Shirley Temple: America’s Little Princess

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Shirley Temple was America’s sweetheart.  She gave hope and laughter through her films during the Depression and singlehandedly saved a huge movie studio from bankruptcy.  Not to mention in her later life she was the Ambassador to Ghana, Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, and the White House Chief of Protocol under President Gerald Ford.

My mom told me a story about how when she was 10 years old, a boy who had a crush on her said, “You are cuter than Shirley Temple!”  There was no better compliment to pay a little girl in the 1930’s.  Every girl wanted to be Shirley.  It must have been the ultimate compliment because my mom is now 92 years old and still remembers how that made her feel.

Later, I grew up with Shirley Temple as did my mom, and I loved her so much, that while in grade school, I used to tell new kids in class that my name was Shirley.  I confused more than a few people, including the teacher.  My grandparents knew how much I loved her and they bought me an official Shirley Temple doll.  My mom made clothes for her to  match my own clothes.  As far as I was concerned, Shirley was my best friend.  I still have the doll, and upon learning of her death today, I retrieved her from the old Lane chest where I store my childhood treasures.  I knew exactly where she was.  In the old red carrying case.

Shirley Temple carrying case

I opened that case a million times to play with her, but today was different.  Now I knew the real Shirley was gone.  I haven’t changed her clothes in many decades, but I remembered every outfit.

Shirley Temple 1 set of 4

My mom made all her clothes except for the first one with the straw hat, which is the outfit that came with her.  She was supposed to be dressed as “Rebecca of Sunnybrook  Farm.”   All the other clothes you see were copies of my own clothes.

Shirley Temple 2 set of 4

There is nothing more I can say about Shirley Temple that you can’t listen to on the news or read on the internet.   I just wanted to honor her myself and see that doll one more time before I put her away again.  Shirley Temple made the world a happier place, and she certainly added to the joy of my childhood.  She will be missed and loved forever and I join the world in saying thank you for making us smile.  And a little bit of me will always be named Shirley.

6 Responses to Shirley Temple: America’s Little Princess

  1. ShirleyD February 11, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    I don’t think I was named after her – as she’s only 3 years older than I am! Must have been a popular name around that time.

    I did (as a child) have several of the blue glass dishes with Shirley Temple ‘etched?’ on them … and LOVED them. I am guessing they were some kind of premium item that we were able to get with coupons from cereal or whatever. As I grew up I told my Mother I wanted to keep these – and had them in a box in the attic with a few other things. After another move during my single years I also put 2 other boxes up in the attic. When finally back living in the U.S. … I asked if I could have them back and had she saved anything else. Hah … she’d given them to a woman who used to stop by for chat and coffee and collected things! I didn’t dare complain as I know she was lonely and loved having people stop by …but! Then she said ‘oh I have a box of your stuff …. would you believe it was some pyrex pie pans, etc.! So I thanked her .. and I don’t think she ever realized how sad I was!

    • Debbie February 11, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

      Awww, Shirley! What a sad story! You must have loved them a lot to still remember them with such fondness. I bet the dishes were beautiful.

  2. Isabel Lake February 11, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    I was home after my appendix was removed and feeling horrible and my mom turned on the t.v. and there was this tiny little girl signing a song about a ship and a lollipop. The movie was in black and white and already old (to me at least). I sat up somewhat and stopped crying and started signing along with her….RIP Shirley ; (

    • Debbie February 11, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

      It’s impossible to watch Shirley and not smile. So glad she was there when you needed her!

  3. Kim Marsden February 11, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

    Thanks for the post on Shirley Temple. There has never been another child star like her. As a young girl, I remember looking forward to going to the yearly Father/Daughter Elks Club Dinner, where all of us well-dressed, white gloved, young ladies would happily sip away on our ‘Shirley Temples’. So,I raise my glass to a remarkable woman, Shirley Temple Black, who has blessed many with good memories.

    • Debbie February 11, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

      I bet a lot of people ordered a Shirley Temple in her honor. My girls went out tonight to do just that!

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