Marilyn and Rosie: two special gals


With amusement (and some financial speculation), I am following the story of a woman, Elsie Poncher, who is selling her husband’s crypt above Marilyn Monroe’s on eBay.

She wants to pay off her mortgage in Beverly Hills, a practical goal, and evidently, this particular location at the intimate Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery is worth big money.

Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery is an intimate final resting place, smack in the middle of an urban sprawl  trumped only by Manhattan. The average person or mourner might have trouble finding it, perhaps because most buried there were not average and wanted it that way. Right off Wilshire Blvd, in the heart of Westwood, only a few blocks from U.C.L.A., sit the white marble crypts and small grave markers of many people who have graced the American screen, delighted comedy clubs and television, and filled our ears with luscious melodies.


My grandmother, Rosalie, is buried there, not far from all the hubbub. She had no idea this little nook of green in a cement neighborhood would be her final resting place.

So Rosie, how do you like being twelve feet from Natalie Wood, in eye-shot of Dean Martin and Truman Capote, in ear-shot of the lavish raves and hushed conversation of the general public as it pays respects to Roy Orbison, Walter Matthau, and Eva Gabor?

Are you watching the tour buses unload gawkers as they make a beeline for Marilyn’s crypt to see if that perfect blood red rose, sent every day by the now dead Joe DiMaggio (I guess they have florists in Heaven), is where it should be, below Mr. Poncher’s crypt.

Did you ever expect (in your wildest fantasies) that your only daughter and her husband Hugh would buy a cereal box sized spot for your ashes, you who hailed from Anna, Texas and landed in Westwood with your second husband Harold, an obstetrician to the Stars??

You were a real character, Rosie, and not at all like so many women born in 1905.

You were a rebel, escaped Anna in 1923 by fleeing  to a Dallas  secretarial school, and then did the unthinkable (for a Baptist): you married Jimmy, a Jewish guy from New Orleans.

When he ran off with his secretary, you married another Jewish guy, Harold, an obstetrician from Chicago who drove you to Los Angeles in 1948.

And although you were out of your element, you did your best in dealing with the glitz and dazzle of a busy life. You also did one hell of a job coping with an eccentric husband despite your off and on shingles.

I owe my humor and small feet to you Rosie. I am still enjoying some of your 1940’s handbags and shoes that mother gave to me after you died.

I bet you were shocked when we laid you to rest 12 feet from Natalie Wood.

Too bad Harold is far away in another bland L.A. cemetery. 😉

By the way, Rosie, in keeping with your Scotch-Irish Sense of the Thrifty, I am wondering if you would be upset if I moved your ashes to another location. Real estate at the cemetery has increased in value, despite the housing market’s decline.

Just wondering.


About Cheri

Writer, photograph, artist, mother, grandmother and wife.
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5 Responses to Marilyn and Rosie: two special gals

  1. Cheri says:

    Here’s the first comment (and probably the most important) from my mother:

    You are full of it, Cheri; this is very clever and I did laugh; only comment, Helen was not Jimmie’s secretary ; I’m not sure how they met but as a married man, falling in love with her was morally wrong but they didn’t run off together. Rosie is very happy resting among the stars; don’t even consider moving her. I love you, Mom

  2. andreaskluth says:

    I’ve already driven by that place several times since moving to LA. I might have to stop and look.

    Just checking: Rosie, I’m clear on. But Elsie? She’s only connected via … eBay to you, right? Got confused.

    • Cheri says:

      That’s no good (to confuse a reader…)
      So, I have looked the piece over and the problem begins when I switch to 2nd person. There I am speaking to Rosie (who is 12 feet from Natalie Wood). That might have been the beginning of your confusion.

      Elsie Poncher is not connected to me in any way. She is the woman selling her husband’s crypt above Marilyn’s.

      Rosie (whose real first name is Rosalie if you stop by 🙂 (say hi from Cheri…she’ll know who you are talking about) is out in the lawn area, whereas Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin and the most important folks are in the mausoleum section.

      I may edit this piece for clarity. Thanks Maxwell.

  3. Brighid says:

    What a hoot. Sounds like Rosie would go for the move. Things can get boring staying in one place.
    My mom bought a plot in a back of beyond part of Idaho, and expects her remains to go there. She knows no one there. It’s all very strange! But if you see my brother driving like the devil’s after him, with a rather stiff older lady next to him, you’ll know one of us caved.

  4. Pingback: Claircognizance « Notes from Around the Block

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