Letter to the Editor

Thayer pool, Beck Theater memories

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dear Editor:

The July 21 and 28 Southern Missourian News issues arrived simultaneously yesterday. Within them were two articles that caused me to reflect on a couple of great childhood memories: Movies at the Beck Theater and swimming in the Thayer City Pool.

I remember walking downtown on Saturdays for matinees and Mrs. Mooney serving popcorn and soda. I vividly recall my grandfather taking me to see the movie "Bug" about some fire-starting cockroaches released from deep underground by an earthquake.

Alas, there were no Oscars awarded to the film, but it was great fun! (Incidentally, that piece of fine cinema is available on iTunes!)

When the theater closed (and later the drive-in), I think there was a subtle but profound effect on the culture of the community.

Movie dollars went north to West Plains and south to Highland. Worse still, it was yet another activity that was no longer readily available to families and young people in the community.

While I have now lived away from Thayer for longer than I lived there, it's nonetheless exciting and encouraging to hear that the theater may be coming back onto the scene.

I'm not sure I understand the decline of the use of the swimming pool.

I remember having to stand in line to get in the gate when the pool first opened -- with well over a hundred of us sitting on the edge anxiously waiting for the whistle to end the "adult swim" time. The coolest of the cool from Thayer High School were lifeguards. I was neither cool nor a lifeguard, but it was still a great place to be during the hot summer days and evenings.

I realize the economy is very much a wild card these days, but during my last visit to the area, I saw plenty of disposable income being spent by parents on beer, cigarettes and kids' plastic toys. An afternoon swim and night at the movie would make much better investments for families and community as a whole.

I hope these endeavors go well!

Trent Rogers, M.D.

Walla Walla, Wash.