July 31, 2009

Uncle Lars and Marilyn Monroe

My godson Clive has many good qualities, but neatness when little, was not one of them. I suppose this was because, like most young boys, he was a born collector.  Consequently things I found in Clive’s room rarely surprised me.
I could say "never," but that wouldn't be quite true. Once I was surprised when I came across one of Clive's collector's items. It happened one summer evening when I was putting him to bed.
While he was getting ready, I saw, sticking out from under a comic book on the desk, an interesting work of art. It was a glossy snapshot of Marilyn Monroe in the nude.
"Say, where'd you get this?" I asked Clive, holding up the picture.
Clive blushed and, after a great deal of hemming and hawing, finally said, not too convincingly, "I found it on the street."
I gave him a look of disbelief, and then I noticed that the picture had been torn in half and put back together again with Scotch tape. "How did it get ripped?" I asked.  "Somebody tried to take it away from me," he replied.
After a moment, I decided to let Clive keep the photo he had found. After all, he was old enough, and I didn't want him to think there was anything wrong with show­ing what I felt was a normal and healthy curiosity about sex.
Of course, I was not convinced that he had found the picture on the street. You just don't find nude pic­tures of Marilyn on the street, at least not in our neighborhood (at least I never have).
But, since I had no evidence to refute his statement, and since a man is presumed to be innocent until he's proven guilty-even in my house-I decided to drop the subject.
A few days later we were attending Lars' birthday party. Marilyn’s name hap­pened to come up in the conversation-probably because Lars was going to see a screening of “Some Like It Hot” immediately following the festivities.  Naturally, this reminded me of Clive's Monroe photo­graph, and, thinking Lars might be amused, I related to him the incident of finding the snapshot on the desk.
Lars was amused. "Very interesting," he said, smiling. "Are you sure he found it on the street?"  "That's what he told me. Why?"
"Well"-Lars seemed reluctant to say this- "I haven't seen my picture of Marilyn around lately."
"Do you have one, too?" I asked, surprised.  "I had one.  I used to keep it on my desk-for a gag,” he added.

"Do you suppose-?" 

"I don't know," he said.   "I'll look for it this evening."
The next day I saw Lars at the office he confirmed his suspicions. "It's gone," he said. "I can't find my picture of Marilyn anywhere!"
This revelation, combined with the fact that Clive had spent the weekend at Ann and Lars’ place the week-end prior to his finding the picture on "the street," added up to a fairly con­vincing piece of circumstantial evidence.  I could hardly wait to return home to confront Clive with it. When I did, he immediately confessed to taking the picture.
His motive: there was a severe shortage of Marilyn "nudes," that was the word among his friends, and he in order to show them what a big man he was, had said he knew where he could get one. Evidently, he'd had his eye on it for some time.
I sat Clive down, and gave him a long, stern, and I'm sure dull, lecture on stealing. And I concluded by telling him that he'd have to return the picture to Lars and make an apology the next time we got together.
Clive said he didn't mind having to give up the picture (al­though he preferred not to), but he asked if it would be all right to apologize to Lars in writing. He said he was too ashamed to confess to the crime in person.
I told him I supposed it would be all right, and he went straight to his desk and wrote the following note:

I am very sorry I took your picture of Marilyn.
I will not do it again.

He put the note in an envelope, and with it, he enclosed the Marilyn picture and a ten-dollar bill. He didn't explain what the money was for, and I didn't ask him, but I presumed it was for "damages."
When next we met Ann and Lars, Clive handed him the note of apology and asked him to open it in private. Lars promised, but during the ride to the theater he couldn't contain his curiosity. When Clive was gazing out the window, Lars sneaked a look at the letter, and then, with an amused smile, slipped the picture and the bill back into his coat pocket.
Ann and I noticed him doing this, and we figured that some­time before the end of the evening Lars would undoubtedly take Clive aside, give him a kindly talking to about the evils of stealing, forgive him officially, and return the bill to him. But as the evening progressed, nothing like that happened. The ten dollar remained securely in Lars’ pocket throughout the show, and while we were having dinner after. It looked very much as if Lars meant to keep it for good. The affair of the Marilyn picture was now a closed book.
When we were walking to the parking lot, Ann nudged me hard in the ribs and whispered in an annoyed tone,
"Don't tell me Lars going to keep Clive's ten dollar?" 
"I don't know," I shrugged. "Maybe he wants to teach him a lesson." 
"Well, if he does that to Clive after Clive was good enough to give him all the money he's been saving up, I'll never speak to him again," threatened Ann, glaring at the back of Lars' head.
"Clive gave it to him," I said, trying to keep a family vendetta from getting started. "Lars probably doesn't want to hurt his feelings by giving it back."
"I don't care, I never heard of such a mean thing," said Ann."Why, do you know how much ten dollar is? It's a weeks' allow­ance."
"Forget it," I said. "I'll give him ten dollars."
But Ann couldn't forget it. On the way home in the car, she flatly refused to speak to Lars which, true to form, he didn't notice because he was so busy talking himself.
About the only one in our group who wasn't at all upset over the loss of the ten dollar was Clive. He accepted it as a matter of course that Uncle Lars would keep the money, and while we were driving home, he chatted happily in the back seat.
I parked the car and everybody alighted.
While we were saying our assorted thank yous and good-bys just before Lars opened the front door, he took me aside and slipped the ten-dollar bill into my hand, unbeknownst to Clive.
"Here," he said. "Give this back to Clive."
He started to walk toward the elevator, then turned around again and took something else out of his pocket and handed it to me.

It was the picture of Marilyn.

"Clive might as well have the picture, too," he added with a smile. "I'm getting too old for that sort of thing."

Ms. Edna

Posted by Picasa


family said...

vi saknar honom så mycket
vi tackas

C and C said...

Doris and Charles, thank you for this.
We all miss Lars so much. Our Mr. Sunshine.

Ann said...

Thank you dearest friend for posting this.
I had a much-needed laugh.
I am looking forward to our “Bonneville” weekend in September.

Russ said...

Thanks love for remembering him ‘your way’.
He certainly was one of a kind, thanks God! (just kidding)

old BH friends said...

The world has gotten much sadder since Lars has gone.
We miss him every day.

FL crocodiles said...

It has been already TWO years since Lars died.
TWO very dull years.
He is missed, always, and forever.

Karen and family said...

Gone, never forgotten, how could we?

Andrew said...

The sparkle is gone-
I have no one to argue with,
nobody’s designs to tear apart,
nobody’s programs to snort over with derision
Live is dull in Montreal.

Frederick said...

My best friend, gone, missed always
this was his favorite poem-

“Our hearts where they rocked our cradle.
Our love where we spent our toil,
and our faith, and our hope, and our honor,
we pledge to our native soil.”
-Rudyard Kipling

Thank you, Doris and Charles

an old Venezuelan friend said...

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

his favorite, you know, of course.

the Furlongs said...

Lars, how could we ever forget?

creaky gamla LM Ericsson gänget said...

Minnena. Bogota ska aldrig vara den samma.

Pandilla de ITT said...

recordado en Venezuela.
Nunca olvidado.

otro amigo de Venezuela said...

Nunca un momento lánguido con Lars. Siempre un Caballero.

otro compatriota viejo said...

Recordar el "Días Viejos Buenos" en La Habana

Hello friends said...

Todavía realing del altitute y Lars altos' amordaza. Qué gran tiempos que tuvimos. De Bogota, un ingeniero sueco, viejo y chirriante de

Gammal svensk luft tvinga vänner said...

Vi hade en underbar tid idag. Kommande ihåg Lars. Han ska aldrig replicateds. Sådan fin man.

Dixie said...

if you ever flew with Lars, you were fearless of everything else in life, after.
A survivor from the Elephant Bar, Santa Barbara

the last of the rusty herd said...

A salute -

PGandE gang said...

Nice post.
We still remember Lars.

from the oil and gas patch in Texas said...

What fun you all were to be with.
Great memories, always.

x So Cal Edison engineer said...

we just realized your company supplied an impressive amount of scada systems and programms to all major suppliers. Do not get kidnapped, ever. Please, we all would be sitting in the dark.

Ms Edna said...

you are safe.
I have forgotten everything.

Ms Capshaw said...


Anonymous said...

thank for this post. There is humanity left after all.

ablogger said...

how nice. what fun saturday morning read. thanks

your SM fan said...

Good morning, Ms Edna.

A fine post, again. Thank you.

TO grandma said...

I enjoy your Clive stories very much. Lars must have been a very unusual person. Thanks for sharing.

your 'old neighbors' said...

Hello, from Lake Malibu. Just settled in to our new place. Miss you already. Please come and visit, stay for the week-end asap., please. We hope you will be happy with your new neighbors.

UCLA doctors said...

thank you for my morning read. what would we do without you? don't answer that.
always a pleasure-

a site fan said...

I this moment, your posts make my life bearable. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

the lab rats said...

we still enjoy all of Lars' test equipment. Thanks again for your generous gift.

an old studio colleague said...

Dear ahm, Ms Edna:
thanks for putting up this blog and taking the time to post. It has been great fun to follow. All the best to you.

Tomy Lee said...

you can be-

Much to independent
(for most men, or women)
Too well lived (see above)
Nauseatingly accurate
Pre-occupied (never with me)
Please, keep on being just YOU

Anonymous said...

Ms Edna,
Once encountered, never forgotten.
At any age.