Thursday, September 1, 2011

From the corners of my mind…My Aunt Marilyn Francis Morris Carter

Marilyn Frances Morris Carter; daughter of Roy Alexander and Marquise Elizabeth Goodspeed Morris; sister of Robert Leroy Morris, Ruth Louise Morris Blimes, and Kenneth Edwin Morris; wife of Ned Darrell Carter; mother of Carolyn Dee Carter Highland, Virginia Lee Carter Puhl, Keith Darrell Carter, and Richard Alan Carter; my Aunt, my friend and my buddy.
One of my first memories of my aunt Marilyn was going to a movie in 1959 in Nelsonville, Ohio at the Majestic theatre, downtown on the square. I was 16 and
Marilyn was 28.
I was born in Nelsonville, Athens, Ohio to Ruth Louise Morris Blimes and Bill Blimes, Sr. in 1943. My dad joined the Navy and was away in the South Pacific fighting for our freedom when I was born. Marilyn was at just the right age to be a babysitter when my Mom needed one. Marilyn and I kind of grew up together and developed a special bond.
Back to the movie at the Majestic. The movie was North By Northwest, a suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason. Now when I say it was a suspense film, if you have seen any Alfred Hitchcock movies, then you know that he is the Master of Suspense!
A Madison Avenue advertising executive, Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant), is mistaken for a Mr. George Kaplan when he summons a hotel bellhop who is paging Kaplan, and is kidnapped by Valerian (Adam Williams) and Licht (Robert Ellenstein).
Knowing that Kaplan has a reservation at a Chicago hotel the next day, Thornhill sneaks onto the 20th Century Limited train. On board, he meets Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint), who hides Thornhill from policemen searching the train.
In an iconic sequence, Thornhill travels by bus to an isolated crossroads, with flat countryside all around and nobody in sight. A man finally arrives, but then takes the next bus. Before he leaves, the puzzled stranger observes that a biplane is "dusting crops where there ain't no crops." The plane soon flies towards Thornhill, and the pilot starts shooting at him.
They fly to Rapid City, South Dakota, where Thornhill (now pretending to be Kaplan) meets Eve and Vandamm in a crowded cafeteria at the base of Mount Rushmore. Thornhill learns that the Tarascan statue contains secrets on microfilm.Vandamm decides to throw Eve out of the airplane when they are flying over water. Thornhill manages to warn her by writing a note inside one of his ROT matchbooks and dropping it where she can find it.
On the way to the airplane, Eve grabs the statue and joins Thornhill. Leonard and Valerian chase them across the top of the Mount Rushmore monument. Valerian lunges at the pair, but falls to his death. Eve slips and clings desperately to the steep mountainside. Thornhill grabs her hand, while precariously holding on with his other hand. Leonard appears and treads on his hand. They are saved when the Professor has a police marksman shoot Leonard, who falls to his death, and Vandamm is arrested.
That is the story in a nutshell. If you want to watch a film full of excitement, adventure and intrigue, get a copy of North By Northwest.
Marilyn and I settled about half way down the theatre on the right side. As the plot developed and the excitement built, Marilyn began making little squeaking noises and reached over and gripped my hand. Half way through the movie she was shrieking and practically sitting on top of me. To say it was embarrassing would be an understatement. She kept saying “I have to leave, I’ve got to get out of here”. I would take her at her word and start to get up to leave- but she would grab me and pull me back into the seat and say, “No, I’ve got to stay to see what happens”. Then as the excitement would build she would start all over again. “I have to leave, I’ve got to get out of here”. I just wanted to get out of there but that was not to be. By the time we got to where Thornhill and Eve were scrambling over Mt. Rushmore and hanging off noses and eyelids, Marilyn was on the point of collapse. But we stayed for the whole thing and we have shared a lot of laughs about this together over the years.
I have many other memories of my aunt Marilyn. Going roller skating with her was always exciting. No matter if we went skating up above Haydenville or down below Nelsonville there would be people there that knew Marilyn and they would start calling for her to do her “trick”. She was a beautiful, graceful skater and she loved to skate. Finally the calls from the other skates would get louder than the music and the owner or manager of the rink would shut off the music and tell her to get out on the floor. He would then put on a waltz style song and she would begin to skate. She was such a smooth skater and she would swoop and glide all over the huge wooden floor. Then she would skate by the manager and he would hand her a kitchen match as she glided by. She would put the match in her mouth and start skating in a big circle that got smaller and smaller. Then she would begin to crouch down lower and lower until she got her mouth down near the floor, suddenly she would touch the match to the floor and it would flare into flame. No matter how many times we saw her do this, it was always magical.
As we aged we stayed close. After I married, she and Sylvia became great friends too. She introduced me to a lifelong interest in birdwatching, square dancing and beachcombing on Manasota Beach, Florida.
One sad day while she was shopping near her Florida home, she suffered a stroke. Her niece, Margaret Morris Daut, found her sitting on a curb near her van. She didn’t know where she was or what had happened. She bounced back from this stroke pretty much the same old Marilyn that we all loved and enjoyed being with. Then a year or two later she had another stroke and this one was life changing for her and for all of us who loved her. She is now, living in a home where she is confined to a wheelchair most of the time. She doesn’t recognize many people including her own children. She does know that Ned is her husband but that is primarily because he goes over every day and helps her eat her meals. Her kids live in Ohio and come down to Florida as often as they are able. She will always be my splendiferous aunt Marilyn.

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