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, all sub-teen power brokering, all of it 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 boxes and construction debris left over from a remodeling project. 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. It was toward the end of July, a cloudy, warm evening, where summer's embrace was still felt, even though the nights were lengthening fast. The show was set for 7 p.m. and the neighborhood children (and there were plenty) 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. I'm not quite sure but I think the show 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.

“Every body go home… its gonna rain…” and my Dad’s warning voice closed the show.

By Professor Batty


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