The only movie theatre in Gander is closing. This makes me sad. I have little in the way of the buildings of my youth to hold onto. My elementary school is gone, my high school in Carmanville burned down a couple of years ago, my parents no longer live in the home I grew up in. Now the place we saw movies when I was a kid will be no more. And it’s not like these days when a movie at a theatre is just one of the choices. No, when I was a kid, oh God, did I just do that? I just said when I was a kid. Imagine a weak voice saying “when I was your age, sonny…“
Anyway, back in the day, the movie theatre was the only visible source of entertainment other than the two channels we received on the TV (one in my case because the reception from the gigantic antenna on our roof could still only pick up one channel—CBC—think about it). No DVDs or VHS or cable TV or Internet or video-enabled iPods or text messaging or videogames (and you could buy a sodey pop, a bag of chips, a bar, and a small car for a penny and we washed our clothes on rocks in a river).
My most vivid memory of that movie theatre is when a bunch of us piled into Robert Goodyear’s van and went to Gander to see E.T. the Extra Terrestrial. I was a mere infant, of course. I’ll never forget the looks on the faces of the people in the mall parking lot as we piled out. If I recall correctly, there were 13 of us in that van, all smushed in for the hour it took to get from Aspen Cove/Ladle Cove to Gander.
Poltergeist made me scream in that theatre, but more so made my friend scream which caused us to jump every time she did. That girl could holler. So many nights we made the long drive so I could visit my boyfriend, now hubby, Vince, while he attended trade school in Gander. Me, my brother, and Vince’s sister Kem. We lost the heater in the car one night and nearly froze getting back home, my brother all bundled up in the back of the car in a blanket while Kem and I kept putting our hands over the heater, hoping that we could make it work on will alone and saying “I think there’s a bit of heat there now” until we finally admitted that wouldn’t happen.
The time we went to see some other movie, I don’t remember, that night Christina, Vince’s niece, was born in the hospital in Gander. We squeezed Christina’s dad Rick into an already overcrowded car so he could see his baby girl (is it any wonder I don’t remember the movie with a night as special as that?). The time Vince and I went to a movie with Mom and Dad—Risky Business with Tom Cruise. Anyone remember the sex scene on the train with Rebecca De Mornay and Tom Cruise? Vince and I looking at each other out of the corners of our eyes, afraid to make direct eye contact, afraid to look at the screen, wanting the uncomfortable moment of watching this with my parents to be over.
I could go on and on. Yeah, it makes me really sorry to see that old theatre close.