On the 50th anniversary of Monroe’s death, I’d like to share an extract from my novel, The Mmm Girl (2007), in which a young Marilyn visits the grave of her beloved Aunt Ana.
I drove around an oval lawn, and into the small cemetery. Tombstones lay flat on the grass, their names concealed by wreaths and cards.
A man was reciting a poem to a funeral party, so I sat down on a bench and waited until they had trailed out.
It was Grace who told me Ana was dead. She had passed away in the night. The women from church had been with her, touching her with their healing hands, reciting prayers she had written.
Three workmen were digging as I walked over to the plot, which was in the urn garden. The oldest man glanced up from the ground and smiled faintly, a cigarette dangling from his mouth.
‘You know this lady, dearie?’ he asked. ‘She a relative or something?’
‘No, but she took care of me when I was a kid.’
He nodded, standing by. The others moved on to another crypt
and I leaned over the plot they had dug out, looking down on the
‘Can I lie in there for a while, mister?’
He stubbed out his cigarette underfoot. ‘Sure, miss. Folks do that from time to time.’
I climbed in, and lay on the dust among some leaves that were floating down from a willow tree.
As the man walked away I hugged myself, but it was really Ana
who held me.
The sky was white and cloudy, with a light breeze high above.
The man returned as the first drops of rain splashed on my shirt
and blue jeans. I sat up and pulled the leaves from my hair. Then I
reached up, and he helped me out.
Driving back through Westwood, I nearly crashed into a truck.
It was my fault. I took my eyes off the wheel. The driver hollered,
and I gathered speed.
Later that night, I stayed up in my rented room, listening to the
other tenants pacing up and downstairs.
Happy Birthday to ‘The Mmm Girl’
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Ed Mills said:
Thank you Tara for The Mmm Girl. Thank you Marina. Just came back from watching MM on the big screen in ‘Some Like it Hot’ on August 5. If I might, here’s a sample of my new play which will be previewing in Aspen on Aug. 15.
EM goes into the kitchen alone. EVIE
rushes in, very upset, followed by
Evie, I’m sorry. When I found out, you were the first person
I could think that needed to know.
Was she alone?
When she died.
From what I’ve heard. I’m sorry I don’t know more.
And they’re sure?
They said it looks like a suicide, that’s all I’ve heard so
I asked you not to run the story. Didn’t I?
There was no way anyone could’ve known she’d…
Jimmy! What happened?
Word came in early this morning. Marilyn Monroe is dead.
There is a clatter from the kitchen.
All eyes turn to the door EM just
walked out of. No one moves at first.
Then, DENNY goes to the door and slowly
After I tuned in Em’s piece, I somehow felt like I owed it to
Marilyn to be there, too. I spent so much time following her
around, I never really tried to understand what it was she
That’s what I was thinking. Anyway, I felt sick to my stomach
the whole morning. Ever since I heard about Em, I haven’t
slept, I haven’t eaten. It was getting so I felt like I was
going to pass out towards the end of the funeral, when…
The end of the service. They had this pipe organ and as it
played the closing song, suddenly I felt very at ease. The
way I’d always feel when I came in here and saw Em behind the
What was the song?
I don’t really…
Well, you can’t lead with that and then not sing a few bars.
You’re among friends.
(taking JIMMY’s hand)
Yes, you are.
It was, um…
Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high…
There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue.
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.
I think that about does it for the grace.
ARIEL begins serving food as plates are
passed around the table.
DENNY puts the radio on to a popular
music station and the music grows
louder until it drowns out the
conversation around the table.