Marilyn Monroe

Submitted By jamilynn
Words: 1419
Pages: 6

Marilyn Monroe

“If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”1 Marilyn Monroe was a lady who knew from the start who she was and what she wanted to be and nothing was going to get in the way of her achieving her goals. Despite overcoming many hardships in her life such as foster care, orphanages, a mother who was never around, and being sexually abused, Marilyn Monroe grew up to become one of the world’s biggest and most enduring sex symbols. Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926 at Los Angeles General Hospital. Her mother, Gladys Baker Mortenson named Marilyn after Norma Talmadge, popular screen idol during early-mid 1920’s.2 However she was set up to fail from the beginning with no father to protect or love her. When Marilyn was just 12 days old, her mother Gladys boarded her out to Ida and Wayne Bolender of Hawthorne California for just five dollars a week to look after her. Gladys would come visit on Saturdays to visit Norma Jeane who remembered her as the lady with the red hair rather than her mother.3 Life with the Bolenders was no picnic. They were a devoutly religious couple who Marilyn would later remember their devotion as “one that approached zealousness.”4 She had to promise to never drink or swear and had to attend church several times a week. She was not allowed to see movies and was repeatedly told she was going to hell. Around 1933 Marilyn had a change in luck. Susan Doll writes, Norma Jeane’s mother Gladys had earned enough money to put something down on a white bungalow and for the first time Norma Jeane actually lived with her mother.5 The atmosphere was much looser than at the Bolenders. She could attend the movies and pretty much do whatever she wanted. However, the reunion of Gladys and Norma Jeane was all too brief. Rachael Bell writes, Gladys became increasingly depressed until one morning in January of 1935 she lost control. Except for very brief periods, Gladys was institutionalized for the rest of her life.6 Norma Jeane lived off and on with neighbors until they couldn’t afford her anymore. On September 13, 1935, Grace McKee, a friend of Gladys, took Norma Jeane to the Los Angeles Orphans Home Society because she was unable to financially provide for her at that time.7 Norma Jeane’s admittance to the orphanage represented rock bottom to a child whose short life had been nothing but a succession of low points. Susan Doll said that, in a 1962 interview, Marilyn recalled her immediate reaction to the orphanage: “I began to cry, ‘Please, please don’t make me go inside. I’m not an orphan, my mother’s not dead. I’m not an orphan – it’s just that she’s sick in the hospital and can’t take care of me. Please don’t make me live in an orphans’ home.’8 In the summer of 1937, Grace at last recued Norma Jeane from the orphanage. Earlier that year, Grace had gotten married and was now able to support Norma Jeane. But despite her attempts at domestic harmony, Grace decided to place her ward in a foster home. At some point in her childhood, perhaps during this hazy period of foster-home existence, or perhaps even earlier, Norma Jeane was sexually molested. In recounting the story in later interviews, Marilyn variously gave her age at the time of the incident as 6,8,9 or at some time in adolescence. According to Marilyn, a family friend or boarder in the foster home in which she lived at the time molested or raped her in his room. When she told her foster mother what had happened, the woman refused to believe her. Though the details of her story may vary, the basic truth seems to be that she was sexually abused as a child, and the memory haunted her for the rest of her life. Norma Jeane entered Van Nuys High School in September of 19419, but her days as a typical high-school girl were numbered. According to Ellen’s Place, Norma Jeane was again living with Grace when she met Jim Dougherty, 5 years her…