“She was the bastard daughter of a paranoid schizophrenic….” That’s how William Manchester began his description of this woman.
Her mother spent much time in the insane asylum. Her grandparents on her mother’s side were both insane. Her brother was driven to suicide by his mental illness.
As a young woman, she tried to call the man, who was her father at his office. He refused to take the call, instead telling his secretary to inform his child that he did not want to see her.
Growing up had been difficult. During her childhood and youth, she had twelve different sets of foster parents. Their parenting styles differed greatly. One set of foster parents gave her whisky bottles, drained of their product, to play with as toys.
In another home, she was punished with a razor strap any time the foster parent perceived her to be thinking impure thoughts.
Once during childhood, she received a pet dog and loved the creature. A neighbor killed it.
On one occasion, when visiting her grandmother, the insane woman tried to smother her with a pillow.
She spent twenty-one months in an orphanage. At sixteen, she married a much older man, she did not love, to escape the disaster that was her life.
All of these events helped kindle a broken spirit. Her stammer, her constant insomnia betrayed a sense of desperation within. The girl maintained a ravenous desire to be wanted.
Perhaps, looking back, people should have seen it coming. At thirty-six, maybe thinking that she would never succeed at fulfilling her desire to be wanted, she chose to end her life.
Hearing her story, I think I understand more why Jesus said what he did:
"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Norma should have received better. Norma, Norma Jean, should not have experienced such a childhood of pain. I feel sad for Norma Jean Baker. A casting director successfully changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. He could not successfully change a broken heart.
“Man’s inhumanity to Man” is a terrible thing, but when it is inhumanity against a child, there can be nothing worse. I gather from His words, someday God will offer those who harm children justice. We commonly refer to it as judgment.