Tuesday, February 11, 2014

R.I.P. SHIRLEY TEMPLE BLACK- Tales Told Out Of School 8.0

(Eighth in a series of tales told out of school, both literally and figuratively, how my Swiss Cheese brain remembers such events which may or may not be accurate at all. Preface: I attended a girls' private prep school in the 1960s with a student body who often mimicked the creativity of that era with its own high spirits, a pendulum reaction to the heavy course load and voluminous homework from which many of us still haven't caught up on lost sleep some forty-plus years on and from which many of us still retain permanently stooped posture via carrying heavy textbooks. Well, it's not like there existed alternatives to those heavy textbooks. We didn't have personal home computers because no one on this particular planet in this galaxy had them yet. So let's roll back the roiling mists of time to The Pleistocene of my youth.)

Highly accomplished, wildly popular actress and United States Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslavakia Shirley Temple Black passed away today. She not only was sufficiently trustworthy to represent her country as ambassador, but also survived extreme child stardom with her head on straight. After a brief teen marriage to handsome John Agar, (an understandable quest for an adult identity,) her next marriage to Charles Alden Black lasted for 54 years, with a normal family life, much philanthropy, work for the Republican party and, to her infinite credit, she was amongst the first celebrities to speak openly about her own breast cancer in 1973.

Ms. Temple as child star with equine friend.

My mother's aunt's daughter went to the Westlake School for Girls at the same time as Ms. Temple Black. The main stories filtering through were that a) she was nice and b) the school stables and horses were situated at the nearby Bel Air Hotel grounds, with students riding down Sunset Boulevard. Ancient history: today Sunset Blvd. is just another winding, congested corridor of West Los Angeles so dangerous that pedestrians can not even cross for that same span from school to hotel; however, the Westlake school uniforms did not change from the tenure of Shirley (pic at top in prep school mufti, circa the 1940s) to my own era (below pic, yours truly circa the 1960s, posing with the school newspaper reporters. I was staff cartoonist.) Carrying hefty bookloads of homework appears to have been a common denominator from the 1940s through 60s...

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