Remembering Them and Then

FAMILY STORIES ~ Here's the thing, they are as you remember them in your own life or as best as you can recollect the telling of other stories, some from before your own time spoken by other family members. Just like the orally told origins and family provenance of some of the items shown on the Antiques Road Show (television show on PBS), they can be accurate, partially accurate with some additional information provided right there, partially inaccurate or even totally inaccurate. The point is they are family stories.

You have to 'call 'em as you see 'em' and simply do the best you can do. Sometimes they are patchwork pieces put together from long, long ago memories and family hearsay. I had the hardest time putting together Blackie and Me  because my old lady brain had to reach back to some of my very earliest childhood memories and historical family hearsay to piece it together continuing with a very strong belief that a serious "wrong" was committed in my senior brain hindsight.

The real family story teller with obviously a profound influence upon me was Auntie E2. Only thing is, due to circumstances, I missed out on so many of her tellings. I have two very memorable ones that at some point I will share in other blog postings. To begin with I simply want to share about Auntie E2 and Uncle Earl2 and of course, myself.

I had many Aunties who had names that began with "E".  I have already written about Auntie E1 (Austerity Evolution). I lived closest by to her and Uncle M. for quite a part of my younger childhood. Later on in my childhood, I was blessed to have lived with Auntie E2 and Uncle Earl2 about one mile away in the 'village proper' for a period of time. Uncle Earl2 was a quiet, introverted, introspective man who had a wonderful loving heart, but didn't really talk all that much. When he did talk, he was amazing. As you will soon see, if he was aware that you had a problem that he could help solve, he did that!

He did his best to never let it show that he sometimes (often?) struggled with pain. Just like my Uncle Earl1 experienced at a later time and in another state, Uncle Earl2  had lung cancer (terminal lung cancer). He never complained, never. I was only told at the time (when I first came to live with them) that Uncle Earl2 was sometimes ill, "feeling poorly", but not what or why. I would find out later on.  I do think (now) along with his already naturally reserved and perhaps somewhat shy nature, the pain of this disease probably played a large part in the why Uncle Earl2 kept to himself much of the time. More about this will be revealed to me a little later on.

THE MOVIE THEATRE ~  As best as I can recall Uncle Earl2 worked the second shift and possibly some overnight shifts in the power house at the mill. He and Auntie E2 ran the tiny town movie theatre Fridays nights through Sunday nights. Sunday afternoon also had a matinee. Uncle Earl2 was the projectionist which was perfect for him, he liked to keep to himself. Auntie E2 was the managing front person. That was perfect for her because she was socially gregarious, a worthy conversationalist, always smiling, well put together in dress and in manner, had a heart for people and she loved the picture shows. The movie theatre was owned by the family that owned the village and the mill.

Auntie E2 and Uncle Earl2  had two daughters, and one son. The eldest daughter had married a person from the Air Force. I don't remember if he was, in fact an actual pilot, but I am almost 100% positive, he became a Captain. Auntie E2 would read me the most enthralling letters from the eldest daughter and show me postcards and pictures from far away places like Paris, France and I think I remember some from Spain also??

I believe their only son had put in some time with the Armed Forces, had returned to the mill town and mill life, literally married the girl next door (the eldest daughter of their next door neighbors). I am almost positive Auntie E2 and Uncle Earl 2's youngest daughter (and child) was a Senior in high school.  They were allowing her to enjoy her last year of school.  So, they let me help out at the theatre, that and there was no one they felt comfortable to call upon to look after me every weekend.

First: I learned cleaning, sweeping, the immediate clean-up of the seated area after the show let out, chewing gum removal from carpets and seats as per necessary (on-going battle), bathroom cleaning, keeping toilet tissue on dispensers, picking up garbage that hit the bathroom floor which included the errant cigarette butts put out and left on the floors by those who got away with sneaking into the bathroom to smoke during the show. Increasingly, Auntie E2 taught me to do ladies bathroom checks every 20 -30 minutes and if I caught anyone smoking, do not say a word about it to them, DO STOP AND STARE for as long as it would take for them to stop smoking.  IT WORKED!  Auntie E2 was so smart!

I was allowed to watch one showing of each movie each week totally and completely undisturbed without fail, no matter what.  <-- I LOVED THIS, from the orders of both Uncle Earl2 and Auntie E2.  I was also generously allowed either two boxes of candy or one box and one candy bar, one popcorn and two sodas per movie theatre shift I worked, and the one showing I got to watch in entirety. Some of y'all have 'no clue' how GENEROUS this was for that time period.

Next, I learned how to clean the glass of the snack area, stock the snack area with candy, take orders at the snack area, make popcorn, bag popcorn, run the till, count back change.

One blessing is we lived in such a small and honest village that when I first started to learn about counting change back to a customer, there were some times people would tell me nicely when I was trying to give them too much money and they would help me get it right.

As per necessary: Auntie E2 changed the movie posters displayed through glass to the outside...this was in fact, sometimes a cumbersome job for her...she had me provide what steadying hand I could plus a lot of moral support for her to complete that regular project, which included glass cleaning and allowing that glass cleaning to dry thoroughly before new poster placements.

I HAD THIS PROBLEM ~

Perry Mason



I was madly in love with Perry Mason, deeply, intensely, passionately and with total and complete purity and innocence.  Other than my own daddy who had died, there could be no finer man in the entire universe than Perry Mason.  Perry Mason was on television during one of the theatre nights I was supposed to be working. I had a 'real' scheduling problem here. While trying to discuss it through with Auntie E2, "Auntie E2, I just can't miss Perry Mason."  Uncle Earl2 tripped right into it. Auntie E2 was "I can't have you home alone."  ~ "You need to be coming with me."

Uncle Earl2 was "What's going on?" ~ "Let's talk about this."  Uncle EarI2 negotiated that I could stay home for my 'beloved' Perry Mason and then immediately walk to the theatre... about 1/8th to 1/4 mile away.

HOWEVER: Uncle Earl2 knew that for all of my adventurous, exploring personality, I had a little trouble being scared of the dark at that time and there would be times it would be really dark after Perry Mason was over. "There's no one to come run and pick you up." ~ "Will you be OK with that? ~ "I'm only going over this one time, so you think carefully and decide."  I told him I'd be OK with that.

NEXT:  I needed to come directly to theatre with no detours or stops and "Sissy, I want to see you when you get in." Sissy was the pet name my daddy had called me. It always took my breath away when Uncle Earl2 called me Sissy because it was just so close to my heart.  Uncle Earl2 wanted to 'lay eyes on me' which meant a quick trip up to the projection booth to let him know I arrived safely (usually eye contact and a wave) and back down to work the rest of the evening.

I don't 'really know', but for the life of me, I can't help but feeling Uncle Earl2 loved my loyal passion for Perry Mason, that it in some way 'tickled him'.  I don't know if he exactly did or did not understand it, but it sure didn't stop Uncle Earl2 from 'taking my part', 'taking up for me'. That's exactly what Perry Mason would have done for me had he been there. Oh, that meant so much to me as a young girl. Uncle Earl2 now rated right up there with my daddy and Perry Mason.

Feel free to comment and find me as @grammakaye on twitter.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the walk down memory lane... different times ... simpler in so many ways. It's great to write down what you do remember so that your children and their children will have a glimpse of a time they will never see. Bravo Kaye! Have an awesome day. :D

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    1. Thanks for 'knowing' what part of my blogging is about and why. Thanks for being a kind friend who took the time to read and reply. Thanks for being the Angela you are. Give that wonderful Harry an extra big hug and goodnight smoochie for me or a good morning one. LOVE ~ Kaye

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  2. Hey if there are smoochies being tossed about which line do I get in for that lol? Did your aunt ever keep any of those posters or just toss them?Some of those are likely worth some big money I suppose. I took me and the girls to the show and it was expensive. The popcorn and pop cost more than the movie tickets did, but there isn't anything like the smell and taste of movie theater popcorn, I suppose you got a whole life's worth working there. I haven't gotten my fill yet so I will continue visiting the show. Thanks for sharing Kaye,bill

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    1. Ya know we think the world of you Bill, but really, what would your spouse be thinking if I was to be handing out smoochies to you so easily. Yikes! Gramma hugs are ok though, cuz they are safe.
      * * *
      Posters came in tubes, had to be mailed back (somewhere?) if I remember correctly. Sometimes she would get duplicates. She may have kept a few of those. I think they may have had one 'back-up' movie to play for fill-in in case the movie reel (film) for the week did not arrive. Auntie E2 had the posters for that back-up film on hand. I think some films were held over for a two week run. I think other than those exceptions a new movie came in for each weekend.

      My pay was the candy I was allowed you see...I was still a very little girl at this time. A little girl who had a brain enough to watch and love Perry Mason. I was allowed enough candy I could share if I had a friend who needed me to share. I don't recall there were like big movie box size candy portions or huge popcorn portions like you see at movies these days

      I've been racking my brain about 'soda'... some years after this time I'm writing about I remember the theatre definitely having a soda fountain, during this time right here no soda fountain comes to mind... I know I was allowed two sodas...I keep thinking we had those small bottles soda. My brain keeps seeing the small bottles of Coca~Cola. I remember drinking them plus the main auditorium had a concrete floor and I absolutely remember having had to sweep up some glass. Seldom was a bottle broken when the movie was running, them getting kicked and rolling after the movie. I think I remember wooden Coca~Cola crates those bottles were supposed to be brought to. The crates were parked at the entrance/exit doors of the main auditorium.

      Those are part of the 'blanks' as far as family stories, oh yes movies are so expensive today. Thanks for coming by, reading and commenting Bill. That was wonderful. ~ Kaye

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