Yesterday, I was honored to be part of a panel for a documentary regarding The beautiful and restored Tampa Theatre. We were asked to share our memories and it was a beautiful nostalgic path to memories that had waited , until now, to be unlocked from the recesses of my mind.
My memories may seem trivial and they really are, but as children we magnify things and sometimes when we go back as adults, we are disappointed. This was not the case for me yesterday. It was like going back in time and reliving certain moments. I could almost taste the flavor of the hot dogs in my mouth. I could smell the aroma of popcorn wafting through the lobby and would have grabbed a mouthful, forgetting my diet, and adding more butter to it.
Sitting in the balcony, I envisioned all the movies that I had watched there. They were all flashing before me,one after the other, as I sat in the audience. It was also a sentimental journey to remember my family and other loved ones, who went there with me, and who are no longer here with me but forever in my heart.
When you get to be my age, there are many memories locked in the vaults of your mind. But there are some that just stand out more than others and the Tampa Theatre is one of them.
For those who don’t know, this beautiful and ornate theatre has been a downtown landmark since it’s opening in 1926. The restoration they’ve done is amazing and I am so grateful it’s being preserved. Sometimes we have a tendency to tear down, rebuild in its place and though I am all for progress, I would have preferred to keep some of our Tampa traditions and beautiful buildings that now can’t be replaced.
This theatre has also built a reputation of having it’s own ghost. Foster Finley, who was a projectionist there for 35 years before he collapsed inside the projection booth in 1965. To this day, staff members tell stories of jingling keys, an odor of his shaving lotion and ghostly sightings. As much as I would like to embellish on this, I did not see or hear anything from the man who was called “Fink” by his friends and co-workers.
Instead, I envisioned my own ghost floating about; the one I created in my first book “Stolen Destiny”. It was even more exciting for me yesterday than it was when I wrote it.
The Tampa Theatre is a place of intrigue, mystery and nostalgia all rolled into one. It offers you more than just a movie to watch. It becomes, like in days of old, an event to enjoy and remember for the rest of your life.
I hope you get to experience it while you’re visiting and if you’re a Native like I am, go back. You won’t regret it. And wouldn’t it be great to get all dressed up like we used to do when we went there?
If you have special memories of your own, please share them with me. I would love to compare notes.
Until Next Time, Stay in The Write Zone,