Bernadette Oremus Trainor

I was raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Of a beautiful family, my mother and father loved children. I was the eighth out of nine. When I was six years old, I had a baby sister and we grew up very close together. But across the street was a little girl that had no sisters or brothers and I would go over and play with her very often.

I would take her for a walk in her buggy and she was more the age of my little sister. But I enjoyed doing things with her. She had no one else to play with. So, they were very good to me.

Her father owned the bakery in the Sault and we would go and play in the dough. They took me very many places and always saw that I had nice things.

One day, they brought out this Shirley Temple doll and showed me what they had gotten for their daughter Jen for Christmas.

It was a beautiful doll with curly hair. Just like I had seen in the movies. Oh, I was taken with her. But of course she was for Jen. This was when I was 11.

On December 15, 1935 my father suddenly died of a heart attack. My mother had five children yet to raise. We were broken hearted, but stuck together, all of us. So across the street, was my little pal, so I went over and played with her after things settled down a little bit.

When Christmas came, I was called across the street because they had something for me. And when I left, it looked like the same doll they had for Jen. They had realized that Jen just wasn't old enough to appreciate it, and I needed some company, so Shirley Temple was mine. Oh what a thrill, I couldn't believe I had such wonderful people that cared enough about me. (tears)

Shirley and I spent many hours together. I talked to her, poured out my heart to her. (tears) Took her in the buggy with my little sister and Jen. Went for walks. And whenever I moved, like when I went to Saginaw, Shirley always went with us, but she was tucked away. She wasn't in very good shape. I would take her out every once in a while and cuddle her. So, we went back to the Sault after Saginaw, and Shirley came along with us.

Then when I got married Shirley had to come with me too. She was put in the trunk with my things and came to live with Gordon and me. I always wanted to have somebody take care of her. She had no hair, almost like she had had leukemia or chemo or something. She needed some help, she was in bad shape. Through the fifty years I was married, I always wanted to have her taken care of.

But until this year, when I asked my son if he could look on the Internet, I never found anybody to take care of her. And now I found Gary, through Christopher’s good fortune. He knows that Internet. So now today, Shirley my friend (tears) is on her way up to see Gary and have him take care of her.

Thanks so much.

This story was recorded by Bernadette Oremus Trainor March 22, 2001.
I hope it makes Shirley feel good too.