The Week That Marilyn Died
August of '62, my family camped in
. High Point
It rained nearly every day, except the day we went canoeing.
Despite the rain, and the tent that threatened to fall in on us
from its own wetness, we had a good week, except
for one morning when we were cooking breakfast
and listening to the transistor radio –
Marilyn Monroe was dead, it said.
We froze, disbelieving, while the bacon sizzled.
A star, so young and gorgeous - it couldn't be true.
I thought she was the most beautiful woman
I had ever seen. I, the gawky, gangly, eleven-year-old
with horn-rimmed glasses, not quite on the roller coaster
of puberty, who hadn’t yet had his first kiss,
his first prom date, or met the love of his life.
Maybe she was my first love. Back then I thought she was
the ideal against which all women were to be measured.
When I see old photos that preserve her,
twenty-five years younger than I am now,
I still feel a pang of sadness. Like an old girlfriend,
I left her behind, as I moved on to greater things.