Monday, January 28

Bank Night at The Custer Theater

When I was about six, my mom started taking me to the movie every summer Wednesday night. It was what they called "bank night." You put part of your ticket stub into a box and kept the other half, and at intermission, they pulled several numbers to distribute prizes and money to the lucky winners.


We watched the movie, but we kept an eye on the time for intermission, as it was often more exciting than the westerns and horse operas they showed. One particular hot summer night, my mom had fallen asleep. I tried to wake her just as the ticket selection began, but she wouldn't budge. They called several stub numbers and those people won dishes or small gift certificates. Finally they got to the big prize......$400 cash. That was a huge sum in 1946! They called the number three times and I fished the stub out of mom's pocket just in time to scream from the balcony...."We're here!" That woke mom up and as soon as she got out of the fog she was in, she ran down to the stage to receive her cash. I was a hero that night!
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Jeff, at the WVSR mentioned something today that sent my memory reeling into the distant past. Do you remember when children used to ride in the window ledge above the back seat of cars? As a very young child, I used to love riding up there, warmed by the sun on the window. Being in motion always made me a little carsick, so climbing into the warm window ledge put me to sleep, and I could tolerate the ride without getting sick. I never could figure out why it made my mom mad for me to sleep in the car. She and my dad loved to go for rides on Sunday afternoons and they would think nothing of driving 100 miles before heading back home. Of course those were the days of 20 cents per gallon gasoline (or less). Mom thought I should be taking in the sights, but I had almost no interest in seeing crumbling barns and farm animals. Small towns and cities held my interest a little bit, but they were few and far between on the routes my parents selected.

Now if my parents had a car old enough to have a rumble seat - I might have enjoyed the ride. I envied people who got to ride in them, although by the time I remember riding in cars, those with rumble seats were ancient relics of a former time. I always thought it would be great fun to ride in a car's rumble seat while my parents were inside the car. I saw it as a measure of independence, I think, which is ludicrous when you think of it, but at the time, it made perfect sense to this girl of seven. Maybe the love of a rumble seat was what also caused me to love convertibles. We never owned one; my parents thought they were too flimsy; cold in the winter, easy to break into and dangerous with the top down. I scoffed at that opinion and vowed to own one as soon as possible. I dated guys with convertibles no matter what they looked like, just to get to ride in one. (Should I admit to having been that shallow?)

By the time I could afford a convertible, we had children and decided not to get one. The next time I could have had one, I started my business - and it is rather hard to deliver flowers in a convertible - so I opted for a minivan, which was perfect for it. Now 20 years later, I am still driving a minivan (my 4th one) and I'm still wishing I could have a convertible. Maybe I'll get one for my 70th birthday. That's only 3 years away. Can't you see me driving down the highway with an Isadora Duncan scarf flying behind me?

30 comments:

David said...

you, the convertible, the scarf I can see it all.

tiff said...

Get it now.

Tomorrow is too late for a dream that's so long in the making.

Also, can I have a ride?

JeanMac said...

Yes, I can imagine your pedal to the metal in a conv. scarf flying.
We had a T-bird convertible, 57 I think - fun, fun, fun. get one, Judy.Your post brought back a lot of memories for me.

THE BLUEST BUTTERFLY said...

I love convertibles,too. :-)

Star said...

A red convertible? I definatly thnk you should get one. I remember rides for the sake of the drive with my parents. A lot less super highways back then, but a lot more country in driving distance.

ET said...

Such a great thing to remember!

Diane Mandy said...

I can totally see you with the scarf and big round sun glasses. I also enjoyed your memory of the Wed night movie!

Peter said...

You're right about $400 being a lot of money in 1946 Judy, what a great win.

Granny Annie said...

Well Judy, you certainly have stirred up some memories with this post. I can remember drawings of some kind at show intermissions. Going to moving pictures was a huge entertainment treat in the olden days. Wow, you must have been a hero to have set the alert for the $400. Did you get something special out of the deal?

I also liked the car back window ledge because otherwise I was relegated to the floor squeezed in a square on my side of the hump. Know what I mean?

Anna said...

I totally see all that! :) You look fabulous!

bobbie said...

Oh, my dear, what memories you have brought back to me! It was a bicycle given away at the Saturday matinee. I never got one, but I never gave up hope. And the window ledge! You got a whole different perspective, riding there. I rode in a rumble seat just once. Wow! If you can possibly do it - get your convertible!

Nancy said...

Judy,

I am older than you are so I did have the opportunity to ride in a rumble seat.

We were on a "Double Date" and Roy and I were in the rumble seat because the owner always got to sit inside and it was not our car.

We were riding along and it was fun until we went under a railroad bridge and a train was above us and, at the very moment we went under the tracks, that damned train let water out of the engine and it was like being under Niagara Falls. Thank God it wasn't boiling hot.

We were soaked and had to go right home.

We never rode in that car again.....

kenju said...

Nancy, you've cured me of wanting to ride in a rumble seat... Or maybe I just won't drive under a railroad bridge! LOL

Susan said...

Oh, absolutely----Large over-sized dark sunglasses, red lipstick and a long red (or purple) flowing scarf! Go for it!

Carolyn said...

Yes, we can all see it. Now do it and post us some piccies! ;D

You could get a car w/a rumble seat like the one on the Waltons.

Geraldo said...

My first car was a red Triumph Spitfire, and I still miss it.
I hope you get your convertible soon, but be careful with the scarf, remember what happened to poor Isadora...
Here in Brazil, rumble seats were called mother-in-law seats...

Blonde Goddess said...

I used to go on rides with my grandparents every Sunday. My brother and I would ride in the back of the car and we'd go to Madawaska lake and have Ice Cream at Hede's store. I loved the butterscotch swirl in a cone and would look forward to every Sunday because of it.
When I tell my kids about it, they say my life must have been pretty lame if that was the highlight of every week...LOL

Evil Twin's Wife said...

You could just rent a convertible for a week or so - you get your fun and you get to keep your practical ride. :-)

The Evil Twin worked at one of the theatres downtown. I think it was the Custer (in the 70s).

Beverly said...

I definitely can see you in a convertible. You are one classy lady and would look so great in it.

Tia said...

I concur. Convertible it is. As soon as possible.

PI said...

I don't know if a convertible is like my sports car in which(I never tire of telling people, I drove through France in - on my own.) But I would have the greatest difficulty getting in and out of it now - so Judy if you are tempted, try before you buy:)

Dianne said...

Yes, definitely rent one and have a weekend adventure. Careful with the scarf though!! I see more of a Grace Kelly look for you - the big sunglasses and the chiffon scarf tied lightly to keep the coif in place.

And take pictures!!

Ginnie said...

I remember a time when they gave gifts at the movie intermissions. Ours was on a Saturday and first would be the kiddie gifts and then progressively get more adult as the day wore on to evening. A fun time and you could stay for all the performances if you wanted to...but had to buy another ticket if you wanted a winning stub!

Inanna said...

Yes, I can see that!

Thumper said...

Um...you know how Isadora Duncan died, don't you? You might want to rethink the ragtop-scarf combo...

Rauf said...

i was never lucky at the raffles, now i feel that i don't even exist.
i could visualise your joy Judy !
This reminds me of the recent Mr. Bean movie where he wins a ticket to Paris.

rosemary said...

I used to ride in my Daddies lap and he would let me hold the wheel.

I had a convertable...a Vette. You deserve that and the chair!

Omykiss said...

when you get your convertible ... make sure it's a red one!

brendalove@gmail.com said...

$400 is a lot of money NOW!

Farrago said...

Live the dream, girl! Live the dream!