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Shirley Temple Enamelled Badge
Vintage – 1930’s.

Rae White was brought up on a back country farm during the Depression. The nearest township was Porangahau about 12 miles away, and a trip to town was a rare event indeed for Rae. Those occasions were linked (as far as possible) to events like a church service or important local event. On these rare occasions, if the timing was right, the “flicks” man would appear and the church hall was darkened and silent movies shown. Rae’s favourites were Shirley Temple.
When the local store introduced a range of Shirley Temple memorabilia, Rae had to have the enamelled badge. But the family were in dire straits without money for such non-essential purchases. Rae really really really wanted a Shirley Temple badge, like only a six or seven year old can want something.
To this end the farm family retainer – Tommy Reicher agreed to assist her. Tommy had been a tramp, but time had taken its toll and somehow he had ended up on the farm doing odd jobs for food and board, and occasionally able to earn a few pennies selling produce from the garden, or geese for Christmas dinners. Tommy made Rae promise to hand over any pennies she received (which of course were few and far between), and said he would help her earn enough to buy a badge. Together they walked the fences of the farm collecting the wool snagged in the wire. This wool was sold to local ladies who did spinning. Tommy and Rae walked many miles after school and in the week ends collecting wool until enough was sold to purchase the badge. The badge remained a most precious artefact in Rae’s life – a symbol of dedication to work towards a gaol and the love of an old tramp for a young girl.