my family moved to plainview
, texas, in the summer of 1953. i was 10 years old at the time.
in august of 1960, i joined the marine corps and moved away, leaving behind my parents, along with two younger sisters.
currently in retirement, i blog about modern life and childhood memories.
while doing research for a current story i am struggling to compile, i telephoned the plainview daily herald to verify facts about the granada movie theater. i felt some excitement as i dialed the number.
the phone rang twice before a male voice answered.
that's odd, i thought. what's going on here?
"i'm sorry. i must have gotten the wrong number. i was trying to reach the herald to get some information about the granada theater."
"no problem. maybe i can help you with that."
encouraged with his attitude, i explained my curiosity about the present condition of the old movie house.
i still remember the place well; a large domed ceiling high overhead, painted black and bedecked with twinkling lights to represent countless stars in the night sky.
around the walls arose a realistic sandstone castle, replete with parapets, along with clinging ivy vines.
details included a small waterfall, as well as a stuffed owl, which sat and glared menacingly down over the audience below, who relaxed in their plush, red velvet chairs, waiting for the movie to begin.
my informant responded with news that i did not receive well.
"it's now been divided into two theaters."
how sad is that, i wondered. how can that be?
then he volunteered some intriguing information.
"i have worked here for over fifty years."
that led me down a new path, so on an impulse, i asked a question.
"did you, by any chance, know my dad? his name was h.a.tippins. he owned
'reliable business machines', located on galveston street."
his voice went up a notch in timbre, and he exploded with excitement as he spoke.
"yes i did.! he had the monkeys!"
well that convinced me -- he really knew my dad, who actually did keep a pair of capuchin monkeys in a spacious cage, located at the rear of his shop, during the later years of his illustrious career.
i then told the printer the wild story of the smaller male, who as i had witnessed many times, constantly pursued the larger female around their wire enclosure, trying to have sex with her.
it always ended the same; the female monkey rested in one corner, bored and unaffected, while the frustrated male sat across the cage from her, masturbating unabashedly to relieve his stress.
usually the act happened in the presence of innocent human females, much to the delight of my dad.
the printer and i both chuckled over the event, and then after exchanging a few pleasantries, we said goodbye and i hung up the phone.
plainview, as i remember it, is a town like no other.