My favorite Marilyn Monroe film is Clash by Night. It is a rather unknown Noir film with leading lady Barbara Stanwyck. The reason I like this film is because Marilyn’s character is so good. She is charming, sexy, cute, and loyal. The beginning of a great dramatic actress. There are some remarkable scenes shared by Barbara and Marilyn. One particular scene I love is when they do a walk tight together.
They connect and do a deep dip walk with long strides. As if the whole world disappears and it is just them on stage. Real vaudeville bump and grind.
Defiantly affirming their place in the world. It makes me cry and feel as if I could join right in. In general, their relationship portrayed in this film seems good, playful, and accepting; the older actress making way for the younger one.
I enjoy studying Barbara Stanwyck’s Noir films. They have that dip into the dark side of reality that is pulling at all the right emotions. There is nothing like her type of Film Noir.
Old stucco house with wood floors and Mexican Marilyn Monroe next door: Issue 48-57.
The above image is one created for me by punk artist Scott Aicher. I considered his art for the cover of my memoir back in 2007. My ideas went through so many changes as time went on that I progressed to four individual journals and then to a Kindle edition. Moving towards my final rendering is a paperback book. I decided to use my own work and images. I got out of touch with him, yet I can see he is doing alright with other writers and publishers. It is a cool image and I love it.
In Whittier California and at the time we lived in and old stucco house between two apartment buildings. The one on the left I knew no one and the one on the right is where she lived. It was the late 1980s.
She was a couple of pounds over an hourglass figure and about six kids followed her around town. Just like a mother duck and her ducklings; one right after the other.
The story goes that each child had a different father and the truck engines in front of our house revving their engines at 2 AM, night after night, told us her story. She was sexy. She oozed it.
I was jealous of her because she had those kids of hers. At twenty something I was craving a kid. I was not as lucky as she. The wild days of my punk youth were not a good place for kids, but I still was craving a babe in my arms. I often spied on her from my living room widow as she spent time with her kids.
It seemed to me then that she was not very nice or smart. She yelled at her kids, but they were always dressed nicely and well fed. Once I heard her say to one of her kids,
“This time I will break your arm and not take you to the hospital.”
We listened to her as I am sure she listened to us during those times of frustration and loneliness.
For a few years one of her youngest boys would bring me a little cake with a candle to blow out on my birthdays. I never knew how he knew. Hearing a soft knock at the door there he stood. Standing alone and holding up the cake just for me.
We sat on the porch and ate the cake together. I imagined how proud I was of him. How he was my son. He was so smart, sweet, and intelligent. How did such a loud sexy mama as Mexican Marilyn Monroe have such an amazing son?
I realize now she must have had a lot to do with her son coming over and with him bringing me the cake. What she did indirectly was one of the most comforting moments during my overwhelming wild years. She shared her son with me. I thank her now and wish her well!
I wanted to be treated as a human being who had earned a few rights since her orphanage days. ~ Marilyn Monroe
The Crusstos moved into my neighborhood when I was twelve. This meant saying goodbye to my best friend Wayno who left the same house they moved in to… I was sad. The neighborhood parents talked about the new neighbors John and Ruth.
Ruth had beautiful red henna hair and a slim figure which she always showed off. I heard she once was a dancer in Las Vegas. I did not always listen to her stories. I wish I could go back now and listen more intently. I do remember what she told me about Marilyn Monroe.
Ruth also came from a troubled past. She met Marilyn when they were living at a boarding house for young girls without families.
“Norma was her name then.” Ruth said.
“You knew an actress like her?”
“Norma always was a little dramatic with her gestures…she was not an actress then…we were just a couple of teenagers who liked going out on a lark.”
“What do you mean?”
“Norma and I would often break out at night and walk Hollywood Blvd and have so much fun together.” Then Ruth said, “She was a wild girl, that Norma.”
Looking at Ruth she still had a wildness about her. She pronounced her words very clearly and often made comments to me on how to pronounce words properly. One thing I knew about her, that I found very strange, is that she did not wear underwear under her dresses or pants. The neighborhood parents talked!
John Crussto was a Fire Chief at the local fire-station. Ruth was a waitress at a local steakhouse on Ventura Blvd. I often saw Ruth drink her liquor straight up.
Ruth taught me how-to put-on mascara. It was vintage Maybelline mascara in a little red box. She carefully showed me by holding a little black mascara comb with a generous supply of mascara up to her eyelashes. Then she let the eyelashes do the work by blinking. The blinking put a generous supply of makeup on her eyelashes
There was always music playing on the stereo at the Crusstos. Frank Sinatra’s hit song “Tramp” was her favorite song.
Looking back, I am amazed that at fifty Ruth could still kick her leg up as high as a girl in a chorus line, just be careful where you were looking.