I think I mentioned before how much I dislike Halloween and all the pressure it used to put on me as a mother to make costumes for my kids. But this year the holiday triggered a long forgotten memory.
When I was growing up here in East Hampton we had a wonderful old movie theater - the Edwards Theater on Main Street. It sat where the present theater is, but it was a classic old dark, velvet draped theater with some elevated seating in the rear for smokers and an honest-to-goodness usher named Jennie. She had a uniform and a big flashlight and she made frequent trips up and down the aisle during a screening to remind people to be quite, or keep their feet off the seats in front of them, or whatever else the infraction might be. She liked kids though and always enjoyed chatting with us while we waited for the lights to go down.
Every year on Halloween the theater showed a scary movie (remember "The Thing"?) and had a costume contest. I remember walking up there with my brother one year to enter the contest - I'm not sure if we did it more than once because this is the only one I remember. My brother was dressed in a full-head Frankenstein mask and wore my father's trench coat, which I seem to think was huge on him. I wore a gypsy costume which I had put together myself, of course, because no one bought costumes in those days (unless they were very rich). I remember a full, colorful skirt and peasant blouse, and I think my mother added a head scarf tied at the side and a side wrap on the skirt as well. I thought I looked marvelous.
The only other thing I remember is that all the people in costume at the matinee were asked to line up in the front of the heavy velvet curtains for judging. And I know that neither one of us won. I remember the girl that won was dressed all in white - a tunic type thing - and had fake blood on her but that's all I remember so I don't know what she was supposed to be. I was disappointed for sure. I was probably all of ten or twelve years old.
I miss the old Edwards Theater. It had a class and substance that its replacement never matched. We went from beautiful art deco to cheap sixties gaudy when the old theater burned down and was replaced by the present "cinema" (excuse me!). But I have the memories in my mind and if I close my eyes I can still see the interior of that theater in all its glory.
My one good Halloween memory....