Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Marilyn Monroe - Happy Birthday Mr. President

This weekend I went to see Marilyn Monroe's iconic "Happy Birthday Mr. President" dress.  That dress marked a period in history, a moment that is now gone forever.  Yet, it's never been forgotten.

It's hard to believe that three months after she sang that song, Marilyn was dead.  Either dead by her own hand or by someone else's, that is all still up for dispute but what has been written leaves some fascinating speculation.  All I can say is that Marilyn didn't lead a dull life.  From beginning to end, she rocketed through.  Even those of us too young to remember the events of her life - know about Marilyn.

I was thinking about the stories I haven't forgotten.  The ones that stick in your mind forever.  I've read a lot of books and you remember some for awhile but the ones you never forget are definitely not the majority.  Those books all have one thing in common, they have to strike an emotion.  An example is East Lynn .  It was a book so old that its pages were a soft, delicate butter feel.  I grabbed it from my mother's stash on a rainy day with no other reading choices available.  It turned out to be the first book that ever made my cry and because of that, I'll never forget it.  Heidi, was the book of my childhood.  The unabridged edition that my mother found in a second hand store became the book that saw me through childhood.  I lost track of how many times I read that book and how many times I longed to live on that idyllic mountain toasting cheese and frolicking with goats.  But I was eight when I began my Heidi era, what did I know?  Then there was A Woman of Substance - a powerful book by Barbara Bradford Taylor.  That introduced me to the saga and I loved it.  There's more but the truth is that most books entertain us in the moment, we talk about them with our friends but they're not books that we'll remember in our twilight years that flag moments in our life.  Those books are special.  Like Marilyn's dress and the person that bought it - they've done things a little bit different.  They've been successful and in both cases beaten the odds - struck a chord and that has made them memorable.

So back to the dress.  How did all of this come about?  It was because of a man by the name of Jimmy Pattison.  He was born in a village in Saskatchewan during the Great Depression.  It was a time when everyone was bailing out of the prairie dust bowl so his family moved to Vancouver  He went on to become extremely successful.  Now, he's a philanthropist known for giving back to his place of birth.  So when he bought Marilyn Monroe's Happy Birthday Mr. President dress he brought it back to Saskatchewan.  And that is how I got to see Marilyn Monroe's "Happy Birthday Mr. President" dress in a local grocery store called - Save-On foods.   There with it's own RCMP guard in full uniform and a bevy of private security, was one of the most talked about dresses in history.  I don't know what Marilyn would say about her dress being in a grocery store but for me, it was a great experience to see the dress that made history.

There's a story everywhere - look at this blog.  In a few paragraphs there's a rags to riches story - two of them.  There's the love story or entanglement between the president and the star.  Did that song reveal something that led to her death three months later or was it just suicide?   So many questions - so many stories.

And now, I'm off to finish up the current story.

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