Tag Archives: Shirley Temple

Shirley You Remember!

43 Years old

She looks great, even after 43 years!

For many years, twenty-three to be exact, I stored my daughter’s classic Shirley Temple doll from 1972. Left behind when Heidi set out for college, I dutifully found a safe spot for Shirley to wait, gently pulling a clear plastic bag over her head. Couldn’t have those beautiful curls covered with dust!

I’d check on Shirley once in a while. But she never ran away or got dirty. Good girl. A big Shirley Temple fan myself, I thought of the doll when I wrote my latest cozy mystery, A Stitch in Crime, placing her on a shelf in my fictional antique store. That dolly needed a little outing, for pity’s sake.

Recently, Shirley was on my mind again. I invited my eight-year-old grandgem, Sidney, to watch a few YouTube clips of the curly-topped moppet singing & dancing. My girl was entranced. Soon my daughter stopped by & watched, too. I glanced at her & she looked at me, both of us emitting mutual “awws.” Amid the craziness of today’s world, I’d missed this sweet, sweet innocent darling from long ago, represented by those uplifting movies and that collectible doll.

When I asked Sidney if she’d like to have her mom’s doll, her face lit up. “Yes, please, Gramsey. Can you send her tomorrow?”

Sidney & Package

Sidney can’t wait to open her package.

“I’ll be traveling tomorrow, honey. Maybe the next day? Or Wednesday?”

“Tuesday?” she asked, hopeful.

I did my best & my best was Wednesday. However, I decorated the mailing label with a pic of a Shirley doll & sent a video message from the very doll I’d just put in the box & mailed. Sidney emailed me back, thanking me for the video & saying she & her little brother were cracking up.

Today, Sidney & Shirley were joyfully united. I hope she’ll treasure this new little friend. Maybe one day, she can pass it on to her own daughter. Meanwhile, I’m hunting for Shirley Temple DVDs to fill in the cultural blank. I think her heart will welcome knowing about a time when America’s Sweetheart enchanted all the country & uplifted us during a troubled time.

Sidney & Shirley

New mommy, Sidney Anne, with her own Shirley Temple doll.

Next up? Pollyanna!

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Paper Memories

Today I bought a Christmas gift for my four-year-old granddaughter. A set of prince and princess paper dolls. With a modern twist. True, they are fashioned with the familiar flatness of old, but made out of wood rather than cardboard and their whimsical-woody-wardrobes attach to each form magnetically.

Nice. No paper hinges to tear off at the dress’s shoulders and sides. No ruining your favorite paper doll by coaxing her cardboard cuteness into a chair, bending her at the backside and knees.

Not that I ever did such a thing.

As the sales clerk rang up my gift, we reminisced about how we’d once played with our paper dolls until the edges were frayed and worn with wear. She mentioned having an entire set of the lovely Lennon Sisters (as Lawrence Welk used to say).

“Lucky you,” I said. “I used to channel Janet Lennon, singing ‘Getting to Know You’ all around the house, hoping to be discovered.”

The clerk laughed, understanding.

I added, “Of course, that was after I’d channeled Shirley Temple and retired ‘On the Good Ship Lollipop.’”

Her eyes lit up. “I had Shirley Temple, too!”

Wow. I don’t remember having celebrity paper dolls. But I didn’t suffer. Every month I looked forward to carefully cutting out the Betsy McCall doll and her fashion-forward outfits from Mother’s latest McCall’s magazine. I glued Betsy to some thick paper, trimming away the excess, so she’d last until next month’s issue.

When I turned ten, my artist-mom made original paper dolls to give all the guests at my birthday party. She spent days sketching and coloring and cutting. Every doll had an extensive wardrobe and boy-oh-boy, were the girls ever awed to receive something so special. No one else’s mother attempted such a feat. I felt as famous as Shirley Temple for many days after that.

And now, years and years later, it’s time to introduce the current version of paper dolls to Sidney Anne.

Welcome to my world, little one.

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