A Note To The Granddaughters
Last night our 8 y/o granddaughter asked if I thought she read a wide range of books; she's a voracious reader. And, of course, she does read a wide range of books.
I didn't mention the list of books I'm currently reading, but someday another reader's reading list might come up in conversation:
Marilyn had a lifetime interest in the occult, and she often visited astrologers and psychics. She retained a sense of proportion, however, and dismissed one famous astrologer, Carroll Righter, in a way that demonstrated her priorities. Righter asked her, "Did you know you were born under the same sign [Gemini] as Rosalind Russell, Judy Garland, and Rosemary Clooney?" Marilyn looked him straight in the eye and replied, "I know nothing of these people. I was born under the same sign as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Queen Victoria, and Walt Whitman."Later,
The sign of Gemini, Marilyn said, stood for intellect. Her search for knowledge was to become a lifetime preoccupation, one many would mock as pretentious posturing. It was not. Marilyn devoured Thomas Wolfe, James Joyce, poetry (mostly romantic), biographies, and history books.
Abraham Lincoln became Marilyn's special hero. (She would later strike up a friendship with Lincoln's biographer, Carl Sandburg.) Lincoln's portrait would follow her from home to home till the end of her life, and his Gettysburg Address usually hung nearby. It was her first love affair with a President of the United States.
...she owned a book called De Humani Corporis Fabrica, a learned study of the human anatomy by the sixteenth-century scholar, Andreas Vesalius. It was marked up in detail, and Marilyn explained that hse was studying the bone structure of the body. Paintings from the book, by Jan Stephan van Kalkar, of the Titian school, would long decorate the walls of her poorly furnished rooms, and even near the end of her life when she was in the grip of drus, Marily would instruct young friends with an encyclopedic knowledge of the human bone structure.From Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe, Anthony Summers, c. 1985.
I was aware of this side of Marilyn Monroe; it was "fun" to read about her again. It's "funny" to see the coincidences in life. I do believe Carl Sandburg's biography of Abraham Lincoln was the first "real" book/biography I ever read. I recall reading it in eighth grade. I also recall Mr Thue's study hall but that's another story for another time. I was in Mr Thue's study hall at 1:03 p.m. when the middle school's public address system told us of the assassination that November. I guess the proteins storing memories of Marilyn, Kennedy, Thue, Sandburg, are all fairly close geographically somewhere in my left limbic lobe. The first three "adult" books I remember: a) Carl Sandburg's "Abraham Lincoln"; b) a biography of Albert Schweitzer; and, c) a history of the Greek statesman and general, Pericles.