As I’ve lamented before, it seems like the Gen-X crowd treats everything they know as the only thing a person needs to know. I have always been an information sponge, wanting more and more until I can’t cram anything more into my gray matter. To be so arrogant to feel like, “If I haven’t heard about it in my 20 years of life, then it must not be important” is simply beyond my understanding.
Up until this morning, I had never heard of Margaret Whiting. When I saw she had passed away in a New Jersey nursing home at the age of 86 and had been a former big band singer, I was compelled to learn more.
Yes, she had been in the music circles during and after World War II. Some Broadway shows, touring the country with big bands, even once being part of a music review that included the foursome of Rosemary Clooney, Helen O’Connel and Rose Marie. (who later starred on the Dick Van Dyke Show)
All interesting stuff, but it was father and their connection that took this to the next level. Richard Whiting was the guy who wrote the song, “Hooray for Hollywood”. Fairly iconic, I’d say. However, the best story is when Margaret came home from school one day, all sticky from a sucker she’d been savoring. When she walked in, it inspired her dad, who quickly turned out, “On the Good Ship, Lollipop” for Shirley Temple.
I’ve always felt that everyone’s life could be turned into a movie. No matter how boring you think your time on this earth has been, there’s been drama, turning points, major decisions, victories and defeats. There’s the possibility Margaret may have felt her life paled in comparison with other singers of her time. But as we look back on her 86 years, I’ve got to say I find her life incredibly interesting for someone I had not even heard of before this morning.
Then again, I have to remember: for every person who read the ‘Lollipop’ story and was impressed, there’s going to be a Gen-Xer saying, “OK, I’ve heard of the drink before…but who is Shirley Temple?”