October 28, 2011

Saying So Long

We all have them. Those places that will live forever in our memories, though we may forget about them for years on end. Time passes. Days, months, years, even decades and these places are almost all but forgotten. Mostly because the place itself doesn't seem that special at the time. Just rather ordinary. They aren't the places you took pictures of to remember. It wasn't the beautiful B&B discovered on a treasured holiday or the family cottage on the lake. Yes, those too are special. But you know that in the moment. The places I'm talking of are much more everyday, more usual, more mundane. The places are just part of life in a moment in time. You move through and on and don't even realize that the place is no longer part of your present, but your past. The shift so subtle you don't even notice. Until something reminds you.

One of my such  places was the Carbonear Cinema. It was old, 32 years I believe. It was small and simple, only one screen and one concession counter with your standard issue popcorn and candy bars. It had a website, but no online admission features. The seats were a little worn and the floors were a lot sticky. By all accounts, it was your average small town cinema. Nothing fancy, nothing special. That is until I heard it was severely damaged by fire earlier this week, so extensively that it's future remains unknown. Suddenly, I was reminded of how special this ordinary, plain building on a main road in my hometown is to me.

Volunteer firefighters fighting the blaze.
Photo by Bill Bowman/The Compass
You see, it was where I saw such classics as the original Toy Story, Forrest Gump, and Jurassic Park. It was at that cinema, that very building, that I was allowed to go to my first movie alone without adult supervision. I remember the afternoon as plain as day. My sisters and I being dropped off at the door. Money in hand, cash of course not debit. We stood in line outside because there was no room inside the small entry to accommodate everyone waiting to see the matinee showing of the blockbuster hit. It was 1990, I was 12, and I couldn't wait to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

It was at that same building just a few short years later that I had my first real date {unless you count the cub/brownie dance when I was like seven and our moms set us up ... I don't}. You know, the one where the boy builds up the nerve to ask you to go to a movie on Friday night. Not a group thing, just you and him. The one where you pick something casual, but nice to wear. The one where he pays for your ticket and buys you popcorn. The one where you hold hands for the first time and you smile wide, both out and inside.

I also spent many Friday nights there with mt friends. Hanging out, laughing, being typical teenagers having fun. So you can see how hearing the news that the cinema was gone was a little sad for me. I hadn't been there in years and hadn't thought about it in almost as long. When Toy Story 3 was released last year, many had heavy hearts as it marked the end of an era in their lives. For me, I feel that now knowing the place where I saw the first movie in the trilogy is no more.

photo from the Carbonear Cinema website
Today my movies are seen in the fancy theatre in town, with 12 screens and an IMAX theatre and where I can flash my phone screen for admission and where I can buy poutine and pizza instead of {or with ;)} my popcorn. It might be bigger and newer, but today's theatre doesn't hold quite the same place in my heart. At least not yet.

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