Iconic America

So I was watching Oprah the other day (shocking, I know) and its theme was Iconic America--major things that make the great U.S.A. what it is today. While watching this show I was reminded of my personal claim to Iconic America and felt it appropriate to share something I and many other women in my family are rather proud of. Are you ready? (drum roll please....) We're related to THE Marilyn Monroe. I know what you're thinking: "Yeah right, and I'm related to Elvis". But it's true. So I don't have the pedigree chart to prove it, but we're related distantly right up through my mom's paternal side (maiden name, Mortensen). For those of you who know Marilyn well, are you making the connection?

In fact, I'm so proud of this I decided to share this fact with my A.P. U.S. History class in High School. My teacher, Coach Webb, was going on about the 50's and certain icons that defined that particular decade. To illustrate his point he began reading an article about Miss Monroe. It was in the middle of him reading this article my beaming pride shot my hand up in the air where I had to share with the entire class that I was related to Marilyn Monroe. I was surprised by the harsh response.

Coach Webb: [Throwing his head back] "Oh, you are not!"
Me: Yes, I am.
Coach Webb: "If you can prove it, I'll give you 400 extra credit points."
Me: [Butterflies in my tummy while wondering what I had gotten myself in to]
Coach Webb: "If you're related to Marilyn Monroe, like you say you are, tell me what her real name is."
Me: [Pure elation] NORMA JEAN MORTENSEN!

Not knowing her real name himself, and just getting the information from the article he's reading, he was so sure I was wrong and replied, "You're wrong! It's [looking at the article] Norma Jean Mortensen."

(Oprah, that was one of my "Ah ha!" moments.)

He starts laughing and for fun, later in class actually printed out our class's grades with my 400 extra credit points. It like gave me a 120% A or something. Naturally, it wouldn't have been fair for me to get an A just because of my social status so he had to change it back. But it was a great moment for sure. Coach Webb was actually one of my favorite teachers. He was funny and I remember A.P. U.S. History to be one of my most favorites classes in high school.
This is one of my favorite photos of her. She looks real and I can see the family resemblance the best in this one...mom, aunt lancy, I'm talkin' to you!).

"Goodbye Norma Jean, Though we never knew you at all..."


  1. Well, I believe you're related to her, because you're gorgeous! (And I do know, since I see her 3 times a week! She's beautiful right when she gets out of bed. It's totally unfair.) But you're also a little more grounded. :)

  2. Oh I loved your reference to Coach Webb! I could totally envision Coach Webb in your story...sounded just like him! Good times at BRHS!