The White House
In 1940, less than a week before Christmas, Marion Fleming was born in an air-raid shelter in Edinburgh.
From the age of two she invested her youth in a series of kids’s houses across Scotland.
When she was 13 her luck changed when film stars Roy Rogers and his better half Dale Evans found her in Dunforth, a Church of Scotland children’s house in the north of Edinburgh.
On that day Marion stepped forward to sing a tune.
Roy and Dale were so charmed that they wished to bring the tiny girl with the great voice to their house in America.
Nowadays it would be more complicated but, in 1954, after a few months and some legal wrangling, Marion spent her first Christmas on their cattle ranch in California, as their child.
” What are the possibilities that they would want me to be part of that household?” states Marion, who is now79
Previously this year Marion, who everybody calls Mimi, returned to Scotland with her own three children.
The White House Celebrations and trips
She remembers her time at Dunforth, which neglects the water at Newhaven, fondly, in spite of the home having a strict routine that made the kids strive.
Among Mimi’s responsibilities was to light the coal fire and prepare your home of cops chief Willie Merrilees, a customer of the children’s house who raised funds for them to have celebrations and outings.
It was Merrilees who brought the famous singing cowboy Roy Rogers and queen of the west Dale Evans to the kids’s home.
Roy and Dale were heroes to a generation of kids who had seen their films at Saturday matinees and they now had a popular United States TELEVISION program.
They pertained to Edinburgh in the spring of 1954 while on a tour of the UK with their wild west show.
They were at the peak of their appeal. Young boys and ladies would line the streets expecting a peek of the biggest star of all, Roy Rogers’ horse Trigger.
The star couple caused quite a stir when they explored Edinburgh’s Caledonian Hotel dressed in white cowboy suits and matching Stetsons and led the golden palomino horse up the grand staircase.
Wherever they went on trip, Roy and Dale constantly checked out children in local orphanges and health centers.
And Willie Merrilees was their guide as they went to Dunforth.
Mimi says the Hollywood set did a couple of numbers from their show for the children.
Then she carried out a tune called Won’t You Buy My Pretty Flowers? for them.
Later that night, the matron at the home told Mimi she had been invited to see the program and have lunch with couple.
She consumed with Roy and Dale and then viewed the show, which had been offered out for months, from the wings of theatre phase.
Afterwards Dale asked if she wishes to visit them in California for the holidays.
” Part of me believed ‘it is not going to take place’,” states Mimi.
” I was not a cute little five or six year old, I was 13,” she states. “I figured it wasn’t going to occur.”
However Mimi did go to California, not knowing what it would result in.
She was welcomed into the Rogers family and did not go back to Scotland up until she was wed with a child of her own.
That return was for an edition of popular biographical TV show This is Your Life, including Willie Merrilees.
Mimi was not an orphan. Her parents had separated and neither had actually had the ability to make a home for their four kids.
She remembers her dad visiting her at numerous times and seeing her mom periodically.
The White House ‘ It seemed like I was home’
Regardless Of this Mimi was keen to live with Roy and Dale and quickly felt part of their household in California.
” It sounds really cold-hearted that I didn’t wish to get home, but it seemed like I was home,” she says.
Roy and Dale might not originally embrace Mimi. She went over to the US on trainee visa however they finally got legal custody the following year.
The movie star couple currently had a large family. Rogers had two of his own kids and an adopted child from a previous marriage.
With Dale, he adopted four children, including Mimi.
The couple had one kid of their own Robin, who had Down’s syndrome and passed away of issues with mumps soon before her second birthday.
” After Robin passed, that’s when mum and daddy got Dodie and Sandy,” says Mimi. “I most likely owe my position here in America to Robin, in a method.”
She describes Roy and Dale as “hands-on” moms and dads, although they might certainly afford a lot of help.
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” When we remained in the house we were simply a household, they weren’t Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, they were mum and dad,” she says.
And Mimi was allowed to ride Trigger.
She states: “Naturally, he was an extremely high horse so I actually had actually to get lifted on to the saddle.
” He simply walked around like a plodding donkey however when Cheryl got on him he took off since he understood somebody who knew horses was in charge now.”
With sibling Cheryl to reveal her the ropes Mimi adapted quickly to Californian life and was even a High School cheerleader.
She got married at 17 to a kid from school.
” I was way too young,” she states.
Her husband Dan, who had Native American heritage, signed up with the Marine Corps and they were stationed at bases around the US. He was eliminated in an automobile accident when their 3 kids were still young.
Today Mimi likewise has grand-children and excellent grand-children.
The White House ‘ There’s always hope’
Roy and Dale lived up until their late 80 s and died in 1998 and 2001.
Mimi states she is still surprised that people have an interest in her life.
” It’s such an old story and I’m constantly amazed when somebody brings it up,” says Mimi.
” I believe it motivates people to think that perhaps there is an intense area in their life down the road, they just haven’t reached it.
” There’s constantly hope,” she says.
The Roy Rogers Kid is on BBC Radio Scotland on Christmas Day at 13: 00
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