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A Story about The Cinema

April 3, 2010

The Cinema at Night

What does the Cinema mean to you?  That was the question asked by The Buzz.  That is the Highland Park neighborhood newsletter.  The following is my response.

For reasons that may soon become apparent to you this writer will remain anonymous.   For over seven years I went to The Cinema once a week.  Sometimes I went because it was showing a movie I wanted to see.  Most of the times I went there as part of was my new way of life because I had given up drinking.  I had stopped going to the bar and had given up people and places that could tempt me.  It was not easy to give up my old friends.   I got help from church, a minister, a counselor, The Cinema, and Alcoholics Anonymous.  I went rain or shine, wind or snow. It was a rest from working on myself and my problem. I went so much that first year I got a Christmas gift from Jo Ann.  Many of you may remember this book of tickets she gave out that year.  It had coupons, one for a movie, one for pop corn, one for a drink in a refillable sippy that can be filled, to this day, for 75 cents, and a tee-shirt.  I still have mine. Jo Ann will never know how much that gift meant to me that Christmas because I had left a relationship of 10 years when I gave up my old ways. Along with that went some of our friends and his family.  That was one of the few gifts I got that Christmas. Going to the movies helped me not to think about drinking.  It was a safe place that didn’t cost me much.  Many times a big bag of pop corn was my dinner.   After a while, what seemed to be the impossible,   a goal I thought I would never make, was getting close. It was going to be a year that I had not taken a drink.  I asked Jo Ann if I could have a theater party to celebrate   When I told her what I was celebrating and how I did it. She said My Theater is up there with those fine institutions? You can have your party here.  She smiled.  “I am going to do one better for you.  I have a screening room where you and your friends can see the movie in private.  You can take your coffee up there and stay as long as you like.   The staff stays after the movie to clean up every night.  I asked her how much she was going to charge us for that and she said. You are celebrating one year,   one dollar. We celebrated in the screening room. The cinema made coffee for us and I served cake after the movie. I don’t get to the Cinema as often as I used to.  I look at the cinema fondly and needless to say Jo Ann played an important part at a pivotal time in my life.   Next week it will be 20 years since that legendary Cinema party. 

This story was submitted in February 2010 by a resident who has asked to remain anonymous.

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