Monday, December 26, 2011

For Sunday Scribblings and Three-Word Wednesday

(Also submitted to Magpie 97 and ABC Wednesday.)
"X" is for "Xanax"

Since New Year’s eve is close upon us, my resolution is to tell the story of how I was once living on a Pacific isle with Marilyn Monroe.
How many bloggers can make that claim? :-)
I never thought of Norma Jeane Baker – which is what her real name was – as sexy.

She had such an incredibly miserable childhood, which later became a miserable adulthood, that I found I could feel only compassion and sympathy for her.
(Yes, she spelled it “Jeane,” with one “n.”)
As a child, she was bounced around from orphanage to various depressing foster homes and back again; her mother, Gladys, was, as the saying goes, mentally unstable. It might seem that she would have been a candidate for the drug Xanax, but it didn't exist at that time. (I had to work an "x" in here somewhere.)
When Norma Jeane was six, living with foster parents, Gladys showed up and insisted on taking her away. Since she was shouting and acting unhinged, the foster parents refused to turn Norma Jeane over to her.
Gladys ran into the house, stuffed the screaming kid into a duffel bag, zipped it up and tried to run away with her. The bag split open and the child fell to the ground.
In her autobiography, Norma Jeane wrote that it was not long after this that her mother, "screaming and laughing," was forcibly removed to the state hospital. All this pretty well demolished anything resembling a chance at a normal life for young Norma Jeane.


Somehow the girl lived through this dismal childhood; here she is getting ready to enter Van Nuys High School.


It was there that she met Jim Dougherty. They were married in ’42.

Quick segue to an entirely different story.
At about this time, soon after Pearl Harbor, young Berowne went down and patriotically enlisted, primarily because he had to. :-)
My boot camp was on Catalina Island, which had been transformed from a vacation paradise off the Southern California coast to a huge wartime training camp.
Turned out, Jim Dougherty had become a section leader there, training the boots, and I was one of the boots. He lived on the base with his wife, a very young Norma Jeane Dougherty.

There you have it: Marilyn Monroe and I were together on a Pacific island. Note her big smile: she’s possibly saying, “Wow! I’m going to be with Berowne on this Pacific isle!”
But then again, maybe not. :-)

She later, after Dougherty left, got into war work back on the mainland, spraying airplane parts with fire retardant. Long story short, a “Yank” magazine photographer took her picture; as a result she ultimately wound up with a 20th-Century Fox film contract at an impressive $125 a week.
Which was a helluva lot more than I was making at the time. :-)

52 comments:

Everyday Goddess said...

My favorite quote of MM is: Every little girl should be told she is pretty. Even if she isn't.

She was a true Goddess.

Fascinating that you knew her at that time in her life!

Helen said...

What a claim to fame. You shared it so well ... she will always be the young, beautiful, talented woman we all wanted to 'be like' but could never have pulled off.

Kathe W. said...

wow- what a slice of history- thanks for telling us a bit of your history!

Mimi Foxmorton said...

Interesting!
Well done!

Berowne said...

My thanks to Mimi F, Kathe W, Helen and Everyday G for some very encouraging comments.

Britania said...

I enjoyed this very much. Thank you for sharing!

R. Burnett Baker said...

Great story! I love to hear that the high and mighty and just big-time famous were as human as us mere mortals at one time. Give me hope for my future!!! :)

Rick

Nicholas V. said...

Wow! Indeed not many people can say they have been on a Pacific island with Marilyn...
Good write.

izzy said...

Nice memory and well told. Thanks!

Roger Owen Green said...

I'm sure that had MM known you were on the island, history would have been different, for surely she would have wanted to run off with you.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Berowne said...

Roger O G: "...surely she would have wanted to run off with you."
Surely! :-)

mrsnesbitt said...

A great post - if only eh? lol! Thanks so much - a Happy New Year to you and yours, Denise ABC Team

Berowne said...

And a very happy new year to you, Denise!

Barb said...

A great story with lots of good info. I used to live in the house in Palm Springs, which was, according to her recently published diary, the ONLY place where she and JFK 'hooked up' - Bing Crosby's old house.

Leslie: said...

Sounds like a movie...oh! there IS one out right now about some guy who spent a week with her! lol

Kay L. Davies said...

Okay, I'm sure you're the only blogger who can make that claim. Other WWII veterans are too old for blogging, but you'll never be too old.
I have a feeling Norma Jeane (although possibly unhappy from a miserable childhood) was happier spraying airplane parts than she was after she hit "the big time"!

Suz said...

what a brush with fame...thanks for the telling of it...I have always wondered what happened to that first husband....and I agree with Kay Davies....

Lolamouse said...

Wow. You have quite the claim to "almost fame" there! A great story!

ninotaziz said...

Berowne, you never did say...did you survive her smile?

Great post! Happy New Year to you and those closest to your heart.

Hildred and Charles said...

Hobnobbing with glamour again!!! Behind so many stories there is heartbreak and hardship....

zongrik said...

i so often wonder what it would have been like to know her.

Tumblewords: said...

Quite a tale!

Berowne said...

What a lineup of fine comments; my thanks to Tumble W, zongrik, Hildred and, Lolamouse, Suz, Kay L D, Leslie and Barb.

kaykuala said...

A revealing episode for which you have the rare distinction.It is known that they looked more desirable and prettier as a glamour girl later than a housewife before.From what you could have observed, is it true?

Hank

Laurie Kolp said...

Of course she was smiling because of you, Berowne... amazing story!

Berowne said...

Laurie K: "Amazing story!"
Thanks, Laurie. Your visits are always welcome.

brenda w said...

Wow, I feel like I've been touched by fame. ;) This is a great story, thank you for sharing it.

Berowne said...

brenda w: "This is a great story, thank you for sharing it."
And my thanks to you, brenda, also for sharing.

oldegg said...

Curiously everyone probably has a five minute brush with fame in their lives. Mine was swimming in a pool with Robert Morley in the South Pacific. How about we swap and I can swim with MM?

Stafford Ray said...

Thanks for the tragic Marilyn history. Known to few, a trophy to many.

Sheilagh Lee said...

wow you've had a very interesting life thanks for sharing this.

Sheilagh Lee said...

and Happy New year

Rinkly Rimes said...

Just think! You might have saved her from herself!

Berowne said...

oldegg: I always admired Robert Morley, but as for swimming in a pool, I'd take MM. :-)

Berowne said...

My new year's thanks to R Rimes, Sheilagh L and Stafford R for your fine comments.

Jo Bryant said...

what is that saying - six degrees of separation...
http://jobryantnz.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/x-is-for-xanthippe/

EG Wow said...

I'm not sure being "discovered" was the best thing that could happen to Norma Jeane. She did indeed lead an unhappy life made even worse by the people who used her.

ChrisJ said...

I've been on that Pacific Island many times. It was a favorite place for our family as they were growing up. Our sons still have many happy memories of it -- but no Marilyn Monroe there when we were there. Poor Norma Jean and all the others who discovered that fame is not all that it is made out to be. Very sad.

Berowne said...

ChrisJ: "I've been on that Pacific Island many times. It was a favorite place for our family as they were growing up."
Yes, and my family would go to Catalina from time to time, beginning when I was about five. It was strange to find myself back on the island during the war.

jabblog said...

Fascinating piece of history, both yours and Norma Jeane's. Poor soul, she was a sad person.

manicddaily said...

Wonderful magpie tale! A lot of fun. K.

Belva Rae Staples said...

What a story! You've retold it very well and it's entertaining to say the least.

Friko said...

Ha! Name dropper!

Good story.

Ms. Geek Goddess said...

Great story! Loved it! :) I never knew all of that about her.

Theodore Daniel Richards said...

Now, the story I'm told is that she noticed you right away and that when she finally got her courage up to speak to you, you were with somebody else at the base canteen.

Berowne said...

Yes, and Norma Jeane was pretty broken up about it. :-)

zongrik said...

she had such a sad life


ornamented joshua

woman who

Berowne said...

Ms Geek Goddess: "Great story! Loved it!"
Great comment! Loved it! :-)

sharplittlepencil said...

Berowne, loved this. Now the truth can be told! Ripped from the (slightly old) headlines!

Another "x" you could have worked in: Anxiety. Can you imagine the insecurity of that fragile young girl, stuffed into a duffel bag? Good Lord, I feel for her now, more than ever. A solid story, told well. Thanks.

Sorry I have not been around, nor answering comments. Advent/Christmas in a pastoral family is tricky, plus we are moving to another apartment... take care, and peace, Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/fred-weintraub-will-never-rest-in-peace-or-otherwise/

Berowne said...

sharplittle: "A solid story, told well. Thanks."
Great to hear from you, Amy. Hope that 2012 turns out to be a year of peace for you.

Tigerbrite said...

Wonderful memories of a lovely girl well told. Thank you. I knew her early life had been unstable but not the extent of her suffering.

Brandon Lambert said...

In turn, personal success in the knowledge economy calls for self awareness, adaptability and the ability to work with others. Make sure, however, that you find out more about the company before applying so you do not walk into scams. Below we provide an overview of an investment banking interview and explain why its important to prepare in advance.

 
Blog designed by Blogger Boutique using Christy Skagg's "A Little Bit of That" kit.