My wife Sheila never whispered when she talked, even if she was in a movie theatre, much to the chagrin of other movie goers who would at times voice their disapproval. Only once did I ever say "Shush" to her when she began to comment on a scene and I regretted it immediately. "Don't you shush me", she loudly proclaimed. The embarrassment I felt at that moment was so overwhelming that I never uttered it again.
It was the summer of 1977 and if anyone asked Sheila or myself if any year in our life stood out from the others both of us would have said "1977". We didn't have a vehicle yet. Heck! I didn't even have my driver's license but we managed to get around relatively easily. Taxis were cheap then and hitchhiking was even cheaper. We would go to the show at least twice a week. It was only $2.50 then for a ticket and popcorn prices were reasonable. We would get both and usually after the show we would go to the little Chinese restaurant near the theatre and each get a combo. A combo was only $3.25 and then we would hitchhike home. We were enjoying being young and being together.
The theatre of choice for us was Acadia Theatre in Wolfville. To us it was a magical place where we could sit together in the dark and be swept away by the latest film, but unlike most teenagers who would sit in the back row. we sat in the third row from the front, right in the centre. We never noticed anyone else in the room, unless Sheila spoke and then I was all too aware of others.
I remember one night we decided that instead of popcorn and Chinese food, we would get a pizza and take it to eat while we watched a movie. "Saturday Night Fever" was the big movie at the time, but we were too young to get in. Mr. Whittle, the long time manager called my mother to get permission for us to see the movie but also the attendant took our pizza from us and told us it was not allowed in the theatre. Mr. Whittle brought it into us and apologized and told us we could bring in pizza anytime we wanted to. I'll never forget him and it is only fitting that the theatre was renamed after Al Whittle.
It was our summer of love, and it's been many years since Sheila and I have watched a movie together inside that theatre. So it was very appropriate that I chose the Al Whittle Theatre as the venue for the Nova Scotia Premiere for "The Purple Road".
This documentary film from WeHaveAFace.org and Director James Valvano has been winning awards in film festivals across the United States and Canada, including Best Director and Best Feature Documentary. It is not an easy film to watch but it is real and touches you as you see the raw and unedited emotion exhibited from those in the film that have experienced Juvenile Huntington's Disease and those that experience the dread a parent feels when they think one of their children may fall from this disease.
It is both appropriate and even ironic that this film will now play at this theatre, where Sheila and I spent so much time in our youth since we are both in the film along with our son Malachi. Sheila has been and continues to be an inspiration to the HD community and although she cannot be there in body since the move would be very difficult for her, she will be there beside me and I will hear her voice above the film. I won't tell her to "Shush".
Free tickets can be reserved by clicking on the link to the Purple Road in this article.