Thursday, May 27, 2021

At the Capitola Theater, kids could see two movies for $1.50. My sister and I were there every weekend.

When I was a kid there was this magical place called the Capitola Theater, where you could see two movies for less than two bucks. Since we didn't have a TV at home, my sister and I were starved for entertainment, and lived for Sunday afternoons when we could take the bus the theater and spend our allowance money on four hours in front of a screen.

That was cool.

But the real magic for me was at the ticket window, where a woman sat in front of an antique cash register. Now I know she was Audrey Jacobs, whose parents opened the theater in 1948, but when I was a kid she was the slightly scary lady with one big front tooth sticking out and a huge bun of silver hair piled on top of her head.

"Dollar fifty," Jacobs would sing out, and I always gave her $2 so she would give me 50-cent piece, which came sliding down a metal ramp on the side of the cash register to a bowl I could reach into. To me, Jacobs was a living fortune-teller machine, and the closest thing I had to a carnival.
Once inside the theater, you could buy candy for a quarter and popcorn for 50-cents. My mother liked their popcorn because it had real butter, but I found it boring because it was just like the stuff she made at home. You could also bring in outside food, such as the delicious, greasy pies from nearby Pizza My Heart, or a delicious, fluffy cheesecake from Gayle's Bakery up the hill.
And while Jacobs was very strict about not allowing under-age kids to see R-rated movies, her theater was still a haven for teens because you could smoke inside, as long as you sat on the left. You couldn't bring in alcohol, but you could bring in sodas, as long as they weren't in glass bottles.
When it was time to watch the movie, you sat in old seats above a floor that was usually sticky, watching stale films shown with weak speakers on projectors that crackled and skipped. But we loved every minute, and as soon as were were back outside we gazed longingly at the posters for what we could see next week, always hoping it would be the next Star Wars movie.
But the Capitola Theater was not where you could see Return of the Jedi, or even War Games. It showed movies we had never heard of, like Educating Rita, and movies we probably shouldn't have been seeing, like Deathtrap. But we didn't care; we were kids who spent Saturday nights waiting anxiously for a San Francisco radio station to broadcast old programs like Dragnet and Suspense, and kept books on cassette tape from the Aptos library like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Invisible Man so long that the librarians refused to check them out to us anymore. So we watched absolutely anything shown at the theater.
I continued going to the Capitola Theater long after I could afford much fancier theaters with recliner seats and 180-degree screens. And while I admit my most exciting movie experience has been the trip into outer space that watching Gravity in an IMAX theater gave me, I have never felt more excited anticipation for a movie than while looking at the posters for what was coming next to the Capitola Theater. The only time I felt anything close was while waiting to see the first Harry Potter movie with a long line of super excited kids.
Unfortunately, the Capitola theater closed many years ago and the building is now gone, but you can still see Jacobs and her cash register in this local news clip from 1988 marking the theater's 40th birthday:


Saturday, May 15, 2021

Poem: You know they hate you, right?

You ever suddenly realize
that someone you've always loved
has always
treated you like shit?

But you never knew
because to you
they were like breathing.

How could you know
the freckles on your nose
hated you?

Saturday, May 1, 2021

My Grandmother's Journals: May, 1996

1946. (There's a dog in the carriage?!)
In tiny notebooks, my grandmother wrote down each day when she woke up, where she ate breakfast, what movie she went to see, the mail and phone calls she received, then what she read and watched on TV before bed.
In 1996, she was 80-years-old and living alone in a mobile home park in Santa Cruz, Calif. But I wouldn't describe her as lonely; she was an extremely independent and persnickety woman whom I never knew to live with another person or even a pet. (I wrote more about her life in an earlier post.)  
In May of 1996, she did a lot of clothes shopping, clothes swapping, and clothes washing, plus watched a lot of tennis.

Wednesday, May 1, 1996
Awake 7, back to sleep until 9:50.
Breakfast McDonald's. Looked at shoes at Payless.
To Wherehouse, got "Another Country."
To mall, Gottschalk's. Got 2 t-shirts, fit good. Got Blizzard.
To show, "The Quest." Jean Van Damme. Much fighting, martial arts.
Home, ran tape of "Jack the Ripper." 
Watched news, ran "Another Country." Recognized Colin Firth.
Washed car, put in quart of oil.

Thursday, May 2, 1996
Up 3 times. Awake 5:30, up 8:30.
Breakfast Kmart. Got 2 pair summer shoes, looked for hose. All 50' or higher.
Home 11:45, news. Got gas, $1.579/gal.
Returned "Another Country." (Watched it again.)
Ran P&P until 11, ironed some items.
Plagued with ants, need more poison!

Friday, May 3, 1996
Not good sleep. Up 3, took pill.
Left 9:30 a.m. {She drove up to stay with one of my mother's childhood friends, Carla, in Cazadero in Sonoma County.}
Spent night with cat Squeakies-Birds-Raccoons.
Steve {Carla's husband} nice, plays piano? Talked lots.
Bed 11. Not good sleep.

Monday, May 6, 1996
Breakfast BK. Gas at 76, 1.519
Library Post office, got stamps. Sent postcard to Carla.
Longs, took pix of Stinson's letter, left original. Went back, gone.
Watched news, Poirot. Bed early.

Tuesday, May 7, 1996
Up 8, got some clothes ready for laundry.
Breakfast corner, donut/coffee. Woman there had cataract operation, both eyes. Blinks a lot.
To laundromat. Home, ironed curtains, pants, etc.
Noon news. Vacuumed windows.
Mail, bill from Blockbuster.
Drug Emporium, got TV Guide and cookies.
Found ants in cupboard. Heat got to me.
Library, got music.
Watered lawn, watched Frasier. Bed early.
Wednesday, May 8, 1996
Up 7:30, checked oil. OK. 
Breakfast Denny's. 
To Clothes Cottage, 10:30 appt. (10 pieces) Got $28. Refused 3 pair pants!
Balanced checkbook, called 2 times, used Versateller Sat! Watch it.
Yard work. News, Law & Order.
Thursday, May 9, 1996
Awake, radio, read papers. Slept 3:30 to 7:30.
Breakfast McDonald's.
To OSH, got plant and ant poison.
To library. Librarian in children's area showed {?} on piano.
To show, "Truth About Cats and Dogs." Good.
Also got Red Fox plant. Planted it after news.
Showered, washed hair.
Adam Dalgliesh, "A Mind to Murder." 

Friday, May 10, 1996
Watered lawn, washed car!
Breakfast Lyon's.
Wrote Justine, Mina. 
Mailed letter to Mina, Sent her copy of Stinson letter.
To Harbor High, got ticket for tonight.
To Trader Joe's, seven items: $14.17!
Ran tape "A Mind to Murder."
To Harbor High, boys awkward. Girls better. Left at intermission, hot.
Watched X-Files, news.

Saturday, May 11, 1996
Coffee & donut.
Tennis, Graf lost! Kafelnikov lost to Spainard?
Vacuumed car, washed mats.  Washed car yesterday.
Tape of Helen Mirren, good, tense. Prime Suspect: Scent of Darkness.
Walked on East Cliff. To mall, got cone.
Watched Mad About You, "The Dead Pool," Eastwood.
Sunday, May 12, 1996
To McDonald's, breakfast burrito.
Home, washed shoes, pants, 2 tops, blue.
Watched tennis. To show, "Oliver and Company."
Got food at Wendy's, ate at home.
Watched Bravo, opera, Pavarotti, Masterpiece Theatre.
Bed 10:30, read til 11:30.

Monday, May 13, 1996
Foggy. Donut & coffee at home. Tired, catching cold? From yesterday?
Rested most of day.
Mail: Letter from Andra, bill from Mervyn's.
Walked Capitola, pushing sand. Bought ice cream cone.
Watched Poirot, Law & Order, more Pavarotti.

Tuesday, May 14, 1996
Up 8, ate here.
Laundromat, watered lawn before laundry.
News, ironed white pants. Sill dirty.
Slept after lunch.
To Kmart, pie ala!
Home, news, read. Frasier, good.
Wednesday, May 15, 1996
Breakfast BK, got breakfast burrito, no sauce.
Cloudy, tropical rain coming.
Home, wrote Prudy. News.
Mail from Medicare, reduced charge by eliminating charge for second day check-up! Now $81.19.
Rain hard all evening, stopped 3 a.m Awake most of time.

Thursday, May 16, 1996
Awake 5, up 9. Breakfast Carl's, muffin.
Car did not start as usual, then finally did, Got wet?
Glasses popped one lens. Had to go to Fong, who put lens back. Fong to fish in Alaska with son.
Mail, fone bill, letter from Justine. Sent article on Jennifer Ehle. 
To Kinko's, xeroxed songs and Ehle. Drug Emporium

Friday, May 17, 1996
Breakfast Lyon's. 
Home, wrote Mina, sent pix of Jennifer to her.
Called Justine at 12 p.m., talked a few minutes. She said get "Big."
To show, "Birdcage." To library, got "Big," Secret Garden.
Home, played Big, worked on Chopsticks.
Bed late, read Austen bio. Not good sleep.
Saturday, May 18, 1996
Breakfast at corner. Someone broke basin at shop!
To post office, mailed Austen to Mina. Got card for Stinson, envelope for Pemberly card. 
Mall, got purple sweatshirt for Justine, got knife, knee highs, ear pads, returned videos.
Home, ate, news. Watched "Love Potion No. 9," Sandra Bullock.

Sunday, May 19, 1996
Up 8:30, used weed/feed. Some leaf clean-up
Tennis, Muster vs. Krajicek. 6/2, 6/4, 3/6, 6/.
To show, "Denise Calls Up." Computer & phone sex.
To Arts on pacific, booths with crafts.
Wendy's, ate chicken, brought taco salad home. Had chili.
Paid Mervyn's, bought 2 fitted shirts.
To bank, got $100.
Home, food, French, 60 Minutes, Murder She Wrote.

Monday, May 20, 1996
Awake 6, stayed in til 9.
Captain of fishing boat does not want to be boarded by Coast Guard! On KGO now in Monterey Bay, he from Morro Bay.
Larry got lily out of eaves, I also got more.
Yard work, some Poirot, Marple.
News, bed, read until 12:45. Up three times. Worked hard in sun.
Freda came over to say she will paint her place.
Cloudy, rain.

Tuesday, May 21, 1996
Breakfast Denny's. 
Library, returned 2 books, music. 
Tired from working yesterday? After news, slept.
Mail, adverts. 
Cold day, cloudy. 5.7 quake east of San Jose.
Law & Order, Frasier, John Larroquette to marry Carly, but x friend pregnant.

Wednesday, May 22, 1996
Check on cable, June is free month.
Slept better. Breakfast at corner. Showing tourism catalogue from brother in Cambodia.
He said Pol Pot died, big celebration there.
To Louden for BP, talked to some women.
Vacuumed some, belt broken. To Longs.
To Aptos, made appt. w/Glad Rags.
To show, "Land of Freedom." Spanish Revolution.
Home 6 p.m., message from Carol. Called, spoke 2 hours!

Thursday, May 23, 1996
Breakfast BK. To Moher's Vacuum, she put belt on.
TCI cable, paid year. June free.
Lucky, groceries. Nice day.
Noon news, ate, read. Tired, eyes bad.
Rested 2x, walked 6 to 6:30.
TV: Home Improvement, Cronkite, Mystery, "Adapted Eye."
Slept good.

Friday, May 24, 1996
Breakfast Carl's. Walked in mall.
To show, "Mission Impossible." On speed train, aerostar.
Library, renewed book of music.
Hot, windy. Ate, rested a bit, read papers.
Bed 11, X-Files.

Saturday, May 25, 1996
Up 9 a.m. Coffee & donut at corner.
Letters to Justine and Carla/Steve. 
Longs, mailed letters, got stamps and micro fertilizer.
Walked on East Cliff, O'Neill's having sale. Got black shorts for Peter.
Read papers, TV, ran tape of P&P. 
Bed, no sleep! Up for soup at 2, then cereal at 3:30.
Finally slept 4 to 5. Radio some.

Sunday, May 26, 1996
Awake 9 a.m. Indy going, only 2 laps at 9:30. 
Watered lawn and weeded, took one hour.
Accident at Michigan Track, No injury. On pre-lap, didn't even start.
Breakfast here. Watched races, ran "Fabulous Baker Boys."
News, 60 Minutes, "Undercover Blues," Kath Turner, Dennis Quaid.

Monday, May 27, 1996
Appt Glad Rags 1 p.m.
Breakfast Kmart, grill out. To Trader Joe's, got papayas.
Glad Rags called, their 12 p.m., cancelled. Took sleeveless blue blouse, black/white shirt from London, white pants, not worn. 
Watched Ch. 9, "Pilot's Story." very moving. 
To "Jane Eyre," good. 
Taped Law & Order, Poirot. Watched Bio: Burns and Allen. ST:TNG

Tuesday, May 28, 1996
Up 9ish. Breakfast coffee & donut.
Penney's, checked Hallmark cards. Nil.
Checked 17th Street Drugs, Hallmark there.
Home, news, Got extra bags ready to give to Thrift & recycle.
To Kinkos, copied "Piano for Pleasure."
Bags to C.P. store, Woolworth for 3 cards: 2 birthday, 1 grad.
To mall, cone. Home, ran tapes of L&O, Poirot.
Bed, read papers. No sleep until 3 a.m.

Wednesday, May 29, 1996
Up 9, ate here. Thought tennis on ESPN, but soccer.
To Kmart, turkey sandwich.
Mail, letter from Mina. Xerox, Longs, Albertsons.
Shower/hair, washed some clothes. Got sheets, etc, ready for wash tomorrow.
Called Justine, graduation in December. Moving in with Karen.
To post office, mailed package to Peter. 
Walked 7 to 7:30.
TV: L&O, Ch. 9: "Taking on the Kennedys."

Thursday, May 30, 1996
Slept pretty good. Breakfast BK. To laundromat.
Home, tennis. Chang (beat) Fromberg. 6/4, 3/6, 7/6, 6/4. Chang tired.
To library, returned piano, herbs, looked for article on Chen's. Eyes hurt.
Walked 7 to 7:30.
Law & Order, Mystery. Bed 9:30. Pretty good sleep.

Friday, May 31, 1996
Sun out early. Up 7:15. 
Breakfast at corner, very crowded. Woman with eye operation on both eyes sat near me. Talks all the time, but has sinus problems, too!
Tennis, Seles and Sampras won.
Got chicken sandwich at Carl's. Mail: Postcard from Carla.
To "Dragonheart." Campy, poor editing. Almost full audience. 
News, taped X-Files.