I have a memory of many years ago when I was in my pre-teens and working for my dad in his fast food restaurant. If I worked into the late night, one of my dad’s employees would drive me home. Unknown to my parents, at times these employees would get into some mischief while I was in their presence. One of these events was going into an old abandoned theater. I don’t want to say we broke into the theater, because I have a faint memory of the back stage door being opened – but that was many years ago – so maybe we did break in.
That theater still stands today in the city I grew up in and is the home for the city’s community theatre group yearly production of a melodrama. That theater was built in the late 1920s and was used for movies and vaudeville. I remember seeing movies there as a young child and felt a little haunted when I was in that theater. You see the architecture was Egyptian style and included Assyrian bulls, stenciled lotus flower lamps, winged suns and scarabs even extended tombstones and funereal monuments. As a young child, this was scary!
Back to my memory and visiting this theater. At the time the theater was abandoned and not being used. I remember entering the stage door in the back of the theater and walking on the stage. The large white movie screen was torn and the heavy velvet curtains were drawn back to disclose the rows of seating and the 2 tier balcony. The theater was trashed with debris with some chairs missing and the place in disarray. The architecture details were still in place, those Assyrian bulls, the winged suns and scarabs and the tombstones and funereal monuments – still intact and still haunting.
With the follow employees I remember walking off the stage through the theater auditorium passing the rows of chairs and making our way to the balcony room where the movie projectors were located. There was a dim light just enough to find our way. As we entered the movie projector room and looked out the small opening in the wall to view the stage, there was a feeling that came over me. I was motionless, what was I doing?
But wait, what was that noise? There is someone or something here in this building with us, what should we do?
Well a course I, always being scared of the place to begin with – ran!
I made my way back down to the auditorium and through the rows of seats back up to the stage and out the back stage door – just in the nick of time!
That’s all I remember, was this true, a dream or a figment of my imagination or a real memory?
I like to think it was true – an adventure I had as a child. Kind of like an ‘Indiana Jones’ type of adventure.