The Show Hall

The show hall

We should have known better; However adventure was always calling Glennyl and his two friends Jay and Georgie. They could not resist the call when it popped up its irresistible head. They just had to follow it. Today was like so many during the summer: Hot, dry and ready for our young explorers. Around ten o’clock in the morning Glenny, Jay,and Georgie started off on their adventure with no particular place in mind.

First they headed uptown toward the Company Store. There next to the store was the Old Boarding House with the Post Office on the bottom floor. The mail never got ready until after 10:00 A.M. because the postmistress read all the postcards and anything else that was open, to keep up on the gossip
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The three friends poked their heads in the door of the store and said hello to Mrs. Jewkes. The Coal Company owned the Company Store, and Calvin Jewkes was the manager. He was very handsome and could really sing. His wife, Marjorie, ran the front of the store with their son, Ronnie. Ronnie and the Berenson boys were the best baseball players in the whole county. Sam was the butcher. He was old and really grouchy with all the little kids.

Each of the little boys had two cents in his pocket, and the candy counter was a magnet. The candy counter was cool, not as cool as the one at the confectionery next door. It was only open on Tuesdays. That was the day that The Company gave the free picture show. At the movie you could get two-for-a-penny and three-for-a-penny candy. If you had a whole dime, you could really pig out.

The show hall was really old and made of brick. It had all kinds of trap doors and secret passages. On this particular day the young explorers knew they were going to explore the show hall, so they brought their fathers’ flashlights with them.

There was a secret entrance in the back that was only big enough for little boys to squeeze through.

Quickly, the three of them scampered through and in a flash they were in the “BOILER ROOM.” The furnace was standing in the corner of the room. It was all big, black, and scary with its many arms reaching for the ceiling. There was just enough of the morning sun coming in through the vents so that they could see well without their flashlights
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They came to a big pile of slack, which is coal, but crushed into tiny pieces. The slack was piled up really high, and they had to climb over it. The stuff got into their shoes and socks, and they had to sit down on something to take them off and clean them out. There was an old mattress in the corner. It must have been someone’s bed, but whose? Why was it way down here in this dark and scary furnace room? Why indeed?

With the coal out of their shoes and socks, it was time to continue.

There was a ladder that went up and out of sight, and so did our little adventurers. When they got to the top of the ladder, they found themselves on the stage behind the picture screen. Now, in this area it was really black and dark. The only light coming from anywhere was from their flashlights. Slowly, they shined their lights here and there.

What was that lurking over there in the corner? They discovered it was a big wooden box with a lid on it. The three wondered whether it was a trunk or something worse.

Glenny was the youngest, and he was elected to open it. His tummy really hurt because he was so scared.
Inch-by-inch Glenny moved closer to the box, or was it a coffin hidden here in the dark? Michael finally got up the courage to touch it. When he did, the other boys screamed, “Watch out!”

Glenny was back to the ladder and half way down to the boiler room when the other boys caught him, laughing at how silly he was acting.

Glenny really felt dumb, but he was still scared and it was so hard to inch his way back over to the big box. He told the other boys that they had to be there with him and shine their flashlights inside when he opened it up. They didn’t like that because now they had to participate, and it was just as scary for them, as well.

Everyone now had their hands on the lid. They decided to lift it up quickly rather than slowly. Suddenly, they lifted it straight up and the boys shined their lights in to see……

AN EMPTY BOX! Whew, what a relief.

They didn’t want anything more to do with that dark old stage. With lights shining they walked around to the front of the screen. There was just one light on, but it was enough. They could see all the seats and all the way up to the projector.

The projection room was so cool and, and since no one was allowed up there, it was even more exciting. They got to the back of the show hall, and when the doors were opened the daylight from the front windows came shining through.

They were really relieved, and began to laugh and joke as they started up the stairs to the projection room. There was a lot of light up there, too. They could look through the little window over the seats and see clear up to the screen.

This was so fascinating. The projection room actually had two rooms. The first one had lots of cut up film all over the floor, and it was dark. They had just started walking into the second room, when out came a very tall man who yelled, “What are you little brats doing up here? You get out a here, and I mean right now!”

The boys screamed out together, “Oh, Momma!”

It was then that they noticed that it was Ronny Kulow. Ronny ran the projector and was getting everything ready for the movie that night. He repeated, “You boys better get out of here, right now.”

Our little heroes were down the stairs so fast it looked like a blur. When they hit the front door, it felt like they were escaping from prison. At last they were free, outside, and safe, almost.

It started to rain, and they ran for home. The closer they got to home, the harder it rained. The thunder was booming and the lightning flashing so close. The trio was really scared now.

They got to the edge of the wash, (a ravine), which ran by the school. They stopped dead in their tracks. The wash was big and the road and sidewalk they were following went down and across and up to the other side.

There was a big cable acting as a railing beside the sidewalk. They stood in horror as they watched the lightning strike first a big tree on top of the wash on the other side. Then, “Boom,” went the thunder! The cable exploded and flew all over the place. The boys took off toward the school to get under cover.

They huddled together by the front door until they could see the sun coming out and the storm moving over the mountain. Bravely, they now marched down and across the wash to where the cable still lay, smoking. It was then that they realized, maybe their Guardian Angels had stopped them just in time.

Happy to be free from danger, they ran home to tell their mothers of their latest adventure, and be safe; really safe, again.

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