This past week I took my mother to see The Sound of Music on the stage of the DeWitt Theatre in Holland, Michigan. That brought back memories of seeing it at the movies, and that lead to reminiscing about my childhood experiences.
When I was growing up, the nearest movie theater was sixty miles away. My father also hated to spend money. As a result, I rarely went to the movies. In fact, I went only once while living at DeTour Village, Michigan from third grade through tenth grade. Daddy took us to see a Ma and Pa Kettle double feature in Sault St. Marie, Michigan (at the theater that was sixty miles away). Daddy may have chosen Ma and Pa Kettle with his young children in mind, but the humor was exactly his type.
We took a sabbatical to Scotland in the middle of our time at DeTour. We sailed to England on the Queen Mary (pictured above)* in 1961 on our way to Scotland, and the fare included free admission to the ship’s movie theater. Because it was free, my parents let us see as many movies as we wanted. I probably saw several during the five-day crossing, but I only remember one. I’m not positive, but I think it was Parrish, staring Troy Donahue. In any event, it wasn’t meant for ten-year-old girls. It may be that my parents didn’t realize what I was watching, or they may have thought I was mature enough to handle it. Either way, I guess I turned out okay.
I didn’t go to the movies again until my junior year in high school, when The Sound of Music came to Lake City, Michigan. (The movie came out in 1965 and we didn’t move to Lake City until just before school started in 1966, so it must have taken a while to reach the small-town theaters.) This time it was my mother who was the primary force in seeing the movie, although I enjoyed it as much as she did.
When I went to college, I could finally go to the movies as much as my limited income would allow, which turned out to be several times a year. Then when I dated Roland, we went once or twice a month.
But it’s those lean years that I remember most.
* I couldn’t find a picture of the Queen Mary among the slides my father took when we went to Scotland in 1961, so this is from our 1958 trip home after our sabbatical in Amman, Jordan.