The Wallace Theatre years were boring. Initially I really enjoyed running the theatre projectors except when the film would break and there would be a lot of jeering and stomping of feet until I got the film rethreaded and projector running again. Then sometimes I would forget to check the reel in one machine and not get the other machine fired up early enough in order to make a smooth changeover. Jeering and stomping of feet!!
On Saturday matinees I would occasionally get to look out of the window into the streets below and notice some friends coming into town and shopping. This was boring after awhile until I would see a girl and her family park alongside the theatre and I would fantasize going on a date with her. This was fun but just make believe. The job was seven day per week and matinees on week-ends in addition.
For a young fellow of thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and sixteen this eliminated a lot of extra curricular activity at school. I was able to do my class studies while working and make pretty good grades but other things were lacking in my life. I did not get to go to church much. I was able to avoid working in the café. Walking home near midnight each night was sort of hazardous. One night I heard something rattling close by. I had almost stepped on a rattlesnake. I tried to keep a flashlight or matches with me after that so I could avoid being bitten.
George and Mary had joined their finances together and bought a house about 6 or 7 blocks from the café and this helped us move to a different location from behind the café. That was an improvement. Mother and Dad had been saving their money and were buying some land in Ruidoso, New Mexico. They were tired of the café business too it seems.
Mary had gone to work at the local Hospital. She had graduated Morton, Texas High School in 1942. She was glad to get to move into a house that she partially owned. George was starting to Texas Tech about that time and did not need a place to live in Morton. Dad told me that I needed to stop working at the Wallace Theatre and do extra stuff at school. Bob was still working at the print shop and staying pretty busy.
I turned 16 in March of 1946 and Dad wanted me and George to come up an get a job at the Apache and Pueblo Theatres during the summer of ’46. We were able to land these jobs and it worked out well. Bob continued living in the Mary’s and George’s house in Morton and working at the Morton Tribune. Katie had graduated Morton High in 1945 and was working in the café still. Janie went to Ruidoso with our parents. Katie was in charge of the café during that summer.
Billy Burns had come home from the war and he built a house in Ruidoso near our parents place. His mother, Ruby Burns was my science teacher and geometry teacher. She came up to Ruidoso and lived in Billy Burns’ house summer 1946. I made a little extra money around her place by chopping wood for their fireplace.
At the end of the summer of 1946, the folks decided to stay in Ruidoso over the winter. They had been offered the job of running the café in the bowling alley. Winter business was not brisk in Ruidoso but there was increased activity because they were building a ski run. Ruby Burns and her son were moving back to Morton so Ruby could teach school and Billy could get a paying job. They loaded their possessions on a truck and allowed me and Ruby to ride on top of the stuff. I wound up with a tremendous backache as a result of that trip back to Morton for my senior year in school.
Bob let me move back into the room with him at Mary and George’s house. George went back to enroll in Tech. I was ready to start my senior year at Morton High School.