Shirley Temple was an American Valentine

Valentine’s Day is almost here . . . I hope everyone who wanted one got one of our Love Banners … I hung one on the door in my studio where I display some of the wonderful letters I get from kids.  Just seems to fit right in there.


As lots of you know, a national treasure passed away yesterday.  Shirley Temple, in case you missed it, died at age eighty-five.

love nostalgicLike so many of you, my mom introduced me to Shirley when I was a little girl ~ we would watch her movies and sing her songs while we hung clothes on the line or did dishes; we knew all the words.  We could do a Shirley Temple singalong in our backyard.

shirley temple


Yesterday we started what’s turned out to be an unexpected memorial for Shirley on our Facebook page  — everyone is remembering how they “met” her.  I don’t think it’s slowed down yet today . . . in case you’re in the mood to read happy memories about the joy one little girl brought to the world, we have a lovely representation on FOSB.  Here she is dancing her heart out, as adorable as always . . .

She was and is a kind of fairytale hero to me.  Her movie characters were always brave, strong, wily, and self-sufficient.  In her films wholesome goodness won out girlfriendsover meanness and evil every time.  I liked the way life looked through her eyes.  If you have a young daughter or granddaughter, this would be a most excellent way to share something beautiful . . .  to give them not only Shirley, but wonderful old movies in general, for a lifetime of happy tears, romance, something to do on a rainy day and a lovely way to escape from harsher realities of life.  We all need to take a break sometimes, kids need to learn how that’s done and this is the perfect way to show them how to supply themselves with a world the way they want it to be. During the depression and even when President Kennedy was shot (among other trying times in our history)  . . . who was it that kept the home fires burning?  Shirley Temple, always there on film, filling us with her contagious joy.

miss-shirley-temple:</p><br /><br /> <p>Sassy Shirley Temple is Sassy.<br /><br /><br />

She went on to lead a fulfilling life and bring even more honor to her country.  This is Shirley when she’s around three or four in Baby Take a Bow, one of her first movies (Hasn’t he got everything . . .♫).


 I met Shirley Temple in person when I was eight.  She was grown up and married, she was Shirley Temple Black and looked more like she did in The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer.  I’d gone to work with my best friend Karen and her Shirley Templedad — he painted sets at NBC Studios in Burbank, it was Saturday and he had to go pick something up so he took us along.  Shirley was walking down the hall. In high heels and a suit with long curled hair, all grown up.  She  bent over to us to say hello.  I could hardly believe that the person I’d loved for as long as I could remember was right in front of me.  But the dimples were a giveaway. Of course I was awestruck and couldn’t wait to get home and tell my mom. ♥  Shirley sparkled through my childhood, for the world and now she’s gone.  But she left behind a lovely light.  Goodbye dear Shirley, and thank you.  You were the perfect person to grow up with.



“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

No, it cannot.  And look what I got yesterday, just a little reminder.  A preview ~ of course I had to show you . . . the new spring banners that Janie is making for us right now.  It’ll probably be a couple of weeks before we get them, but I had to show you, because LOOK, Lambs!  Adorable, with the little card and envelope —  don’t you think?

bunnies in spring

And Bunnies!  Which I immediately hung in my window, flinging spring right into the snow’s face!  The lambs are the normal size you are used to . . . the bunnies are quite a bit bigger — but they too have the cute envelope and card so you can send them to lucky friends and drape them in your kitchen windows.

Feb 2011 083

My bunny boy and I are going to be off island celebrating Valentine’s Day on old Cape Cod.   The next day (Saturday, the 15th) we’ll be at Costco in Avon, MA signing A FINE ROMANCE from 1 to 3 in the afternoon.  So if you’re a Costco member, come by and say hello!  Don’t leave me there alone!

isn't it romantic


We’re going on the ferry, even though it still pretty much looks like this outside.  I’ll be wearing my sea bands even for the forty-five minute ride, because we’re expecting crazy winds and more of everything cold, wet, drizzly, frozen, drenching and blowing.

I turned in my very last calendar just this morning.  In the nick of time.  But they are done!  2015 is buttoned up, calendar wise.  As soon as I have the artwork in bloggable form, I’ll give you a little preview!  I get to go write a new book!  As soon as I figure it out, I’ll tell you what it is!

Kitty Love

One more thing before I go . . . A quilt to brighten your day . . .

flower garden

Pamela, one of our Girlfriends wanted to see a bigger picture of the quilt I posted a few days ago in front of the snowy window in my studio.  So here it is.


flower gardenThis may be my favorite quilt of all the ones I have . . . or at least close.  Love this design called Grandmother’s Flower Garden and the colors and the way this quilter left a white space in the middle of the flower and used the same fabric all around it on every one of them …. and look at all the wonderful vintage fabrics.

little things

OK, gotta go pack and do kitty kissing for a while.  We’ve got a good kitty sitter coming to stay here while we’re away.  Big and brawny kitty sitter, but sweet as pie when it comes to kitties.  When we get home I’ll get busy on that promised giveaway.  I haven’t forgotten — just trying to be in a spot where I’ll be able to moderate, not in a Fine Romance Van out in a storm somewhere!  Wish us luck! Happy Valentine’s Day Girlfriends! 


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301 Responses to Shirley Temple was an American Valentine

  1. Crystal says:

    How exciting to have met Shirley Temple. My grandmother and I watched many of her movies together when I was little. The Little Darling collection has been on my Amazon wish list for a while now. Heidi is my favorite. I am looking forward to the lamb garland. Hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day.

  2. Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

    So, what kind of weather are you getting there today (Friday?), Susan? It seems like the South and East Coast are getting our snow this year and we are just plain Siberia-like cold. Strange…Weatherman predicts warmer temps here next week and we know eventually it has to warm up…Have you ever thought of writing an autobiography? Just a suggestion… 🙂 That would then leave Winter, Spring, Pancakes, the Christmas Story, and by then you would be ready for a trip and another travelog…never a dull moment!

    • sbranch says:

      We are on the cusp of everything. Ten miles one way or another makes the difference. Half the Cape is in snow, half in rain. It’s been worse, much worse here. I think you have my book projects lined up pretty well Pat!

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        She forgot the TEA book! Please don’t forget the tea book 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Oh I haven’t. Believe it or not, I have stacks of paper and art in chunks around my studio. Here’s the Tea Book, here’s the Pancake Book, here’s How to Raise a Creative Child, here’s How to Ride the Train, here’s Holly Oak, here’s Christmas … and on and on… Need more hours in the day!

          • Chris Wells Knickerbocker, W TX says:

            You know Susan, I am pretty sure we will buy WHATEVER you write! It matters little what you decide to write first. We all have our preferences about which book we would like to see first….but let’s face it, we are going to buy all of them! It’s too hard to hunt and search for those out of print books….it’s much easier to buy those first addition. 🙂
            Love you, stay safe……and warm. And I would get to Cosco, blizzard or not, if you were there!

          • sbranch says:

            You’re a sweetie Chris, xoxo you came from Texas to see me (among others 🙂 ), that was pretty darn wonderful …

          • Debbie P. ~ Weedsport, NY says:

            …or a magic wand 🙂

          • sondra fox says:

            Dearest Susan, Your mind must be whirling around all the time with those creative thoughts. It’s difficult, I’m sure, to make up your mind on what you want to do next. Good that you know how to relax as well. May you never run out of creative thoughts. May you always enjoy all of your many blessings. I know you do. There are many people who don’t know what to do with their day, ‘ya know. I think it would be torture to not have things that interest me, things to do, places to see. The world is a stage. Looks to me like you discovered that a long while ago, maybe at the age of two? (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

          • sbranch says:

            Looking back it seems that way, but when I was thirty-two I was worried sick I was never going to find my spot in the world.

  3. Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Susan & Joe! ♡ What an adventure you will have! Enjoy old Cape Cod. Wishing you a safe ferry ride, a wonderful TV interview, a lovely, romantic celebration, and a busy book signing filled with happy Girlfriends!
    Best of all ~ you and Joe will be together for this adventure! Safe travels!
    Warm hugs,

  4. Holly says:

    I love your flower garden quilt. I hand stitched a flower garden quilt top about 30 years ago, while my babies napped. I forgot about it! Another to add to finish list.

    Add me to the list of those who are glad you’re staying home today. I had to smile when I read Jack’s note. He sounds like mine used to. Dad has Alzheimer’s and is just 74, and now we tell him how to be safe, or to stay warm…. etc.

    • sbranch says:

      You have a hand-stitched flower garden top lying around? How wonderful Holly! So sorry, your dad is much to young for that.

  5. Carrie says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day Susan! You are the best!!

  6. Deborah Heater (IN) says:

    HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY EVERYONE!! I was so sorry to see where Shirley Temple passed away. I think she was the sweetest most precocious child (she was an old soul as a child and nowadays most children are this way), Shirley was so ahead of her time. My M-I-L had every movie (VHS) and she introduced Angela to her which made another generation fall in love with her. Angela now owns all the movies and I’m not sure if they could be burned on DVDs or not? I told Angela the news this week and she was genuinely saddened and said she loved Shirley and all her movies. I’m not kidding you Susan, Angela knows every song and could play every part. I have a navy cereal bowl and cup (with her pic on it) that probably came in a box of soap (remember that)? This bowl/cup was my Grandmother’s and I will always cherish it. I truly think Shirley grew up to be a lovely woman and she always looked like the younger version of herself up to the end. RIP

    • sbranch says:

      They can be made into CD’s very easily. Our local Radio Shack does it, but my girlfriend Lowely got a machine for Christmas that does it too … really easy.

      • sondra fox says:

        GF’s, there are some Shirley Temple movies & clips on YouTube. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

      • Deborah Heater (IN) says:

        I knew there would be technology to do this and will be sure to tell Angela (I’m sure she already knows this)….I need to recant my original statement about having a Shirley Temple cup, I took a closer look and it is actually a small milk pitcher! Hope everyone is surviving this Winter weather? I have been house bound this entire winter and must say the snow and ice makes that much easier to endure. Now, not wanting to be a downer but if I don’t ever see another flake of snow it will not devastate me!! I have teased Pat M. that she put a spell on IN and we are getting MN weather this year; but, I don’t think even Pat has that much power?? HA Stay warm and we are one day closer to Spring which is all that keeps me from pulling the covers over my head! Have a great week everyone, OK, the weather report just said freezing rain and a mix of everything Ole Man Winter can “blow” at us tomorrow (I’m headed for the covers I tried to be optimistic)….. :-O

  7. Kim Campbell says:

    I used to wake p early before my mom and watch old Shirley Temple movies. My favorite is The Little Princess. I still have my copy of the book, too. I also loved her in Since You Went Away.

  8. Annette McD says:

    Shirley, You tap-danced your way into our hearts and there you forever will be. God bless you and give you peace.

  9. Janie Phillips says:

    I meant to leave you a comment here, but I put it on the Woman’s Home Companion post instead, which is further proof that I no longer know where I am in the continuum of things! 🙂 Loved seeing the banners. A big thank you to everyone who left a nice comment about them! xoxo

  10. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Susan and Joe, I’m sending Valentines Day wishes your way! Hope you have a cozy day on the Cape and a fun signing at Costco tomorrow. I hope, too, that your hatches are battened…sounds like you may be in for very high winds tonight. Stay safe!

  11. Jack says:

    Don’t forget the killer wind — blows down iced power lines and trees , already killed more than 20 people……

    • sbranch says:

      I’m not forgetting. 🙂 We made it over, but I think we won’t be getting back tonight as we’d planned!

      • judi says:

        ouuww, I don’t think so 🙁

        • sondra fox says:

          Oh Susan, I’m concerned. The TV News looks just horrible, like blizzards were, when I was a child, in the forties. Hip high snow. Well, I was shorter then. I trust you to know that you’ll take care of you two. Stay safe. Knowing you, you two will make this into an adventure story.(Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

      • Ann Jane Koerber says:

        Isn’t that just like a Dad…………worried about his daughter taking that ferry back to the island with a blizzard in the forecast! Well, was glad to see his comment and yours because I was worried too….of course, the ferry wouldn’t tempt it anyway. Have fun wherever you are – this storm is short-lived – at least here in Western MA. We’re leaving for Florida tomorrow morning for 3 weeks and I’m REALLY looking forward to it!……

  12. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    good morning everyone, just popping in to wish everyone a very Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Happy Valentine’s Day!!!! hugs …… 🙂

  13. GF Michele says:

    As soon as I heard she passed, I thought of you and anticipated a wonderful tribute from you to her and for us! Thank you for that. Even though I am 37 and another generation, I so appreciated Shirley. I always loved singing and dancing (still do) and I was taken by how young and talented she was. She was most definitely special to the world!

    • sbranch says:

      I hope she gets passed down to every generation so they can feel that sweetness no matter how rough things might get. xox

  14. GF Michele says:

    P.S. It would be nice to see a “Gardening According to Susan Branch” book with flowers, vegetables, all of it! Then recipes/ideas on how you use what you grow? Just my 2 cents 😉

    • sbranch says:

      Oh that would be fun!

      • judy says:

        That would be part of the SPRING book as I suggested earlier–:-)

      • sondra fox says:

        Dear Susan, Maybe all these ideas we GF’s have for new books, will lead to books being authored by some of the GF’s who think they’re not writers, or artists. Perhaps lead them to make some books on their own, using their own creativity, sparking new authors out there? What do you think? (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  15. Pat Johnson from Paso Robles, CA says:

    Shirley Temple – Oh, how I remember too!~ And while I was watching the clips of her singing and dancing, my little Sophia (age: 18 mos young) was sitting on my lap, making her hands go and mesmerized by the tap dancing – next thing I knew she was sound asleep – I had played a number of different ones for her – just relaxed her so much 🙂 It was wonderful to hear the story about the meeting you had with her. I have very fond memories of her movies – that was true entertainment and took you away to another place. What a wonderful little girl AND lady she was. Happy Valentines Day to you and Joe. Have a wonderful time at dinner, etc. and signing books at Costco. What a trip!! XXXXOOOO

  16. judi says:

    UFF DA, better batten down the hatches! I just heard you were suppose to have 70 mph winds tomorrow – sustained, yikes. Stay safe – have everything charged up…just in case. Stay safe and keep in touch as we will all be thinking of you. xoxo judi

    • sbranch says:

      We are now across the water from home, in a hotel on Cape Cod, going to sign books at Costco today, all alone, because who doesn’t want to go to Costco in a blizzard! Something tells me we won’t be getting home tonight … 70 mph winds means the boats won’t run, so we will just have to find a cozy place for dinner and hunker down until tomorrow.

      • judi says:

        I think you will have lots of friends stopping by to see YOU:) Enjoy your little off-island adventure!

        • sbranch says:

          We are — it was really fun at the TV station yesterday … then we went out to eat and shopping, so it’s been fun and perfect for a reward after doing the calendars … continuous small treats you know! 🙂

          • judi says:

            AND….a full moon for you two tonight too 🙂

            Did I miss something??? Were you on TV??? Oh, I hope so – think of the # of NEW fans you will reach!

          • sbranch says:

            It’s a little local show that’s been on the air for many many years … it was the first show I did with my first book. It’s only on the Cape and islands, but they said they’d send me a link, so maybe I will be able to show it to you.

          • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

            It sounds like you had a wonderful day, Susan! Is there any chance that there will be a link, so that we can see your latest TV interview? ♡♡

          • sbranch says:

            They said they would send me one, so we shall see!

          • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

            Hi. Is there a place we can click to see the TV interview? Have a good time on your “hunkering down in a cozy place” to wait for the storm to stop and the ferry to be running. We went out for Valentine’s Day dinner last night, celebrating Norm asking me to marry him 30 years ago! Where do the years fly to?

          • sbranch says:

            They are going to put it on youtube and will send me a link when that happens.

  17. ElFe says:

    Dearest Susan,
    I wish someone would think to do a “memorial” to people while they are still living so they could know what a tremendous impact they have on our lives. I, too, still love watching all the old children’s movies with the lessons to be learned and the happy endings (Andy Hardy comes to mind, also.)
    Have a wonderful Valentines Day with your honey-bunny!

    • judy says:

      …and please don’t forget Ralph Waite from the Walton’s–always a favorite!!!!

    • Ann Jane Koerber says:

      Shirley was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 – quite a tribute! I found it on you-tube…..if my math is right, she was 78 yrs old and looking pretty!

  18. ElFe says:

    Dearest Susan,
    I forgot to mention how happy I was to see a close up of your quilt. My mother died in Arizona when I was 13. When I visited my Uncle in Ohio at the age of 22 I found that he had protected my mothers hope chest all those years. Inside among other things, was a collection of little round circles carefully sewn. Since I had no idea what they were for, I donated them, hoping someone could use them. How I wish I still had them. But is was wonderful seeing yours…and remembering.

  19. Jane says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!!!!! I too enjoyed all of the Shirley Temple movies growing up. She was such a darling little girl and could put a smile on anyone’s face. Thanks for the memories Shirley.

  20. Jack says:

    snazzy valentine ….love your artwork -over the top ggrea …our best Valentine ever ….thank you !Dad

  21. Joan says:

    will there be a little “announcement” in the blog when the spring/lamb banner is available for sale – otherwise I will be checking every few minutes until I see it (ha ha). thanks!!

  22. Jack says:

    Ta Daaa- US beat Russia in the hockey game! ……..3 to 2 in overtime—— Yea Team!

  23. Debra says:

    Your tribute to Shirley Temple brought tears to my eyes. When I was a child I couldn’t wait to watch a Shirley Temple movie on TV; she was perfect! My Mom even did my hair like hers, and I was so thrilled to receive a Shirley Temple doll for Christmas…I still have her.

  24. Vivian from Cleveland, Tennessee says:

    After reading about actors you’ve met, I think the only actor I have talked with was Slim Pickens back in the 70s. Don’t know if you saw any of his movies or tv shows, but I knew him as soon as I saw him. He and his wife were walking into a restaurant in Nashville the same time we were. I looked over at him and said, “Are you……? (Without saying his name), and he said yes he was and laughed. I didn’t think I would see him again, but when we were seated, he and his wife were at the next table. I could not stand it, I grabbed a pack of restaurant matches, went over to his table, and ask for his autograph, apologizing. His wife said, “He loves to be recognized”. I told him I loved the movie, Honeysuckle Rose. I still have the autographed match pack.

    I would like to mention Ralph Waite who played the dad in The Walton’s and passed
    away this week. I loved that show, in fact, I bought the complete set. My mom grew up in the Depression days, so I know how times were then from her. But even in my childhood, some things were similar to The Walton’s, going barefoot all summer, etc.

    Hope you had a great Valentine’s Day in spite of the weather. I live a few hours from Atlanta, so you can imagine what we are going through here. We had 8 inches of snow, shut us down, that’s for sure.

  25. Betsy says:

    I love the spring banner and so needed to see it. Susan, when you get a second in your busy life check out Pottery Barn Kids and look at all the fun Peter Rabbit items! Bunnies, Bunnies and more Bunnies! Oh my goodness! It just started to snow yet again. Hang in there girls!

  26. Gert~Iowa says:

    Great blog post! I loved and still love Shirley Temple! She was such an amazing little actress! Lucky you! to have met her in person!! smile.. I hope you and Joe had a very lovely Valentines day dinner! We saw on the news tonight there was some nasty weather out there…my prayers are for you two to be safe!! And look forward to hearing all about this trip!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m just about to put up some photos, it was wild out there yesterday. Today it’s plain gorgeous.

      • Oh, goody! Was there much of a turnout at Costco? If not because of the weather, at least you got to shop! 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Not too many people, but I did get to spend some time with those that made it so that was fun. Several adorable children … one little one brought me a box of Girl Scout Cookies! How can you not love that for a gift.

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        Weather Channel says Sandwich got about 15 inches of snow yesterday, that plus such strong winds…so happy it was fast moving and you’ll be able to get home today. Before I went to bed last night I re-read Gladys’ accounts of the storms that hit Orleans when she lived in Stillcove, and I said a prayer for you and Joe.

  27. shelley from Home says:

    Dear Susan just wondering how you are doing in the storm. I told my husband this morning I was worried about my friend Susan. He said maybe you don’t have electricity. Let us know how you are your friends are worried.

    • sbranch says:

      We’re OK, made it home through it all last night (before 5 pm) … it’s gorgeous this morning, blue sky, white snow, heater humming, Jane Eyre on TV, all is well. Thank you Shelley!

  28. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Yikes! Bad news, blizzard blowing on your side of this beautiful USofA! A little sprinkly here, too bad we can’t even out this weather & everybody just get a little bit!! On to the good news, loved Shirley Temple Black, and are so thankful for her movies and continued stardom through her life! And dear Sue, thank you for this blog, and all the wonderful comments. Nice to catch up this morning! Hope some folks weathered the storm and visited you & Joe at Costco, Sue! Happy Sunday everyone, be safe, drive carefully! xo, Joanie

  29. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Whew! Happy to see you made it home safely to Branch Hall, and all you folks are getting better weather! I’m way behind the weather reports, my excuse was we were out of town yesterday (up at 3am, home to bed at 9pm, pooped) at a camellia show! xoxo

  30. Anna says:

    I was so sad to hear about Shirley Temple passing away. Thank you for the lovely tribute. I remember watching all her films, they just made me happy. My favourite was The Bluebird.

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