I grew up watching Shirley Temple as a child. I bet you did too. While we age and time runs from us, death of great icons really bring us something to be grateful for, to see our lives differently or to realize just how someone affected you, more powerfully than you knew. Shirley Temple did that for me. I’m so grateful to be of age where I will remember the sweetness of her childhood song and dance etched into my inner child. She simply brought pleasure to millions through an innocence that is lost so quickly among our girls.
I was born in Czechoslovakia and Shirley Temple’s position as US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia made her especially dear to my heart. I grew up in Miami in a predominately Latino community and in my neighborhood nobody heard of Czechoslovakia. “Checka-who?” In fact, I specifically recall my 4th grade teacher spelling it “Checkoslovakia”.
So, when the Czechoslovakian government fell in 1989, my birth country was finally in the news and in my mind, on the map. When Shirley Temple took ambassadorship, however, I felt especially proud. She added a magical quality of representation to this country no one seemed to know during my youth – and everyone knew Shirley Temple. And, it wasn’t so much that Temple was famous as was the fact that her presence, her history, her movies made people feel a sense of joy. Joy is good!
However, what Temple has achieved in her adult life is far more impressive than her child star success and her legacy extends far beyond her child star image.
Shirley Temple’s life achievements include:
– Ambassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia
– First female Chief of Protocol of the United States
– Acting as Representative to the 24th United Nations General Assembly
As a native Czechoslovakian turned American citizen, what an honor it was to have Shirley Temple act as a liaison between two lands that I love. More importantly, Temple was a graceful, feminine and intelligent role model to many women and little girls. Sadly, culture has moved us to Honey-Boo-boo, a poor quality child star. We can do better, can’t we? I think a little sweetness in little girls is just fine to nurture. Shirley Temple is a fantastic symbol to what little girl sweetness can become!