Q. My mother told me that Marilyn Monroe was born an orphan at The Edna Gladney Home in Fort Worth and that after she was adopted, Marilyn spent some of her childhood growing up in my mother’s East Dallas neighborhood. Is this right? F.A., Garland.
A. We don’t know which Marilyn Monroe your mother knew, but it wasn’t the same woman who became the sex goddess of the Fifties. That Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jean Baker in 1926 in Los Angeles. She was orphaned as a child, but she was never adopted out of the Gladney Home. Miss Monroe died in 1962, so this year marks the 55th anniversary of her birth. Incidentally, a sometime Dallas resident, Greer Garson, immortalized Edna Gladney on film in Blossoms in the Dust, a film about the home for unwed mothers founded by Mrs. Gladney in Fort Worth.
Q. A friend of mine tells me that the North Texas Commission, the same folks that gave us D/FW Regional Airport, is working on getting us a spaceport to be built near Waxahachie. It seems like a logical step, what with the space shuttle and all. R.C., Duncanville.
A.Sorry to disappoint you, but the nation’s only spaceport being built right now is in Southern California. That doesn’t mean that a spaceport can’t be built here sometime in the future, reports a spokesman for the North Texas Commission, but it won’t be anytime soon. Look at how long it took Dallas and Fort Worth to agree on building a joint airport. You’ll have to be satisfied with that.
Q. I’ve lived in Dallas almost all my life, and for years I’ve dialed the time and temperature number sponsored by Republic National Bank. I swear that the same man has been doing that for all these years. Who is he, and how does Republic operate the number? R.P., Farmers Branch.
A. Don Elliot Heald is the man’s name, and his voice has probably been heard more than any in history. Heald, a professional announcer who lives in Atlanta, has provided the Republic National Bank voice since the time and temperature recording was set up in the late Forties. He also provides time and temperature recordings for 1600 U.S. cities and 400 cities overseas. Republic says it gets more than six million calls a month to the 844-number. The calls are handled by Southwestern Bell.
Q. A friend of mine from Fort Worth and I are having a big argument. I say that by the year 2000, Arlington will be bigger than Fort Worth. He says there’s no way that can happen. Please tell him he’s living in a dying city, and I’m living in the city of no limits. F.S., Arlington.
A. Of course, no one can predict what’s going to happen during the next 20 years, but there is statistical support for your argument that Arlington will be bigger than Fort Worth at the turn of the century. Fort Worth lost population during the last decade, while Arlington grew at combustible rates. Arlington almost doubled its population in the Seventies, growing from 90,000 to 160,123. In so doing, it cracked the nation’s top 100 largest cities. Fort Worth shrank from 393,000 to 385,141. Arlington also has lots of room to grow and conceivably could overtake Fort Worth in the population derby. No matter the numbers, though, Fort Worth is not a dying city.
Q. I drive to work on the North Dallas Tollway, and every morning, they change things up on me. Who decides how many lanes are open at the toll booths? How much money does it collect in a day? Will I ever get to ride free on the tollway? B.K., Dallas.
A. It’s up to tollway su-pervisors to determine how many lanes are used during the rush hours, according to a Texas Turnpike Authority spokesman. Those rush-hour needs can change several times a morning or afternoon, and no two days are the same. The tollway collects more than $18,000 a day in quarters, on the average. Last year, more than $6.5 million was tossed into the tollway boxes. The bad news: The tollway most likely will not become toll-free until 2005. That’s when the bonds used to finance the tollway a decade ago become due.