Chapter 10, Engaged At 17 With Parent’s Consent
After chauffeuring, driving lessons, hanging around our house, and more
kissing he was officially my boyfriend. At the end of my junior year, on my
17th birthday, he asked me to go with him downtown and see the musical movie Camelot at the classic California
Theater on First Street.
the front door he showed up wearing a tie and sports coat. My evening was going
to be a formal birthday date. An elusive premonition overcame me as I changed
clothes to more formal attire in the bedroom. As I returned to the living room my perplexed conjecture
was perhaps he was giving me a special birthday present.
He splurged and parked in an attended parking lot rather than driving blocks looking for a space as normal. When he paid the attendant to park I checked to see if the 50 cents returned on his dollar included silver which was disappearing from circulation. Luckily there were 2 silver quarters which I requisitioned for my silver coin stash.
Double luck but why’d he squander 50 cents to park? Is he treating me like a queen? No, he’s afraid for car. Downtown’s seedy now. Even Heart’s Department store’s closing.
The theater, now restored, was sinking into disrepair too, the "old
days" of ushers with narrow cone flash lights guiding patrons to their
seats a distant memory. Even in its faded glory it still made a movie like Camelot special. The full effect of its speakers for the
musical lyrics and screen presentation of a movie like Camelot, enjoyed in
common with an audience is not experienced with a drive-in, TV or video
presentation. They lack an old movie theater’s dark intimate connection with
fellow viewers, a mystical connection now lost even in the small multiplex
There was the smoke, however, with every seat having its little ash tray.
You could look up and see the smoke cloud as the projector’s light passed through
on its way to the screen.
Is there a message in the movie? It’s about love, love’s betrayal.
What do the simple folk do?
It’s a Cinderella story for me. Guenevere’s an idiot, an unsatisfied queen. Sir Lancelot is a liar and betrayer.
After the show we strolled, hand in hand, among the First Street throng the
couple blocks to Original Joe's, still a popular Italian restaurant landmark. The
songs, flipped over in my mind as melody residue.
In short, there's simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
Tra la! It's May!
The lusty month of May!
That lovely month when ev'ryone goes
I find humility means to be hurt
It's not the earth the meek inherit,
It's the dirt
That’s my inheritance, dirt. I’d never be Guenevere, a fool for Sir Lancelot. I’d be happily-ever-aftering, Queen of Camelot. Camelot would be my Cinderella story.