I grew up in a small town in northern New Jersey. Growing up there, there wasn’t much to do nor did I get to see any celebrities, rock stars or Hare Krishnas. I spent a lot of my time reading biographies, fascinated by the lives of people living what I thought to be way more exciting lives than I was leading.
Moving to California in the early 90s, I busied myself with raising my kids and later, after my divorce, working to support our lives. I didn’t have much time to explore and see what I had been missing all my life. I was never much into celebrities, but have always been fascinated with the 60s decade, in part because I was there and also because it was such a turbulent time in the United States. Many unique individuals came into prominence, the likes of which have never been seen before or since. JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Jim Morrison, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Janis Joplin, and of course Marilyn Monroe. One thing they all have in common is that they had a profound influence on the world and they all died very young.
The 60s was the decade of free love due to the pill, race riots, Hippies, Viet Nam War protests, atom bombs, Cuba and young vs. old. A new world was promised, but that new world never really materialized. Some how all the free loving, peace spouting, love one another hippies morphed into the materialistic generation that followed in the 80s. And our judgmental, hyper-religious hypocritical boisterous faction of today is perhaps a rebellion against the free loving hippies of the 60s.
So my fascination with the 60s is perhaps a desire to return to a time when the world, though violent, held some promise of a more loving, compassionate utopia. I devour biographies of the people who dominated that time in an attempt to understand it all and to see where it all went terribly wrong.
Marilyn Monroe has held a great fascination for me since I first heard about her death as a child. How could someone so beautiful and so successful end her life?
But this blog isn’t about my discoveries about that topic, or the conclusions I came to. It’s about my first trip to see the Marilyn Monroe “sites” in Los Angeles.
I was visiting my son and we decided to take a ride around town to see the sights. I was able to find her crypt in the well hidden cemetery in the middle of LA, due to my son’s excellent navigational skills. I was unprepared for the feelings I had there. Mostly, I was just amazed that I was actually THERE, in the place I had read about for years and never had a chance in hell to visit as a kid growing up in a small town in New Jersey. I could almost perceive the events of the past in a shadowy reenactment in the recesses of my mind.
We also travelled to her home on Fifth Helena Drive. What was most surprising to me was how beautiful the neighborhood was, and what a wonderful place to live it must have been. I could see in my mind’s eye Bobby Kennedy’s convertible coming for a visit, and the ominous events that occurred at her death. History leaves psychic impressions for some.
I really have no interest in seeing star’s homes in Beverly Hills or even looking for a stray star on Rodeo Drive. I think my fascination lies in the time, the 60s, an era I lived through. I can remember as a child that my greatest fear was that the world might somehow end up in nuclear winter. It was a turbulent and scary time to grow up in the United States.