At sunrise on the 51st anniversary of her death, no one was by Marilyn Monroe's crypt but the cemetery workers and the snails.
To the side of the crypt, someone had taped a long letter addressed to Monroe.
A white van pulled up and a man with a long gray ponytail hopped out.
This one addressed to "CRYPT OF MARILYN MONROE" is from an American fan club.
A bearded man appeared and started taking photos on his phone; I asked him if he was a Marilyn Monroe fan. He said no, he was working on a photography project where he takes one photo each day, and also he was the photographer David Hume Kennerly.
"Somebody is signing her picture — that's weird," he said as he looked at the photo of Monroe autographed by someone else.
Just before Kennerly left, George Vreeland Hill walked up. He's also been working on a project: He films the flowers people leave for Marilyn Monroe. (While I was standing there, he got into a long argument with a man who said there was no video allowed.)
Hill started to leave, but he came back and asked to borrow my pen.
A couple arrived a little after 9 a.m. I watched him take a photograph of her placing a red rose by Monroe's crypt. I asked if I could take a photograph of them, and while they were moving closer together, she started to cry.
At 9:14 a.m., a woman holding three white flowers crossed herself and approached the crypt. At 9:15, she crossed herself again, then took a photo of the grave. A small crowd gathered.
"It it normally like this?" the tourist asked me, gesturing to the flowers.
Jackie Craig, a member of the fan club Immortal Marilyn, carried a Marilyn Monroe purse and was miffed with the lipstick stains on Monroe's grave.
Craig carried the flowers to the chapel for the memorial service.
Ashlee Davis moved the adoring letter that was off to the side and taped it closer to Monroe.
Last year at the 50th anniversary of Monroe's death, Margaret Barrett came to the cemetery for the first time since she was 18.
This is the picture I took when Frank told me I could not take a picture of him.
Olya Kurilo was dressed head-to-ankle in black and ankle-to-toe in spiky green shoes. She carried a small bouquet of pink roses, which she lay on the ground.
Diana Herbert was "about 16" when she met Monroe. They would sometimes see each other at parties.
Monroe's small part involved a canoe. This is a photograph of the actress with Herbert in the '40s.
There were 100 chairs in the chapel for the memorial service, and only a handful were empty.
Monroe's hairdresser was at the memorial, and two actresses from Some Like It Hot spoke, although they didn't know Monroe well.
Several people pointed out the grave of Evelyn Moriarty, Monroe's stand-in and friend. Notably, Moriarty did not list her birth year, because I guess a lady never tells her age.
Taking photos of Moriarty's name, I noticed him for his vest, which was glittering and covered in images of Marilyn Monroe.
By 5 p.m., Jackie Craig and Ashlee Davis were back from the memorial reception, sitting on the bench dedicated to Monroe by her fans.