The Tale of Little Miss Shirley Temple and the Barber

Yesterday as I sat at the dinner table eating dinner with my family, I had an idea. We were all laughing and talking and retelling the old family legends. I call them legends because, we are storytellers. And often stories “develop” as the years go by. Everyone remembers things just a little differently. For the most part these stories are true, it’s just the details that often become skewed with time. At any rate as we were remembering some family favorites my dad made a comment about how if anyone were listening to us they would think we were quit a bunch of crazies, and that someone could write a book of all our crazy stories!

My friends often tell me I should write more of our stories so here is my idea. Over the next week I am setting a goal to do a post a day. Each day I will share one story. It should be fun. So stay tuned…

I thought I would start with of my dad’s stories, he was a master storyteller and never seemed to lack material. This was one of my personal favorites.


             The Tale of Little Miss Shirley Temple and The Barber

When my dad was quite little, just about five years old, he had two good friends, one was a boy named Larry, and one was a little girl named Molly. They often played together. In fact my dad remembers his mom catching him in the act of trying to give Molly an enema in the outhouse when the two of them were about three. He would often go in the backyard of Larry’s house and call up to his window to tell him to come play. Father was a prankster, not mean, but often not very smart about the pranks or the games that he played.

He wasn’t being mean when he made Larry eat a frog,  and he really did forget about him the day he left him tied to the rafters in the barn all afternoon during a rousing game of cowboys and Indians. He was too young to be held responsible for dumping a whole quart full of tomato juice on his baby sister in her crib and the day he and Aunt Sylvia started his dad’s chest hair on fire while he was napping truly was an accident. How were they to know that if they lit a match and dropped in the tangle of hair that it would catch fire? So no, he wasn’t a bad child…just mischievious.

On this particular day, Larry and Father were playing in the yard when Molly came over. She was all dressed up in her best dress and her hair done up in curls. She was going to be the next Shirley Temple. She had a very good singing voice and was on her way to the radio station to sing on the radio. She had come to show off her new look to her friends.

As the kids sat playing in the barn, my dad saw the sheep shearers laying nearby. “He lets play barber!” he said

“You be the barber and I’ll be your customer” said Molly

One by one her blond ringlets fell to the floor as my dad clipped them, first one short then one long.

“Leave this one here in the front for my Grandma,” said Molly, hanging on to one of her ringlets. “She loves my curls”

When the job was done, Molly took one look around at all her curls laying on the ground around her and burst into tears before she ran home.

My dad went home as well and was peacefully playing in the kitchen when he saw Molly and her grandma approaching the front door. Granny had Molly by her one ringlet and was dragging her along. Father slid under the bed, hoping to avoid the consequences that he knew were coming.

Granny and Molly game in the door and Granny shoved Molly’s head towards Father’s Mother. “Look what he did,” she yelled, “Just look what your son did!” From under the bed he could just see Molly’s feet running back and forth trying to keep up with her grandma’s vigorous shoving.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Don’t have little boys…and if you do have little boys just know that when they hide under the bed, there is probably a really good reason.

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