The Colonia Theater

When I first saw the sign on the Colonia Theater’s marquee, announcing that the theater would be closed until Oct. 17, I didn’t think anything of it really. After all, they are located right across the street from a restaurant which regularly closes for vacation several weeks a year.

But yesterday morning as I drove to work, I experienced a little bit of heart failure when I saw that the date on the marquee had been changed to the 24th.

The more I thought about the old theater, the more nostalgic I became. I realized that the Colonia has not only been an important part of local history, but it has also played a starring role in my life story as well.

I honestly can’t contemplate what my formative years would have been like without the cinematic venue.

In fact, it was in the Colonia’s bathroom that I met one of my best friends. We’d both just seen Annie and it didn’t take us long to figure out we had a lot in common. When her grandmother called for Missy, I answered. When my mother called for Melissa, I answered.

Thankfully, no one calls either of us Missy anymore but, other than that, not much has changed. She’s about the same height, I still know all the words to “Tomorrow” (although it has become less socially acceptable to flaunt that knowledge now that I’m not 5) and we’re still friends.

Then there was Bambi, made notable by the fact that I never actually saw it. My brother, whose job it was to take me to the movie, refused. He said it was “against his religion,” which was, apparently, hunting. To this day, I’m a little bitter. And I’m quite possibly the only person in the free world who hasn’t seen the Disney classic.

I realized, while watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, I wasn’t the only one in my family who could be bitter. It was something I obviously learned on my mother’s knee.

When I whined about not wanting to stay to see the rest of the movie (at or around the banquet scene where live snakes, insects and brains were consumed), she wouldn’t let me leave the theater no matter how hard I begged. I distinctly recall her saying I had made her take me and now I was going to sit through it whether I liked it or not ...

In our teen and ‘tween years, my friends and I had rather limited entertainment options on weekends as we got a little older. Our choices were usually either going to a movie or Rock-n-Bowl. We loved both.

As we got older and more adventurous, our parents still thought we were going to the movies or bowling. And we did. Just not every time we told them we were.

So many of the cherished memories of my youth revolve around that theater. And I know that I’m not the only one. I would hate to see future generations deprived of the experience.

I’ll admit that it’s been years since I saw a movie at the Colonia. My excuse of living out of the area can only take me so far. But I promise that will change on the 24th.

I plan on being one of the first in line for a ticket to whatever happens to be showing. I’ll just have to pray that it isn’t anything scary.

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