One of my wife’s favorite books near the end of her life was “Joe and Marilyn” by C. David Heymann. Susan was fascinated by the tumultuous love story between Marilyn Monroe and baseball star Joe DiMaggio. We would often sit out on our patio sipping wine while Susan read several sections of the book to me.
Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe were only married for nine months. Joe was very obsessive about her and was by all accounts a very jealous man. The story goes that when Marilyn was filming the movie “The Seven Year Itch,” he was opposed to her shooting that iconic scene where her white dress billowed up over her head while she stood on the subway grate.
Yet through it, all Joe became the one steady influence in her very crazy life. Soon after the divorce, when she got sick once, he was the one next to her at the hospital. They had gotten close again towards the end of her life, and he was the stableman by her side. He wanted to marry her again, but she died an untimely death.
But the one thing my wife Susan loved was the true romantic story behind roses and Marilyn’s life and death. Marilyn was found dead in her house, and there was no family to call their own but him. Joe flew from New York to LA, identified her body, and had a small, private funeral for her. He even designed the headstone. He was inconsolable at the funeral.
Joe was never going to see her again, but he fulfilled a promise. Many years ago, Marilyn had told him that she wanted roses sent to her every week. Joe did so when he honored that promise. From Marilyn’s death in 1962 until he died in 1999, he would send fresh roses to her grave a few times a week. She had said, “Six fresh long-stemmed red roses, three times a week … forever.”
To which my wife said, “Go ahead and send me roses now while I’m alive!” Then she would break into a huge smile, and we would laugh and have more wine.
Through the remaining two years of her life, I did bring her roses many times. I just brought six red roses to her grave yesterday.
For Joe, Marilyn was the love of his life, and till his dying breath, he kept her preserved in his heart. People can only hope that they find a love like that at least once in their life. I am so lucky that I found that kind of love as well.
Joe and Marilyn. Larry and Susan. Our love transcends life and death.
Larry articles can be found every other Thursday here on WSN-MO. You can send private messages him on Facebook.