Saturdays At The Strand

In 1959, I lived in Kosciusko, Ms. I was ten years old.

Kosciusko was a town made for a kid. It was small enough that you could walk most places yet big enough that it had the things that made summer great. Things like parks and a swimming pool. There were junkyards without fences and dime stores down town.

My favorite place in the whole town was the Strand Theater. It was across from Vicki’s cafe and in sight of the courthouse.

I lived about three miles from the Strand, Too far for my mother to let me ride my bike. After all, I might be run over. Still it wasn’t too far to walk.

We ate lunch around eleven on Saturday. Most of the time it was sandwiches. The Saturday I am thinking about was a hot and sunny day. My dad had gotten off work early and after we ate, he gave me a quarter to go to the movies.

As soon as I got the last bite of tuna fish down I was out the door and headed down town. It was a good forty five-minute walk if you didn’t stop. I never went straight anywhere. I stopped at the train yard and climbed on some boxcars until one of the yardmen ran me off.

Next stop was at a car dealership. There I stared through the glass showroom window at new Mercury. I wondered what it would be like to own a car. It even crossed my mind if the sales representatives got one free. I should have never made that stop.

A while later I was at the Strand Theater. I walked up to the little ticket booth that set in the center of the front not attached to any thing. I handed the very mature sixteen year old my quarter. She took it and handed me back a dime. No that was not a mistype. She handed me a dime.

I took a few steps, opened a glass door, and took a step inside. I didn’t know a lot about heaven but I was pretty sure this was most likely how it smelled and felt.

At the time, I didn’t know any one that had air conditioning in their house. In fact thinking back, I don’t believe any of the stores surrounding the square had air conditioning. Yet the Strand in all her glory did.

I stood there for a moment thinking how soft the carpet was beneath my feet and how cool the air was on my face. The last time I had felt this much temperature difference this fast was when I went to the locker plant with my granddaddy. Before people had deep freezes there were large frozen food plants that rented out small areas to the public.

Any way there I stood when the man reached down and took my ticket and tore it in half. I stood there another moment just taking everything in.

He then said, “Your in the way kid.”

I followed my noise to the concession stand. I had ten cents left to blow. I didn’t plan to take any thing home with me.

After watching, the weenies go around on the weenie Ferris Wheel for a minute I decided a hotdog was too expensive. I then turned my attention to the candy. Again, I couldn’t see spending a dime on a box of candy.

Finally, I decided on a  coke for a nickel  and bag of popcorn for my other  nickel.

With my munchies in hand I pushed, another door open and walked in to a dark room with a huge screen lit up.

It was Saturday so there would be a movie playing, then a weekly cereal, followed by previews for the coming week, then two ads. One would be for the Chevrolet dealership and the other for the local funeral home. Finally the main feature would play.

The first movie began at nine o’clock Saturday morning and the above was repeated none stop until eleven o’clock that night.

I knew a boy that said he had went in one morning when the show started and didn’t come out until it closed that night. He said he seen one movie five times.

I had walked in the middle of one of the features but it didn’t make any difference. I would set there until I ended up where I had begun.

After finding a seat, I looked up. There was the balcony. It had a separate entrance. Black folks set up there. I had always heard if you set close to the rail that they would spite in your popcorn. Bad part was you would never know it.

Kosciusko legend was that one guy had gotten spit in his hair. There were many rumors concerning the balcony. I thought it was odd that they got the better seats. Many things about the divisions of the races didn’t make sense to me. Still when you are ten, it really doesn’t make much difference.

I watched a cowboy movie once and Robin Hood twice that day.

I remember coming out and how bright the sun light was. It was almost blinding. I didn’t feel like the long walk home but it was either that or takes a chance on a whipping for being late.

About a block down the road I bumped into a kid, I had known from school. We shared the walk about half way. Then I was on my own for the rest.

I don’t think the old days were better. I do think they were much simpler.

I am sure now the kids in Kosciusko don’t get to far from their mother.

Back then we were told to get out of the house at breakfast and not to come back until lunch. We only watched TV at night and the idea of a computer wasn’t even in any ones imagination. Our Game Boy was sack of marbles.

I hope that I was able to stir an old forgotten memory for you today.

One more thing. I am back the next morning adding this. Just for the fun of it I looked up Strand Theater Kosciusko. There was several articles on it. Two or three were from people like me.

I guess the old theater whch is closed now meant a lot to quiet a few people.

One last thing guys. The past is a wonderful place to visit. Just don’t stay there too long. You’ll wear your welcome out.

ggs

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2 Comments on “Saturdays At The Strand”

  1. Deanna Says:

    I loved reading this because it did bring back memories. I didn’t grow up in town so I definitely didn’t go walking around like you did, but my Mom would kick us out the house as soon as we had eaten breakfast and done our morning chores. We would play for hours and hours and hours. I think some days Mom would hand our lunch out the back door because we were so dirty. ha!

  2. Frances Reeves Says:

    It also brought back memories for me. I remembered the Saturday mornings my daddy would drop us off at the Lamar Threater in downtown Jackson. On Saturdays you could get in with a bottle top from a pop. Most of the time it was Pepsi. I never liked Pepsi, still don’t, but I would get one and choke it down when I had a chance just for the top. Growing up in Richland, or Plain as it was called back then there was only one grocery store at the time. Star grocery was about 1/2 mile from my house. We would walk to the store and back at least once a week and would search the sides of the store as well as the parking lot and street on the way home for more bottle tops. Going to the movies was a real treat back then. Parents could drop their kids off and pick a spot to pick them up at a certain time. We would walk up and down Capitol street, look in all the store windows and sometimes wonder into the Hollywood Sweet Shop for a piece of candy or an ice cream cone. Yes, things were simplier back then. Sometimes I think it would be nice to go back for a day just to see how things looked. The skyline and the streets of Jackson were so different. The old cars, the fashion of the day on everyone. Yes, one day would be nice to visit.


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