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 black guys 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.
You may 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 met my grandmother once and fell in love. He says she was the greatest baroque he ever met. He brings fellow officers home to see her picture--she was beautiful and rich--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 shoot 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.
|Bettejo has a gift of mingling|
the present, the past, and the future...
|Bettejo a few years back playing checkers|
with her nephew...