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Patty’s Ponderings-On The Good Ship Lollipop

Carmela and Jon Ryden
Photo courtesy of Georgie Opitz

My sister Carmela has been happily married for 25 years to one of the best guys I’ve ever known. Jon has become more than an in-law, he is a real brother to me. No marriage is perfect but theirs is amazing, considering what they’ve gone through over the last year and the example our parents set.

Shirley Temple Black, who passed away on Monday night at 85, was happily married to her husband, Charles, for almost 55 years.

The reason I mention both of these wonderful women and their husbands is that I cannot think of one without conjuring up an image of the other- -but only in regard to relationships with men. Shirley Temple was one of the biggest stars in the world in the 1930s. No other child star has reached that zenith and she did it all fully clothed and minus a wrecking ball! My memories of her are like a lot of people’s–filtered through my parent’s recollections and her old movies.

She starred in the movie “Bright Eyes” when she was an adorable 5-year-old and sang one of her most famous songs, “The Good Ship Lollipop”. She did a boisterous, giddy, cherubic, winsome, “golly-gee-whiz” and “aw shucks” performance. Appropriate for a near toddler in a musical.

Carmela, during her single years, (high school, college and her 20’s) on the other hand, would weirdly morph into Shirley Temple, whenever a boy she liked was around! She would pull her shoulders together, cock her head to one side, bat her long eyelashes and look up at them in adoration.

Being the evil sibling that I am, if I was anywhere in proximity to one of these encounters, I would start singing, “The Good Ship Lollipop” and re-creating Shirley Temple’s choreography to indicate to Carmela what an over-saccharine, bumbling dolt I thought she was.

On the good ship lollipop.
Its a sweet trip to a candy shop
Where bon-bons play
On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay.

She hated it. She hated me. She would occasionally laugh, but she ultimately hated it. Come to think of it she was kind of cute in her dorkiness and the last laugh is on me. She found her guy. I’m still single. Maybe I should take a tip from Shirley, huh?

Read another of Patty's stories here


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