My best memories of childhood revolve around
the neighborhood movie theater. My parents, practically children
themselves, had very little extra money. No Saturday night babysitters
for them. Instead we would all pile into the white Ford station
wagon and head on down to the second run movie theater that was
a few miles away. Mom would grab Ralph, my best friend and stuffed
dog. Dad would make sure we didn't forget my lucky blanket Starry.
Grandma made it for me for Christmas one year, it was so soft
and covered with stars.
To this day I love the smell of popcorn. And, the movie posters, wow - I never saw such beautiful people or amazing places.
With a box of jujubes and a root beer clutched in my chubby little hands off we tromped to the seats. Oh, the darkness and the salty, tangy smell in the air. My own private cathedral. If current day evangelists could incorporate some of the carnival scents into their congregations then I swear they would save twice as many souls.
Mom and Dad, on either side, would cuddle me into the seat with Starry and Ralph. I would happily chomp away, fingers sticky, in hog heaven. When the lights dimmed it was a sign for Mom and Dad to hold hands over the top of my seat.
I am sure I asked all kinds of silly questions. My poor parents. Thinking back I want to tell younger self to be nicer, sweeter. I supose that children just possess sweetness even when they are awful.
"When will the movie start?"
"What is that guy doing over there?"
"Can I have some more pop?"
"Why is that lady staring at us?"
These questions received the standard answers.
"Would you please stop kicking the chair ahead of you?"
I know in my heart that more than one couple
was caused to relocate, so as to better enjoy the movie.
Then somewhere between the trailers and the opening credits would drift happily off to sleep, secure in the knowledge of my parents' love for each other. To this day, the movie credits are my favorite part of going to see a movie, simply because it was the only thing I saw all of at a movie. My parents probably ran bets with each other as to how quickly I would fall asleep.
What cheap babysitting they discovered. A couple of lovely hours fantasy time for them. Then when they get home, no paying the babysitter. No fighting over who is going to drive the unlucky little girl home. How simple. How wonderful.
Theater© by Karri Norton 1999 if you want to copy and send this story to anyone, please feel free. As long as you copy the entire story, as is, and also be sure to include the copyright tag. I do, however, prefer that you just send people here to this site to read it instead :)