Ragdoll Redeemed (excerpts) Chapter 1


curtain on stage

Don’t Cry, My Doll,  Don’t Cry


Don’t cry my doll

Don’t cry

I hold you and rock you to sleep

Hush hush

I’m pretending now

I’m not your mother who died.



I’LL NEVER FORGET the chill of recognition that ran through me  when  I first read  this  snippet  of Marilyn’s effort  to  express her motherless childhood through poetry. Who can blame her for her con- fusion? I can’t. After all, where else can a child get her first awareness of what life is like except in her mother’s womb? And what does a girl- child do if her mother’s love doesn’t survive the pregnancy, leaving her like a stillborn? I know those may be confusing, convoluted questions, but some girls never know anything but a life with those kinds of ques- tions, and they never find a single answer.

“Been thinking  of my mother  a lot lately. I was a mistake. My mother  didn’t want to have me. I guess she never wanted me. I probably  got in her way. I know I must have disgraced her. A divorced woman has enough problems in getting a man, I guess, but one with an illegitimate baby… I wish, I still wish, she had wanted me.” —Marilyn

There is little, if any, shame attached  to having a child outside of the  sanctity  of marriage  in twenty-first  century  America, but  in the mid-twentieth century,  there  was still horrific  shame attached  to the unwed mother  and her illegitimate  child. The  woman was considered loose, a “fallen woman,” or “used goods,” hardly better  than a cheap whore; and the child, whether male or female, was considered a bastard.

Marilyn was never able to hide that fact, at least not from herself. Even when she was well along in her career, it cast its shadow over her life.

“I posed with Alan Ladd for a photo today. He couldn’t get over that my mother  was a Hollywood  film cutter and that my real name was Norma  Jeane Mortenson. I never mentioned to him that I was really a bastard child who should have been named Norma  Jeane Gifford!” —Marilyn

Like Marilyn, I knew what it meant to be labeled a bastard; and like her, I also spent the first thirty-five years of my life running  from society’s definition of our unmarried  mothers and unconventional children. The shame of what I was seemed as basic as my cell structure,  a maternal inheritance. (P.g. 1-2) To be continued……..

51NVdAmazon pic of RDRagdoll Redeemed:Growing up in the Shadow of Marilyn Monroe (purchased at


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Introduction to Ragdoll Redeemed: Growing up in the Shadow of Marilyn Monroe
Ragdoll Redeemed (excerpts) Chapter 1