of self-help, Alfred and Vicki seemed to be codependency prototypes. He reinserted himself into her life each time she seemed prepared to break away. And she was always willing to open the door to him, the consummate enabler.
The hold she had on him was made obvious by the one love note Alfred wrote to Vicki, during the Shulman drama. A very needy Bloomingdale implored her to join him for a getaway tryst in San Diego:
I planned and fought for this trip for weeks against all odds... It was so we could be together and straighten out a few things. This trip is the most important thing in my life at this time. I only live for you... I'm old and I need you. I will come by tomorrow at 10:00... Don't disappoint me. I love you and it's our only chance to be together for any length of time. Last week I only saw you about 1 hour all told. It's always a rush. It's my fault but please forgive me. And forgive me for yesterday. I'll explain more in La Costa. Please, please love me and go with me.
I love you,
PS: This is the 1st letter I've written in 25 years.