Walking down Orange Avenue, past Cora Mart, and up to the packs surrounding filled me with strong sentiments about my childhood.
Folks had wanted to know if the theater operators were going to keep the historic feel of the place, if it was going to be how it used to be. We all desperately wanted it to reopen but we had expectations – very, very high ones – as we always do for our beloved town.
To add to the excitement, before the opening, over the last year, . Much to my delight, the former prevailed.
The new Village has sparked deep memories of my pre-teen years that I had tucked away, forgotten for almost two decades, in my memory banks.
Like so many Coronadoans, the route I've taken to the theatre was similar to the one I took every Friday night when I was a kid. Before constant communication and the easy connection of cell phones, it was assumed that we would all meet at Village.
For years, we met up every Friday night at 6 p.m. It was a given. There were few other social options. Be there or be square, and square we were not.
The Village Theater was a place where you would get to recount the social
events of the week, place bets on the outcome of the next morning’s baseball games at Bradley Field, and have the chance to eye the pretty girl you had a crush on. If you were lucky, she would let you buy her some popcorn and sit next to her. If you were bold enough, you might just stretch your arm around her chair.
Our gang would take up two solid rows smack dab in the middle of the place. We were a loud and spirited bunch. And we were innocent.
On weekend nights we rode our bikes uptown, met friends and girlfriends, ate popcorn, watched the film, then when it was all over, popped out into the warm and dark night on Orange Avenue, said goodbye to buddies, kissed girlfriends good night (on the cheek, of course) and rode home.
It's was timeless. It’s one of my fondest memories.
In discussing the old theatre, a local store owner told me, “We would just drop the kids off here for a couple hours and come back to get them later or let them walk home as they got older. It was great for them and especially great for us.”
Her comment made me wonder if I’m going to like the theater even more now than I did as pre-teen.
I can only imagine what my daughters will have to say when, on a Friday night, my wife and I want to watch the same movie as they do. Actually, I know what they will say because I said the same thing to my own
parents: “How embarrassing, dad. All my friends will see you!”
I can’t wait.