Monday, September 1, 2014
Is It Too Late to Touch the Dome?
My friend, Rhonda Paglia, writes children's books. http://www.rhondapagliaauthor.com/ She had a book signing at a store on State Street with the Sharon Historical Society display. We talked publishing woes and triumphs, after gathering in the display. I bought two books.
I strolled around Sharon to see all the booths and of course, check out the food booths. The day grew hot and at close to four, I couldn't think about eating, although I staked out my favorites for later. I huffed up the hill to place my books in the van and returned to the festival.
I ambulated all the way across State Street, then I decided to turn at the Columbia Theater plaza to cross the river behind all the hustle for a gourmet grilled cheese and bacon sandwich. The door to the theater opened to guests. The darkness invited cool against the sun baked day. The must slightly present. I observed Tony Butala of the Letterman posing for photos with phones of visitors. I felt shy. I talked instead to, I believed, his brother, comparing Southern California weather to Pennsylvania. Of course bringing up my daughter, whose dream is to live in LA area.
Ah, a tour was forming. Actually, a tour of historical Sharon had been going on, this was one of the stops. I heard of the history of the Columbia, built in 1921, the third for Warner Brothers, yes, those Warner Brothers, originally from New Castle or Youngstown, whichever source you want to believe.
Tony can weave stories. He had met George Burns. The old vaudeville actor's eyes twinkled when he learned Tony was from Sharon, PA. He noted he married Gracie Allen about a year after a snowy night in the new theater when the show had been cancelled.
Tony spun a belief in the theater opening again soon with a small amount of capital. He talked so well, I wonder if his birthday, too, was in March. I could see the old auditorium hosting new acts and I was caught in the spell. I climbed to the balcony, remembering seeing the old Disney movies, like Jungle Book and Monkey's Uncle up there with my sisters. Otherwise, I sat down below with my parents for so many movies. I'm not sure if the balcony had been opened when I dated David. Some of our first dates were at the Columbia. It truly was a grand place to visit.
I glanced down, seeing the floor way below. Queasiness flirted with my stomach. I didn't venture to the scaffolding to touch the dome. I saw the expanse that looked like an opening to the sky, a heaven inspired imagination. I could have touched it, but shaky legs pinned me to the top of the balcony.
I spoke with some acquaintances I met on the tour. None of us ventured to that steel scaffolding. I'm sure it was safe, but the desire fled with the glimpse of that floor so far below.
When I signed in, I wrote I nodded to the Columbia in my newly launched novel. Yet, like looking at that floor keeping me from touching that magical dome, I kept my mouth shut in front of that group. I'd stretch my legs, but not all the way.
After a dismal tour of the old Phoenix restaurant, I listened to the tour guides in the parking lot outside the two buildings. I noticed Tony behind me, listening to the local speaker. Emboldened, I informed him, my novel I just published I used the Columbia Theater for a scene. It didn't matter that the theater hadn't been built for six years, yet. It's all fiction. His eyes lit up, "You published a book? I'm trying to get one published."
"Well, you have name recognition," I laughed.
Serious, Tony countered, "You published."
The holes in the floor to keep me from touching the dome disappeared. He asked, "Do you have a card?"
I talked my craft and I had no shyness. Reaching into my purse, I pulled one out of my hot pink holder. I wrote the title and he wrote the publisher on back of the card. Soon the conversation was over and I continued on the tour, chatting with the former coworker about her nursing career. I touched the dome of dreams.
Posted by Mollie Lyon at 1:34 PM