When my dad first told me this story it made me laugh, probably because he told it in a way that was humorous. Sometimes, though, I think of it as poignant in its depiction of the simple innocence, naïveté, and basic gratitude of youth.
I think the first time my dad ever went to the movie theatre was the first time he saw an actual moving picture, as TVs were not a common household item when he was growing up in the 30s and 40s.
He must have been about 10 years old because he had his own money by then from a paper route. He and his best buddy, Harry Lamareaux, with coins in their pockets, walked to the theatre on a Saturday afternoon and went to the matinee. They bought their tickets; perhaps they sprang for a bag of popcorn to share and made their way to their seats.
In those days, and when I was young as well, theatres didn’t show 10 to 15 minutes of advertisements in the form of movie trailers before the feature presentation. The theatres showed you a short film, as perhaps you remember, typically a lengthy cartoon, before the movie started.
My dad and Harry, being only 10 or 11, thoroughly enjoyed the cartoon. In fact, they were possibly enthralled with the whole concept of moving pictures. When the screen went blank at the end of the short film, well satisfied, and having never been before, not knowing exactly what to expect, Dad and Harry stood up and left, thinking the movie was over. They missed the entire feature film for which they’d paid their precious coins.
They found out their mistake later when they got home and my grandmother asked about the movie.
My dad probably didn’t think it was funny at the time.
But time softens a lot of things.
Copyright © 2011 by Christine M. Grote