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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Alcaraz

Priscilla Pike from Maple Ridge Senior Living

Priscilla Pike - Shirley Temple Pt. 1

Interviewer: This is Katie Blomgren, the Life Enrichment Director at Maple Ridge Senior Living. I am sitting here with Miss Priscilla Pike and she is going to tell us the story of the day she met Shirley Temple.

Priscilla: Well, thank you. I’m very glad to get a chance to talk about it because it was a fun time and it wasn’t just a meeting. Shirley Temple and I were in the same Hollywood group of entertainment and so we ran across each other occasionally. I could help her sometimes when she needed it. She was a very competent and good tap dancer so she didn’t need me very often but if she had a difficulty with a step then she could get a hold of me and we would work it out and get it going the way it should. And I was always happy to help her. She was a very “up” person.

Priscilla Pike - Shirley Temple Pt. 2

“She was always looking at things from the right side and she had way too many people standing in for her and trying to do things instead of letting her do them but I got to know enough with her to leave her alone until she needed help and then she would tell me that it was time for some help on a step or two. And we’d work it out and she’d go back then and I wouldn’t see her for a couple of months again. But she was always a good thinking person. Always ready to listen and try and straighten out whatever the difficulty was with the tap dance steps.”

Priscilla Pike - The Time

Interviewer: How old were you when you met Shirley Temple?

Priscilla: I was probably 12 or 13.

Interviewer: What was going on in the world around you at the time?

Priscilla: Well we were recovering from the war and the West Coast was struck very hard by the war. So we felt that and we had to deal with it and it was not the greatest thing in the world but we did the best we could coming out of that war and getting back to normal.

Interviewer: So it affected the entertainment industry?

Priscilla: Yes it had a great effect on the entertainment industry because anything you wanted to do you had to get approved by the board. From there, then you would work out the steps and if she needed any help she’d come and express herself.

Priscilla Pike - Hollywood

Interviewer: Where were you when you were doing this tap dancing with her?

Priscilla: We were in the Hollywood area. I did at one time live up in the Santa Barbara area and I traversed down to LA at the time but that wasn’t often. You couldn’t travel very much because of the war.

Interviewer: And so when you were tapping in the school that she was coming to learn her different steps. What got you to that school?

Priscilla: I met her in the dancing capacity. In the Hollywood area. It wasn’t a school. It was a professional dance studio.

Interviewer: Dance studio?

Priscilla: Yes, dance studio. There were several groups that formed to make the Hollywood area be professional but then the war came along and smashed that all apart. And so it had to all get put back together again. And that took the real strong dancers to hang in there and do the kind of instruction and work to keep dancing at the forefront.

Priscilla Pike - The Most Important Part of Priscilla’s Dancing

“One of the real important points in my adulthood was being introduced into a group that went all over Southern California helping dance studios be better. And I got invited to join this group and work it and I was maybe 10 or 12 and the rest of them were all 18 and 20. And it was a real thrill for me and I enjoyed the challenge of learning all of the steps that they already knew and I picked them up and learned them and my family even got to see me doing that.”

Transcription and Audio Edit by Ileana Chavez and Samantha Alcaraz.

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