A Belated Tribute to Mad Men

PROLOGUE

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

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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