Jack’s Mid-Missouri Memory: Old or New
Given the choice between something old, or something new most of the times we would take the shiny new whatever it is. That is especially true if you are young, and have not lived through those days when the something old was still new, and shiny. I for instance love old cars, and would trade the newer vehicles of today for the ones from my youth, with their big bumpers, and naughahyde smells. I remember the problems I had with some of those cars; an old Packard that would vapor lock in the summer, an Oldsmobile with an eight cylinder engine that only used seven, a mercury that used as much oil as it did gas. (Thank heavens for the old Hudson stations back then, that sold 10 cent quarts of recycled oil. That said those cars could be fixed by the owner, unlike now when it has to go into a shop so some guy with a computer can tell you what’s wrong, which nine times out of ten is a part you have never heard of.
There are other things I believe were better when they were simpler too. One speed bicycles, roller skates you could make a scooter out of when you got tired of skating with them, toys tough enough to last long enough to un-wrap them. I also think the movie theaters were better in my youth. That may be because not everyone had television sets in their homes back then. Sedalia had three downtown theaters, and a drive-in when I was a kid. The Liberty, Fox, and the Uptown theaters downtown were where our dreams were housed, waiting for us to come into its darkened interior so those dreams could be played out on a big silver screen. The old theaters seemed like old friends with open arms, ready to invite you in, and even providing an usher to make sure you could find a seat in the darkened room. Don’t get me wrong I do like the new theaters with the hugh wrap around screens, and the seats with cup holders, it’s just that they are like those new shiny cars that all look alike.
The Uptown, Fox, and Liberty theater were all different, their seats felt different, and their screens seemed to be at different angles. As kids we all had our favorite, but we enjoyed all of them, especially when our favorite heroes were on the screen. There are other differences too, but unless you spent time in those older theaters you might not realize them. It is the absence of that shaft of light that comes from the projector to the screen, flickering over your head, and the distinct sound of the projector itself in the background of the music, and dialogue coming from the screen. The light would be filled with curls of smoke, that originated from the smoking section of the balcony. I used to watch the intricate patterns, that changed with the light and dark scenes on the screen, as they twisted and turned inside the flickering light. I might mention that I don’t miss that part, because I always wondered what would happen if the theater caught fire, so I guess some of the new things like smoking restriction are better today.
Now I am not about to say I like old meat better than new fresh meet, but I seem to recall thicker slices of meat and cheese for my sandwiches back then. Now they slice it so thin that it takes a whole package of meat to make a sandwich. I also pay a dollar now for a candy bar that does not measure up to the five cent ones I bought as a kid. There are more things I could mention that prove the old things were better than the new ones are today, but lets face it new is what we have, and new is what we have to love, until it gets old.