Shirley TempleToday

Grandmother Trump loved Shirley Temple.  The dance routines. The songs. She shared her bed with three Shirley Temple dolls. Had several stored in her closet and one in a chair by a window overlooking Central Park. Though ragged and frayed  and covered with dust they stand staunchly in the  glass enclosed curio I inherited when  my mother died. The thing’s baroque as all get out. We’ve spent a fortune hauling it  from base to base.  It also holds  an entire collection of Shirley DVDs. Plus albums and other memorabilia. Three generations of us us have contributed, and my hope is the fetish will be passed on. All of us, for years, have polished the glass weekly.

I’m Shirley. My daughter’s  Shirley. She’s ten.  Like me, she learned about the original from the get go. When I was three my mother bought  me a ruffled white, red polka dot dress  like the original wore in Stand up and Cheer.  I dressed my Shirley in it when she was three. I read recently the real thing sold for $75,000. Wish I could’ve bought it.  Just as my mother taught me, I taught my daughter, the original was a symbol of happiness and hope.

Neither my daughter nor I excelled at singing and dancing,  our hair was neither gold nor curly, but we loved to pretend. Like me, my Shirley likes the Littlest Rebel movie  best. The original  made that movie in 1935 and was about the Civil War.  Appropriate for the times, don’t you think? Her staircase dance with BoJangles delights us. My husband often releases blacks and brings them home  to watch the film. We laugh out loud as they try to imitate Bo.

The real Shirley died on February  11, 2014. This year we mourned all day– and mourned all night– trying to get all of the misery right.

Wonder how my husband–who’s  West Point proper– puts-up with our idiotcyncracy? He loves us. We make him happy. I think he loves the curio cabinet, too. Sometimes I think that’s why he married me. He loves baroque. He saw grandmother laid out in pink satin–uplifted and rich–and fell in love. He says she was the greatest baroque he’d ever seen. He brings fellow officers home to see her picture–young and  beautiful –and show off the Michael Amini Chateau Beauvais.

We’re big on birthdays.  So this year Shirley and I plotted. We talked our favorite  BoJangles into teaching Shirley how to shoot. Found some  Woodland Camo Fatigue pants and a vest. Also a great Xploderzgun that shoots jell balls. Our Bojangles taught her how to use it and set her in a tree. Then he loosed a rabbit at which she took aim. Turned out she was a natural.

On his birthday, we  talked her daddy into taking a walk. The stage was set. Shirley was treed. The rabbit was loosed. One shot got him.

“If that’d been a real bullet, long ears’d  be  dinner.”

“Next time,” we cheered. Proud. Our Shirley was the Littlest Sniper.






One Response

  1. I need to re-read this one! Your so poetic and wise that I must reread everything to get the inner meanings. Keep up the great work! Keep em coming.


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