I remember fondly times at our small local theater. Every summer they would run specials where you could buy X number of weeks worth of movies for one low price. The movie theater was on the corner of Antioch and Englewood in Kansas City, Missouri. My brother and I were lucky because our house was situated under a mile from the theater. To get there we only had to traipse through a grassy lot and an apartment complex. At the time, our house did not have central air so a visit to the movies was always welcome.
One particular memory includes my best childhood friends: Kim and Natalie. The three of us were inseparable during the summer. I was a softy for animals so when I heard that Oliver & Company was playing at our theater I cajoled Kim and Natalie to go with me. We met at my house and then walked to the movie. If you remember, the movie starts with a young kitten in a give-away box...no one wants him. I cried and cried for the poor kitten and Kim and Natalie laughed and laughed at my emotional outburst.
On the way home from the movie we decided to walk through The Woods. The Woods were a small wooded area right next to our elementary school. Our parents had repeatedly told us to not go in The Woods. But my brother and I had explored them up and down and I knew every path by heart. After all, it was between school and our house, who could blame us? On this particular adventure we entered The Woods on the east side and headed west toward our school and my friend Natalie's house. One of us, maybe Kim, had ribbon shoelaces and just as we were entering The Woods she noticed that her ribbon shoelace had been unravelling...probably all the way from the movie theater. This hilarity, along with still mocking me for my Oliver & Company tears, kept me laughing so hard that I couldn't assure the girls that I knew where we were in the woods. They kept insisting we were lost and I was laughing so hard I could not convince them that we were not. Finally, it was too much for my bladder. You can imagine what happened next. I have still not lived down that day. But I did get them through The Woods.
Movies were such a big part of our lives. Our first adventures without parents, first air conditioning, first kisses...all in a movie theater. We all had Stand By Me memorized. I bet we still do.
"I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?"