“I’ll ask my mom.”
I was ten, just the age when the ‘rents start letting the kid out of the cage on her own. “It’s time you learned to do things by yourself.” Since that is the litany written on my soul, I was all about it. I already did stuff on my own like go to my friends’ houses or wander off into the woods, but this was the big league. A movie theater at night with a friend. The girl across the street, Becky Sparks, had called to see if I wanted to go.
I heard the secondary phone conversation later (between moms) that involved planning. It was winter, days were short, nights were cold, there was no question of us walking down there. It was the Christmas season, so the idea of a Saturday matinee was out, too. Too much to do. “Thank you, Elizabeth,” I heard my mom say, knowing it signified my mom wasn’t going to have to drive. She’d just gotten her license and didn’t like to drive at night.
She was one of those people frightened by everything.
Becky and I got dressed up (comparatively) in wool capri slacks, our sweaters, our coats and wool scarves tied around our heads. It was 1962. I wonder what happened to wool pants. They were comfortable and warm… ANY-hoo we got in back of Elizabeth’s white station wagon and a few minutes later we were at the Roxy.
The Roxy was a small town theater with two entrances that flanked the (freezing cold) ticket booth. There was a tiny line. We stood doing the “It’s COLD!” prance young girls do, hugging themselves and laughing.
We bought popcorn and sour cherries and found seats in the back. The lights went down. The curtains parted. We heard…
For the next two hours I sat mesmerized, sucking sour cherries, and, for the first time, feeling both the power of film and of personality. The little girl who entered that theater never came out.