WOMAN ON TOP
Real life stars – Oscar winners all
Despite their stories and their pain, they triumph
I met Marilyn Monroe at a rehab centre this week. Perched up in her bed, graceful swan neck wrapped in a brace.
She and the other Hollywood starlets in Ward A had their reasons for being there, and etched on their faces, the burn of determination to leave; if not that day, then soon.
The centre caters for all walks of strife, from hip replacements to freak accidents, and is staffed by angelic experts in nutrition, muscles, psychology and patience.
It’s not the type of rehab you thought I meant, but if you’d met Marilyn, as I did, you’d be forgiven for assuming otherwise, given the star quality in the room.
Until you’re immobile and immersed in pain or disability, you couldn’t imagine what it’s like to be pushed from your comfort zone into the impersonal neatness of a hospital bed, encouraged gently to eat at times alien to your routine, or fed foods your pre-patient self knew were healthy, but not your style.
Stars with sticking power
I sat with my mom, my Greta Garbo, dignity personified, with freshly blonde locks, looking at the other starlets there – all bravely bearing their recuperative loads – and considered how each was taking the glass-half-full approach.
Paul Newman to the left, now he was a character. Nothing was easy – sitting took effort, and monumental skill, while lunch lasted, bit by bit, more than an hour. But, as stars with sticking power do, soldiered on.
I didn’t expect Dame Judi Dench to emerge from the quietly groomed, stoically silent lady across the room, but she didn’t disappoint.
Despite it taking a day and an age to manage the effort of what you take for granted – sipping a coffee – Judi perfumed an aura of mystical content, taking care not to spill on her soft, plush jumper.
An A-list attitude
As for Marilyn, she was a sweetheart. It’s not easy being tacked into a neck brace, and waiting for the tell-tale moment to toss it and resume life on the outside.
I took her a magazine and we talked about trees, positive thinking and date balls, which her mom used to make. I’d brought some for my mom, from my son, but both of them wanted Marilyn to have them.
I asked Marilyn how long she’d been in, and she smiled, knowing that it didn’t matter what had gone before, but what happened now, and after.
“You’ve got to just keep up your spirits!” she smiled, all the way to her blue eyes.
There are more red carpet moments in life than we give life credit for, and more A-list stars in your circle than you’d think.
Thanks for the reminder, Marilyn, you beauty