Our Marilyn Monroe

It was no suprise to me that one day Hazel woke up from her nap with a strategically placed boogy beauty mark. It's something that just runs in the family...

I'm related to Marilyn Monroe

Don't believe me?

Niether did my A.P. U.S. History teacher in high school.

The lecture that day was on the iconic figures of the 1950's. It just so happened that I was sitting on the front row and as soon as I realized the informational article he was reading to us was about yours truly, I got so excited about my claim to fame, I blurted out, "I'm related to her!"

He laughed heartily and told me in front of the entire class that I was wrong. Now, despite what you may think, I really liked this teacher. I found his lectures interesting and his dry humor quite entertaining. And because in my efforts to convince him otherwise, he said, "Fine. If you can tell me what her real name is, I'll give you 400 extra credit points." Assuming, of course, I would never know such a random piece of trivial information like that.

Cool, calm and collected (well, that's how I remember it) I said, "Norma.  Jeane.  Mortensen."

My correct answer was confirmed. And I was able to enjoy a moment of sweet victory that would have been worthy of a narration from A Christmas Story's Jean Shepherd himself.  

Now, there are some who might say Marilyn's moral compass was off a few degrees, but there's not a woman on my mom's side of the family who would allow you to say a bad thing about our girl. We're loyal people by nature and that combined with the sympathy we have for knowing the difficulty it must have taken to become No. 1 in TV Guide's Films Sexiest Woman of All Time leaves us with nothing but a ridiculous amount of pride for this distant relation. 

I mean we're talking the sort of pride that prompted my sister, as a little girl, to attend a church primary activity dressed as Marilyn because they were supposed to go as their favorite ancestor.  (The primary president wasn't amused. My mom was. As are the rest of us to this very day.)

For despite her flaws (and Hollywood's overly tragic portrayl of her)--she was an icon. That's not something merely attained through talent, charm and beauty alone, but more so, I'd say, through her confidence and fearlessness. And I can't help but think there isn't a woman on Earth who wouldn't love thinking they have a little of that floating around in her gene pool. I'm pretty sure it was coursing through my veins that day in my history class, or the day my sister dressed up as her favorite ancestor. Or any other time my mom, aunt, cousins, sister or myself needed an extra boost of courage on or off a stage--it was there then too. 

Even though we are related to her through my mother's paternal side to her estranged father, Martin E. Mortensen, who Wikipedia told me that she denied him as ever having been so--I can't help but wonder what she would think of this distant branch on her family tree... 

I'd like to think she would be proud of us too. 


  1. "The primary president wasn't amused. My mom was. As are the rest of us to this very day." made me laugh out loud! You Go Girl!