Shirley Temple & Charles Novacek — An Inspiration

Shirley Temple & Charles Novacek — An Inspiration

bcshirleytemple6cr“One has to handle these negative experiences alone. You can’t get help from your friends or family. You’re finally alone with it, and you have  to come to grips with misfortune and go on.”                     –Shirley Temple

It doesn’t take much to arouse memories of my late, beloved husband Charles Novacek! I woke up this morning to the sad news that Shirley Temple Black had died and Charles* instantly came to mind.

bccharlesblogshirleyShirley and Charles – They were both inspirations to me at different times of my life. In my youth, Shirley fueled my love of the performing arts and in later life Charles taught me the power of love and resilience, to be brave and strong in the face of adversity.

They were both born the same year – 1928. Curly-topped, precocious children who loved to dance and sing. Shirley was a remarkable tap dancer and Charles executed a lively and daring tango.

Both were forced to grow up too soon – Shirley as a movie star in Hollywood during the 1930s and 40s and Charles as a resistance fighter between the ages of eleven and twenty in Czechoslovakia during World War II and the Cold War.

While America’s darling delighted me on film with her “Good Ship Lollipop,” there was nothing I adored more than being serenaded with my darling’s strong baritone “Some Enchanted Evening.”

Charles became a Czechoslovakian émigré to America while Shirley became an ambassador to Czechoslovakia. Both served their countries well, though in different,  ways believing in the importance of the preservation of human freedom.

And both knew the importance of leaving us all a legacy of their own stories: Shirley penned Child Star: an Autobiography, McGraw-Hill, 1988.  Charles wrote Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance, 1021 Press, 2012. 

Charles believed that it is important to know and understand the lessons of history. He wrote,” I am a son of war children from times when other wars were fought, and now I carry  on the world’s never-ending tradition. Will my children have to do the same? Charles wrote  his memoir, not just to share the past, but to inform for the present and the future.

Thank you, Shirley and Charles for that! Happy Valentine’s Day!

*I refer to my Charles Novacek. Shirley Temple’s husband was also named Charles!

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