on October 4, 2009 by alchemystic in American Upbeat, Comments Off
Attitudes And Slogans
I saw the curtain rise on Friday just before noon. The first memories I have of a Waterfall Curtain, my Sister and I were spending a day with our Aunt Mame, wandering from church to church, in North Philadelphia. We most likely, a bit rammy, we were young, Mame figured out, an afternoon of praying between masses, would be a bit difficult, instead, she opted for an afternoon with us at the movies. Aunt Mame lived 104 years, she was only thrown out of church, only once. When you consider she went two, sometimes three times in a day, her records not bad. Hearing her singing, one could imagine, her being asked to leave, many more times than once. It was Danny Boy, an old Irish song, that caused her the trouble, it was close to the end for her, my Sisters, Mother, Father, and myself, all had gone to the Catholic Home, to celebrate her hundred and fourth. We rolled her gurney, into the chapel, although she drifted in and out through her final days, at least twice a day, every day, she was in church. I guess the spirit was in her, she broke into a choirs of song, the moment the priest began reading from the Gospel. I mentioned her singing earlier, the chapel fell silent, the Priest came down from the Alter, rolling her off, into the hall. She told us later in the day, she was dreaming of her Father, my Great Grandfather, she had lost him years before, he died in the first, poured in place concrete structure, built in Philadelphia. It was at the corner of Washington and Broad, the shores were removed to soon, the structure collapsed. Aunt Mame was provided for, in her later years, a result of this accident. So getting back to curtains, at this matenie with my Sister and Aunt, I remember this being the first time I’d ever seen these waterfall drapes, I hadn’t noticed, until I saw them Friday, drawing up, that I missed them. Thinking back, at the time when I was young, these were common, my Aunt went on about them being so beauuuteeefull, they were the same deep red velvet that we hung in the Premiere Theater. Now our Aunt Mame, wasn’t one, spending time at movies, she barley had the time to eat, sleep, and go to church. I know she thought it was a safe choice, a musical, this was about 1956. I probably thought cowboys would have been a better choice, but I am sure I was happy, its tough on a boy at 4, spending an afternoon praying. So the movie starts, my Aunt is amazed, at what she is seeing on the screen, she is whispering to my Sister and me, at how wonderful, it all is. Out of nowhere, a scene in the film, a chorus line, dancing girls in costume, spread out across the screen. My Aunt is quick to have us cover our eyes, she caught me looking between my fingers, she talked with me about temptation, that the devil was trying to trick me, that if I fought it I would earn grace, what boy at 4 wouldn’t want to earn some grace. She didn’t catch my peaking again, not that I wasn’t, anyhow she moved us out of there quick. Today, the value of that day is the visual of that waterfall curtain rising, imprinted on my brain. Having been a part of raising 600 pounds of drape by block and tackle, running cable through eye lets stitched into the curtain vertically at about every foot, another mystery is solved, how do they do that. I guess if I spent more time on broadway, these grand old style drapes would be more familiar, it seems they went out, when theater malls came in. I am from West Chester Pennsylvania, we had two movie theaters in town, the Harrison, you stomped your feet, walking in, the object was to scare the rats. The nice theater, the Warner, actually was a mistake, its history, as a theater, ended by mistake as well. There is also a West Chester New York, the story I heard, was our theater in Pa., was meant for N.Y., it was a grand theater, ornate, art decco, spectacular painted ceilings. Think about it, a bit much for the farmers of Chester County. Years had passed, before anyone realized how large a mistake it was, gutting that theater. West Chester Pa., Thought of themselves, progressive through the 70s, heck, they declared themselves a nuclear free zone. Malls were being built, multi-plex theaters sprung up all over, they left the Warners shell, added a different store front, developed the old theater space, into office and retail suites. Progress, what were they thinking, this is the last place, I remember seeing these waterfall theater curtains, just another one of those old school things, that’s gone away. Watching that curtain rising Friday brought a whole lot back. Out of chance, I passed through the Premier, just as the drapery, began to rise, I was coming back from lunch, we had moved on to other tasks, for a couple days, motors were being wired, speakers were being daisy chained, I had choices, blazing my trail back to the new work area after my lunch. So let’s review, 1) if you have gotten this far, reading along, you know I was moved, seeing the curtain rise, it triggered memories of long ago. I wonder, if at a different time, I had seen this, would the triggers be changed, would it have felt the same? I am fascinated with the concept of choice, and the motivation, behind ones making a choice. When my motivation, is somewhat self serving, I have learned, I’m setting myself up, if these choices are made, on the proverbial toss of a coin, it seems, more often than not, I end up right where I am supposed to be!