Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Remembering Shirley Temple -- April 23, 1928 – February 10, 2014

Shirley Temple In Glad Rags to Riches, 1933
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

 Learning of the death of Shirley Temple Black this week has thrown me into a nostalgia whirlpool.

Some of my fondest memories as a tweener (ages 9-13) were watching Shirley Temple movies with my Mom on our new-to-us vacuum tube black and white TV given to us by my Dad's boss when he upgraded to the newfangled color TV.  That TV was a monster in a cabinet with doors that was a cube bigger than our washing machine and took nearly as long to warm up as it took the washing machine to fill up.  For several months it resided in the living room but then it was moved into my parent's bedroom where it remained until we moved nine years later just before I turned 18 and Dad decided it was time to upgrade to a used color TV.

Tho Mom had complained of it being an eyesore I think the main reason they moved it out of the living room was so as not to be in-your-face with the occasional visits from certain members of our church--Elders or Ministering Brethren--for whom the decades long prohibition against movie theaters, radio, television and modern music was still much favored though the generation now raising children were easing up on it.  For some reason, in spite of knowing well that history of our Bible Meetings, it had not occurred to me that Mom was seeing the Shirley Temple movies for the first time along with me while in her mid thirties.

Somehow I had mental images of Mom as a child going to the Shirley Temple movies or even watching them on TV--pre WWII mind you.  I suspect this was because, as Mom talked about Shirley Temple being the most popular movie star when she was growing up and how Shirley was only three years older, those images formed in my imagination before I understood about our Meeting's anathema against the entertainment industry or that some of our everyday appliances had not existed when Mom was my age.  Not to mention that a depression era truck farmer with six kids was unlikely to afford movie tickets.

Good-bye Shirley.  I will always remember you as the happy little girl who could put big smiles on Mama's face and provide the two of us with hours of quality Mother/daughter time that included opportunities to talk about and/or soak up by osmosis moral issues like generosity, empathy, duty, honor, integrity, justice, and the power of optimism to trump pessimism and how putting a smile on your face even when you didn't 'feel' it could actually call forth happiness along with optimism.

WOW!  I think I"m in dire need of a Shirley Temple movie marathon.

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