Thursday, January 06, 2005

3rd Street Theatre

   When I was quite young, my mother (who had somewhat of a 'hands off' approach to child rearing) often left me in the charge of my big sister. This was a pretty good deal for a 5 year old. My sister was the queen of the neighborhood, all enemies and alliances, the sub-teen power brokering, went through her. She had a knack for organizing childhood play, whether it was a game of "starlight moonlight" or a trip to the swamp or a 'parade' with wagons and trikes and even a few 'wild' animals thrown in (our old tomcat did not approve of that!)

   The topper was when she staged her 'theatricals'. We had some 2x10's left over from a remodeling project. When placed upon extra concrete blocks - instant seating. An old blanket draped over a clothesline was the curtain. I was too little to be in the play, so I was pressed into service as the usher. My flashlight would do double duty as a spotlight. The play was set for 8 p.m. It was toward the end of August, a cloudy, warm evening, where summer's embrace was still felt, even though the nights were lengthening fast. The neighborhood children (and there were plenty of children) began to trickle into our back yard. I took their tickets (1 cent, please) and when the show was ready to begin, I went over to the 'curtain' and gave it a tug. It was some variation on The Brothers Grimm, perhaps Rumpelstiltskin or Rapunzel. The littlest kids were enchanted, the older ones distracted. It got a little darker, the clouds started to look like they meant business, and the theater was now lit up from our yard lamp, with its yellow "bug" light.

   "Every body go home - its gonna rain" my Dad's warning voice closed the show.

By Professor Batty


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