This project – a project very near and dear to my heart – my last ode to Mad Men – is now yesterday’s (or rather a week and a half ago’s) news. The buzz about the series finale has quieted to a whisper among die-hard fans or those behind on their DVRs. Everything I know about the Internet and blogging and Google and the immediacy and timeliness of it all tells me I need to let this project go and write it off as a series of unfortunate mishaps, time and money and energy I’ll never get back. But I refuse to let this project die in the depths of my external hard drive. So, without further ado, I present my final tribute to Mad Men: Marie in Manhattan, a short story of a woman whose life ran parallel to Peggy and Joan.
MARIE IN MANHATTAN
Marie moved to Manhattan in the fall of 1965, just a few weeks before her twenty-second birthday. She came to New York City with the hope of becoming a writer. To pay the bills, Marie took a job as a secretary. Although typing company memos and contracts wasn’t the best use of Marie’s written skills, she was a capable typist no matter what the content. Her personal record was 48 words per minute.
After nearly two years in New York, Marie hadn’t made much progress with her career, but she had made new friends and met a man, Paul Miller. Paul was an associate editor at The New Yorker, and he was certain he could make Marie a star. He told her she was the next Pauline Kael.
By the summer of 1968, Marie had her foot in the door at The New Yorker. They had published one of her short stories titled “The Dandy Game,” which was a witty anecdote about the life of a secretary in New York City. Before the piece was published, Paul pulled some strings, and Marie came into the office to meet with the Editor-in-Chief. “You’ve got a spark,” he said, “don’t lose it.”
On a warm Sunday in the spring of 1969, Paul proposed, and Marie said yes. Planning a wedding would be a welcome distraction from her career. Monday morning Marie returned to work. It didn’t take long for her co-workers to learn of her engagement. “Congratulations!” exclaimed Anna, whose desk was adjacent to Marie’s, “You don’t have to worry about being a writer anymore, you’ve got a ring!”
Shot on location in the Garment District of Manhattan courtesy of Breather.