Remembering Our Fathers
Jun 18, 2023
Happy Father's Day to these beloved fathers, each memorable and unique in his own way. Before you ask, I'm the tall one on the right in the top right photo, shot in my mother's beauty shop.
Because my mother's beauty shop was busiest on Saturdays, I love that my father took us to the Criterion Movie Theater every Saturday to get us out of my mother's hair. (I couldn't resist.)
In those days, you could stay at the movies for many hours because they showed not only two major films, but also newsreels, cartoons, and short subjects. To keep from buying the overpriced snacks in the theater, we'd plan ahead and take our own "outside" treats. The only time we came close to being caught by the theater ushers with our "outside food" was when we got older and tried to sneak in the little cartons of hot pork fried rice from the local Chinese restaurant. You couldn't hide that aroma, and had to wait until the theater was completed dark before we could dare scooping fork fulls.
During "King Kong" and other scary movies, my sisters and I would routinely cover our eyes with our fingers spread apart just a bit to cut down the full fear, and scream, but then ask, "What's happening now?" My father would chuckle and say, "Uncover your eyes if you want to know."
During the love stories, I think he wished he could cover our eyes, but with three girls he couldn't manage that, so he just suffered through them. They didn't rate movies in those days.
We watched The Little Rascals, the roadrunner, Abbot and Costello, Frankenstein, Hitchcock movies, war movies, the classics, cowboys, gangsters, and so many, many others. From those movies, I got a glimpse of what life was like in cities, neighborhoods, and people much different to those in our segregated neighborhood of the 50's. In many ways, those movies helped me design how I wanted my life to be and not to be.
I'm grateful to my father for his consistency and patience in sitting through those movies dutifully every Saturday for over a decade and even sometimes yielding to our request to see the movies again when we begged to stay longer. Not once did he drop us off and pick us up later. He sat through every feature, never once dozing off, at least to my knowledge. What a guy!
P.S. I whipped this story together fast without editing, so for those of you who spot errors, congratulations!