Monday, April 13, 2009


When I moved in with my dad on Merrick Rd. in Freeport, I wasn't too happy. Most of the friends I had made there lived in South Freeport, and hung out in places like Randall Park. Of course, some of those guys came up North to visit us. This was one such occasion. There was an abandoned movie theater on Merrick Rd, one block East of our apt. One day, a bunch of us broke in to it. (I'm not naming my co-conspirators, but you know who you are)

We basically ran wild; one of us grabbed the huge silk screen, and ran across the stage, tearing off a four foot thick swath across it's entire width. Others went to the projection room, where we dismantled the two huge projectors. I kept one of the lenses for years, as well as a coaster-sized plastic "Coke" sign from the food counter. No alarm was sounded, and we spent the better part of a week vandalizing the building as an "after school activity," before the cops got hip to us.

I'm not sure if they caught anyone there, but I have a faint memory of it ending on a "blow up the spot" moment, with the police involved. It was really one of a string of places that we seemed to test the limits of civilized response to outrageous teenage behavior, chiefly vandalism. Today's kids aren't very different from us. They're just breaking a different set of rules, and dealing with different responses to their actions.

Interestingly enough, the old Grove St. theater is now a branch of the "Word of God" Ministry, and doing good work. They gave me food, back when I was a neighborhood crackhead, once. I get a laugh out of how we acted back in the day, though I can see why our parents thought we were so much more crazy than they were. We were, as were the kids from the '50's, the '90's, or whatever decade one wishes to cite.

There will always be kids who break the rules. Today's kids may never have the chance to raid an abandoned movie theater, but they'll find something else to vandalize. If not in the real world, they'll do it online. I'm not giving them any slack, I just hope we can keep up faster than the authorities did with us, back in the '70's. That's my story today, and I won't mind comments from my confederates (details are welcome, before I add more of them in a later version of this story), as well as general critiques of my post.