She was driven to the Los Angeles General Hospital.
Gladys hospitalization, the Atkinsons and Grace McKee took care of
Norma Jeane. So she only saw her mother rarely, during rare week-ends
when Gladys was allowed to go out.
During Gladys hospitalization, the Atkinsons and Grace McKee took care of Norma Jeane. So she only saw her mother rarely, during rare week-ends when Gladys was allowed to go out.
Gladys, came out of the hospital, still dull and depressive.
Apparently, there were no sign of psychosis in her behavior : her resignation rather seemed to result from the look she had on her past ( and maybe the guilt and remorse to have neglected her daughter).
Upset by the tragic death of her grandfather, she was convinced to hold the proof of the existence in her lineage of a dangerous defect.
So she took the decision to assume her household.
While keeping up working 6 days a week, she tried hard to get closer to her daughter who had become a stranger.
It seemed that the future and hopes had violently collided with the past, with the terrible remorses she felt about the way of life she had chosen and for Norma Jeane's abandonment.
Like many people of this era who celebrated the end of the Prohibition, Gladys drifted to drink more that she could. Alcohol could only dangerously interfere with the drugs she took.
Gladys condition should need a more complex
treatement than the one she got, but the psychological help was
something rather rare in Los Angeles at that time.
She was taken, hardly aged 32, in an asylum in Santa Monica. She stayed there several months, undergoing sedatives and completely neglected, then she was transfered again at the Los Angeles General Hospital.
Sometimes she went out on week-ends. Deprived of any psychiatric treatement worthy of this name, Gladys slowly got damaged in a lonely world from which she would rarely emerge.
Norma Jeane was taken in charge by Grace McKee, the formidable and omnipresent Grace, who never had a child..
So she became the third mother figure of Norma Jeane, who was only aged 8 at that time.
Norma Jeane spent almost all this year in the house of Arbol Street, under the good care of the Atkinsons, and under Grace's control who came to visit her practically every day.
But, to be able to pay the loan payments which were under Gladys name, and on Grace's advise, the Atkinsons sold some furniture to face the bills.
Once again, Norma Jeane had to face important changings, an unexpected upheaval, new behaviors to which she had to comply.
Ida Bolender considered the movie stars as a supreme sin. Gladys had learned her that the movies were a very innocent pleasure because they brought a comfortable salary.
Grace's commitment was more radical. Clara Bow and Jean Harlow (actresses of this era) shouldn't be neither condemned nor only admired : they had to be imitated.
For a 8 years old girl, all those contradictory convictions were hard to accept, to consider.
All her childhood was molded with a succession of contradictions which could only create a guiltiness feeling. The good taste little person Ida had made, tried hard to remain good and pure. The child Gladys came to visit wanted to be nice, wanted to please her mother and reassure her.
The girl Grace took in hand had to leave everything aside to become a complete new person, a written pipe dream, dresses, produced and directed by Grace McKee.
Until this year, Grace had satisfied her maternal instinct on her 2 little nieces ; but the girls had left Los Angeles. And from the grief of Gladys leaving had emerged a sudden and unhoped-for chance : from then on, Grace had a child to raise, construct, educate.
To force the destiny, Grace made Norma Jeane a gingham dress, curled her hair and encouraged her to imitate Mary Pickford's pout.It could be believed that, in view of the financial sacrifices allowed to Norma Jeane's education, the conscious motives of Grace were lacking in greed. Besides, she gave more freedom to the child than this one had ever had.
But freedom, pleasures and advantages Grace gave her weren't whitout compensation.
The woman to who Norma Jeane had to please, to who she owed her safety, bed and place setting, didn't content herself with working in one of the part of "dreams factory".
Grace saw people, real or not, changing their name and even their nature. They were reinvented like she had done for herself during her young years of bohemia, loosing, here and there with lightness and carefreeness, a name or a husband.If only one person had to have been prepared for Hollywood, it was Norma Jeane. She saw the color of Grace's hair changed, and also the lenght of her skirts... Through her work, Grace completely realized the way a woman's appearance could be modified with the make-up, lightning, filters and even shadows. How also, with a simple cut, a not much flattering image could disappear. At her cutting-room, she was perfectly placed to know what the studios were about to launch. What "worked", what the public was waiting for.
In very truth, Grace helped to perfect the illusion. and with a big diligence and an assorted serious, Norma Jeane became the trustee of Grace's knowledge. Taking in charge Norma Jeane's education and training, Grace had finally the opportunity to create a girl the nature had refused to her.
This year, Grace worked at the laboratories of the Columbia. On Saturdays, the fitters worked for 4 hours. Grace had obtained from a friend to get Norma Jeane in , at the laboratory, an hour before the closing. Then Grace did this maternal pride demonstration : "Turn around Norma Jeane, and show the nice man the big knot of your dress in your back. Now, walk this way and turn around. Oh, here's Ella! Norma Jeane, you've met Ella last month. Tell once again to Ella.. she has certainly forgotten, but not you! Tell Ella what you'll become when you'll be older. Tell : "A movie star", honey! Tell her you'll be a movie star!".
Grace it was obvious that Norma Jeane would be a star; and to reach this purpose, she had only one model : Jean Harlow.
To Norma Jeane, the year passed peacefully and tritely, between school, movie showings with Grace and Gladys sporadic visits.
This summer, Norma Jeane saw "Cleopatra" with Claudette Colbert, in a movie theater.
Three times, still on Sundays, Gladys accompanied them at the Ambassador Hotel where they had lunch.
It was an exceptional event, a celebration. Calm, sad and withdrawn, Gladys pecked in her plate, listening to Grace who was chattering. Grace was very proud of the dress she had bought to Norma Jeane and the pink ribbons she had tied to the girl's curls.
Those outings just increased Gladys dizzy turn; then, she felt herself and more than ever, as an incompetent mother. As for Norma Jeane, she watched a woman she had hardly knew changing into a stranger.
During these meetings, Gladys was completely dissociated from the real world, the family to which the doctors tried so hard to confront her. Her visit to her daughter, at Arbol Street, had been as much as unreal.
The Atkinsons, desirious to go back in England, packed.
Downhearted by the idea of being responsible of Norma Jeane and by the guilt-feelings to have disappointed her doctors, her daughter and her friend Grace, Galdys went back (with a haste easily to imagine) to the relative serenity of the hospital.
At least, there, in the comfort of the monotony, not running after glory wasn't considered as an illness. There, she had no duty and her role as a mother was nonexistent. Thus, she could ignore the guilt torments. The real truth was what she saw and heard.
Norma Jeane went back to the Selma Street School ()(3rd grade) (until June 1935).
Gladys house in Arbol Street was put up for sale.
For simple reasons, Grace didn't take Norma Jeane in, at her home. Actually she had decided to become the guardian of the girl, but for this, the State of California requested the evidence of the permanent inability of the natural parents. Moreover, the future adopted had to spend 6 months in an orphanage of the area, waiting for the guardianship to be accepted.
Soon, Grace satisfied the first of the demands : she obtained a statement from Gladys doctors, declaring her as unfit.
Norma Jeane was first placed at Enid and Sam Knebelkamp; Enid was Grace McKee's sister.
Ana Lower, Grace's aunt, also took care of Norma Jeane.
Grace made Gladys transfered to the Norwalk
State Hospital (where Della Monroe, Gladys's own mother, had died).
Actually, Gladys condition being stable, the employees of the Los Angeles General Hospital had declared not being able to take charge of her.
The report of the senior consultant of the Los Angeles General Hospital said : "Her illness is characterized both with her constant religious concerns and with a deep depression and a big agitation. It seems that the illness has reached its chronic stage".
The house of Arbol Street not existing any more, there were no reason to put off the formalisation of Gladys situation.Furthermore, the Norwalk State Hospital had a much better reputation than the Los Angeles General Hospital, in the handling of various cases of mental illnesses. Besides the apathy that had got hold of Gladys, the doctors of the general hospital had been convinced about Glady's illness seriousness by Grace's statements. This one had told about the illegitimate birth of Norma Jeane and the then traditional stories of the mental illnesses which had struck Gladys family, her grandfather Tilford Hogan and her mother Della Mae Monroe.
stayed there until 1938, then changed of hospital.