I have been deeply saddened by the daily reports of deaths in the news. Some of whom have passed I knew personally and some I’ve simply, but profoundly, been inspired by.
I won’t speak about the folks I knew personally because that’s…well…personal. So I choose to focus on the passing of Shirley Temple Black.
No one…and I reiterate…no one…dealt with adversity like our Shirley. When I began watching her movies her career had been over for a good three decades…but how was I to know that? Thus the beauty of television. You can be sitting in your living room in the 70’s thinking you’re watching some extremely entertaining television show in the present when in fact it was shot and enjoyed and cancelled in the 50’s.
And so it was with Shirley. The darling of the 30’s.
I was a child of adversity. And watching Shirley deal with her varying degrees of it…she was always either orphaned at the beginning of the films she appeared in or soon to be after the opening credits…inspired me. Gave me strength. And that she was forever finding herself in the company of folks dealing with their own degree of adversity…folks she helped see the sunshine in the midst of severely cloudy lives…even as she struggled to deal with her own clouds of extreme gray…made it all the better. Because she willed herself into being the silver lining of every storyline. And that…more than anything else…impressed me. That we can will ourselves into being the silver lining of our own and others stormy situations.
I am forever grateful to Shirley Temple, the advent of television, and the strength they both gave me when I needed them. Desperately.