Aunt Beula at the movies
One of the funniest things I recall about my Cliffside Aunts, Aunt Beula (Atkinson Ruppe) and Aunt Nell (Atkinson Hill) happened about 1982 or 1983. Of course Cliffside was no more by that time, and both aunts, who had lived in Cliffside for many years, had moved a few miles away.
I had just seen the movie entitled “Porky’s.” It was set in the 1950’s, about the time I was in high school, and I had laughed aloud at the antics in which the movie teenagers were involved. While most of the teens in the movie pretended they knew all about the birds and the bees, one teen admitted his inexperience and despaired of ever gaining any. His more worldly buddies were trying to find some way to help him remedy the situation. They had heard of a place called Porky’s in a nearby town where it was reputed that one could buy anything, and decided to take him there. It did not turn out as they expected.
It probably would be rated “R” now, but remember that in the early 1980’s one did not run across such movies on TV unless one had a satellite dish and went looking for them. Although I was already in my 40’s it was the first movie I had ever seen that had such risque scenes and dialog. While most of it was totally sophomoric humor, it was so funny that I wanted to share it. I told my Mother (Malleree Atkinson Prewitt) and Aunt Nell about it, and asked if they would consider letting me take them to see it. They both agreed, and Aunt Nell wondered if Aunt Beula would like to go with us.
Aunt Beula was always ready to go when Aunt Nell suggested it, but was a little reluctant to go to the movie when she heard what it was about. She wondered aloud if she should go, but when Aunt Nell urged her, her love of going overcame her reluctance, and she agreed.
The movie was showing at the Cinema IV at the Tri-City Mall in Forest City, and while we were waiting in line to get our tickets, Aunt Beula said, “What if my preacher was to see me going in here?”
Aunt Nell laughed at her and said, “Well, Beula, I wouldn’t worry about the preacher seeing you. The only reason he would be here is if he was going to the show, too.”
After we went into the lobby, Aunt Beula again wondered aloud, “What if somebody tells my preacher they saw me going in here?”
Aunt Nell said, “Beula, quit worrying about your preacher. You know God sees everything you do, so why worry about the preacher seeing you?”
I was afraid Aunt Nell had said the wrong thing and Aunt Beula would want to go home, but she didn’t. We sat down, saw the previews, and the movie started.
Aunt Nell, Mother, and I were laughing aloud and enjoying the movie, while Aunt Beula tried to keep a straight face and not laugh at the funny scenes. In spite of her best efforts, she had to cover her mouth and giggle a few times.
Then, not quite half way through the movie, the screen went blank. After a couple of minutes, the lights came on, and an announcement was made that the film had broken and could not be repaired. Another copy would be ordered, but it would not arrive until the next day, and couldn’t be shown until the next night. We would be given a rain check to come back and see the movie or, if we preferred, our admission price would be refunded.
Mother, Aunt Nell, and I began to discuss whether we could work it out to come back the next night or the following one, but Aunt Beula decided she should ask for a refund. When she said it wasn’t really that funny anyway, Aunt Nell couldn’t let that pass, and reminded her that she had thought it was funny while she was watching it, and was laughing like the rest of us.
Apparently seeing the film breakage as a sign from God, she said she guessed she was just not supposed to see the movie. I did not see why God, if He made the decision for her, did not see fit to do so before she saw almost half the movie, but we did not argue with her. I think we all felt that if her conscience bothered her that much, we should not insist she come back with us.
Thinking back about some of the more risque scenes in the second half of the movie that she missed, it was probably best that she didn’t see the rest of it.