What do you know about Shirley Temple?
When I learned yesterday that Shirley died at the age of 85, I emailed The Hurricane about it. (We try to let each other know about important news events. She told me when Osama bin Laden was killed, and I told her about Shirley Temple -- no relation.)
The Hurricane replied, I didn't know she was alive.
I think The Hurricane and Favorite Young Man have some inkling of who Shirley Temple was, but I'm not sure. I never showed them her movies.
I was not yet born during Shirley's heyday, but when I was a teenager, a local TV station showed an old movie every Sunday. One week it would be Tarzan, and the next week, Shirley Temple.
That's how Shirley and I became friends. I can't tell you the plots of any of her movies. She usually seemed to be an orphan of some sort who carried on in the face of disaster and, in the meantime, reunited some estranged couple, fought wars, ended them, traveled the Amazon, became President of the United States -- oops! I'm getting Shirley confused with Teddy Roosevelt.
I have a favorite Shirley Temple movie. I don't know what it's about, but it's called The Little Colonel. I had heard of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson because The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band sang Mr. Bojangles on one of their albums. I finally saw Mr. Bojangles in action when he and Shirley danced together in The Little Colonel, from 1935.
It's not easy to dance on stairs.
Bill Robinson said that Shirley could learn a dance by listening to his taps.
I also remember Shirley's forays into politics when I was a young woman. I believe she was President Reagan's Chief of Protocol for a while and was appointed to an ambassadorship by President Ford.
When I get to Heaven and Shirley and I can sit down for a talk, I want to ask her two questions:
- Shirley, did you keep on dancing when you were older? Did you ever dance a step or two up the stairs of your house, or did you dance for your children?
- How did you stop yourself from killing your parents when you found out they'd squandered your fortune? I never heard you say anything bad about them, but it must have been quite a shock when you went to collect your millions and they turned out to be $44,000. (Mr. Temple managed Shirley's money. Supposedly the family lived on what Mrs. Temple was paid for working with Shirley on movie sets; however, they lived in a lavish mansion, made bad investments, "loaned" money to friends and relatives, and did not make the required deposits to Shirley's trust fund.) Shirley, you must have been one of the most forgiving people ever.
When I was in college, a friend showed me her mother's original Shirley Temple doll. It wasn't a reproduction from the fifties. It was the real thing, and it was in perfect condition.
Now, how about you? Did you, like The Hurricane, not know that Shirley Temple was still alive? Do you have any memories of Shirley Temple?
Infinities of love,