AFTER reading in The Bugle and seeing the picture of the 'Regent', Dudley, memories came flooding back from my childhood.
My mother was a fanatic about the cinema. Up until she died Monday nights were always 'picture' nights.
I remember listening for the school bell to ring at 4 o'clock at the Kates Hill School and then I had to run, not stopping until I reached the top of Fairfield Road, where my mother was waiting for me.
Forget tea, that was safely wrapped sandwiches in my mother's bag. Then we made a dash down the road for a bus to Dudley for the Regent or the Criterion.
But if we stayed on to the Station Garage we would go to the Plaza or the Odeon, whichever film took my Mom's fancy, that's where we ended up.
Sometimes if it was an 18 film, there would be children outside asking us to get their tickets for them as they weren't allowed in on their own. Once inside, out would come the jam sandwiches or a few biscuits and we'd settle down for what they called the little picture.
After that there was a short interval for ice cream off the girl standing at the front with a tray of ices, or you could have a 3d or 6d one. But if you were flush you could have a 9d cup.
Then off would go the lights and on came the big (main) picture. If my Mom could see anything frightening coming up she would duck me down to the floor and hold my head down until the said part had passed.
Sometimes when you were sitting there you would see a boy go behind the curtain to the fire exit doors and five boys would come out. He was bringing in his friends for free. That's when the usherettes came in and they would then turf them all out.
People say as you get older you remember things about bygone days clearer. I remember my Mondays so clear and they were so religiously kept.
The earliest memory I have of the 'pictures' was standing with my Mom in a queue outside a cinema in Hall Street, Dudley. There was a woman who always queued and she always had an old clock case with a candle in it. We liked to stand with her because it lit the line up.
What would the youngsters today think of four cinemas in one town? I hope you've enjoyed my visit to the 'pictures'.
Mrs Mary Wood,
11 Fairfield Road, Dudley.