99 word flash fiction challenge: Norma Jeane

photo courtesy of the fashiontag.files.wp

photo courtesy of the fashiontag.files.wp

Marilyn Monroe born Norma Jeane was beautiful. At least I think so. Beauty alone does not make marriages last and I am not going to pretend that I have any idea why Marilyn’s three marriages ended. Her first to James Dougherty lasted  4 years, to Joe DiMaggio lasted less than a year and her last and longest lasting to Arthur Miller at 5 years. There were rumours of lovers as well. The Kennedys and Marlon Brando fed the gossip mill.

What was it that made it so difficult for Marilyn to have a long-lasting relationship. Was it her strange upbringing in many foster homes. Her mother had a mental illness and at about six her mother turned up to collect her from the foster parents home. They were not about to give the young child into the care of an obviously deranged woman and so the foster parents stuffed Norma into a military duffel bag and carried her past her screaming mother. Norma joined in the screaming and a fight broke out resulting in the opening of the bag, dumping Norma out. The foster parents managed to prevent a reunion on this occasion. Another foster parent curled her hair, applied the makeup and took her to the cinema telling her that one day she would be a star. She was placed in numerous orphanages and in her last foster home attempts were made to sexually abuse her. Did these events affect her. Without a doubt as she underwent many years of psychoanalysis. Did she marry her first husband at the age of fifteen to escape? Or was it

” I can’t play second fiddle any longer. You either give up your public life or you give up me.”

“I can’t give you up. You have to look after me. I need you both. I just need them to adore me. “

“I don’t know why I married you.”

” I was young and beautiful.”

” Yeah. Fifteen was too young. You idolised me then. I was more important to you than the President but now……”

“You’re still important to me. I just need the crowds too. I can’t help it . I was born when the moon was in the seventh house.”


Charli’s flash prompt this week. Join in or read the others its fun. September 10, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) focus on the personality traits of a character informed by the zodiac. It can be a revelation of how he or she acts or a focus on behavior because of personality traits. It can be a relationship ruled by the stars. You can have fun and exaggerate, or keep it subtle and refined. You can use zodiac terms or not.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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20 Responses to 99 word flash fiction challenge: Norma Jeane

  1. mrsmrs says:

    “… and Jupiter aligned with Mars; then peace will come to the planet; and love will rule the stars.”
    Jesus, you took me back, there, Irene.
    This is an excellent, excellent take on your topic. The poor sad little creature: there was never any hope for her, I think …


    • That is exactly where this flash started M-R. I haven’t stopped singing it since either. Sadly the dawning of the age of Aquarius was short-lived it would seem at the moment but the music lives on inside.
      Thanks for comments on Marilyn flash. No I don’t think she had a hope.


      • mrsmrs says:

        1969 was when I bought the LP. I scarcely stopped playing it for months …


      • We didn’t have the LP but after my brother had joined the crowds going to see Hair when it first came to Sydney (I was not allowed to go as their was a bit of nudity involved) he bought the music score. He and I then sat around the piano on a Sunday at family singalong time and instead of the old favourites its a long way to tipperary and Campdown race we chose instead to sing from the Hair score. My favourite was the age of Aquarius, goodmorning starshine and Hair. The parents were shocked beyond belief but we loved it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. She was always looking for love.


  3. Bernice says:

    I did not know that about her – that is sad.


  4. Wow, I didn’;t know about the foster homes and such. Poor girl, never stood a chance.


  5. Charli Mills says:

    An incredible post on Norma Jeane followed by an imagined flash of insight. This is how I start writing fiction, by the way. Some real-life story catches my attention and the moment I wonder…it takes on new life in my imagination. Your flash captures that haunting sense I always felt when looking at photos of Marilyn Monroe. I’m sure she did had dualistic needs–love and adoration are not the same. Great take on the challenge!


    • Thanks Charli. I’m starting to look forward to my 99 word foray into fiction. After I have finished the current project I am seriously thinking of trying a bit of fiction for a change. I can’t make stuff up but as you say if you find the stimulus in the real the fabrication becomes part of the fun. It is what I do whenever I devise all the possible scenarios for peoples actions.


  6. Insightful post, Irene. I always sensed a sadness in MM. She desperately wanted to be loved, but didn’t know how to accept it when it came (DiMaggio).


  7. TanGental says:

    lovely post Irene. Very clever take on the prompt too.


  8. Annecdotist says:

    Enjoyed this post, Irene – informative and moving.
    My money’s on her adult life being influenced by that dreadful childhood rather than star signs, but I would say that, wouldn’t I?


  9. Pingback: Born Under Stars « Carrot Ranch Communications

  10. Sherri says:

    What a great post about the incomparable Marylin Monroe – and she was so beautiful and so troubled, which is hardly surprising considering her upbringing. Such a tragic end to her life and even now the conspiracy theories ring out. Love the flash too, the way you imagined her thinking that her troubles were caused by virtue of her star sign…very clever this Irene 🙂


    • Thanks Sherri. I learnt a lot doing this post as I knew nothing of her childhood , I just needed a character that fitted having the moon in the seventh house. I picked on her as I knew she had married young and had a reputation and was staggered to discover her youth which I potted. I tend to think her adulthood was a reaction to her childhood but was her childhood linked to having the moon in the seventh house. Glad you enjoyed it. Cheers Irene XD


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