Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Roxy and my rabbit


Being from Delphi, Ind., I belong to the Facebook group “You Know You’re From Delphi Indiana When…”

Michael George Griffey, who graduated from Delphi High School a few years after I did is a major contributor, having run a photography business and a newspaper in Delphi for several years and inheriting a vast and rich photo archive from local photographers who worked there in years past.

He posted this photo a couple of days ago and it opened the floodgates of memories for me, and apparently for a lot of other folks.

It’s the Roxy Theater, a movie house on the north side of the Carroll County Courthouse square and it was where I could be found most Saturday afternoons in my elementary and junior high school years. In fact, this could easily be a shot of me and my friends (but it’s not).

Every Saturday afternoon in the mid- and late 1950s, the Roxy had a matinee aimed at kids. There was usually a double feature of western or war or science fiction movies, complete with a newsreel, a chapter of a serial, and one or more cartoons.

They upped the ante on holiday weekends like Christmas and Easter.

I believe it was the Saturday before Easter 1954 when they drew for prizes during an intermission between the features. In due course, the number on my ticket stub was drawn and I ran down front to the stage where they handed me a real live rabbit. I don’t think I’d even touched a rabbit before that moment. Never having won anything before, I was feeling very very cool.

It being intermission, that meant I had to hold the rabbit through the second feature of the afternoon.

A few minutes into the movie, I noticed what I took to be raisins in my lap.

It was not uncommon for kids to throw things around the theater during these matinees, so I just supposed someone was throwing raisins. So I took to throwing them too.

It never occurred to me to eat them because I was brought up to not eat food that someone else had handled.

Imagine my chagrin when I got home and my dad explained that what I thought were raisins were really rabbit poop.

My dad built a small rabbit hutch for Bugs and he lived with us for several months. Rabbits being socially inept and not very interesting, I eventually lost interest and we released him into the wild where I suppose he was eaten by some predator.


Here’s another view of the Roxy from 1951. The theater was demolished and replaced with apartments in 1974.

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