A Brick And A Stick

By Dennis A. Crump


I was having brunch with a couple of very close friends, Susie and Anita, from our old days growing up in Ajijic in the late 1950’s & early 60’s. The other two friends are an interesting Dutch lady, Johanna, wintering here from Colona, B.C. and Phil, a professional digital graphics film producer from Houston.

We all have varied interests in common - making conversation flow easy and interesting. As it happens frequently in our gang from the past, someone in the old gang will mention something of our growing up days, which immediately triggers the “remember when.” This gathering was no exception. Anita made a comment that the Tango Restaurant is today located in the old Ajijic movie theater. Flashback to 1958-1960 as kids with no television, no telephone, and still too young to go to Guadalajara movie theaters alone.

The Ajijic Theater was essentially the home of one of the industrious Ajijic natives, with a large bare ground courtyard constrained by four walls. (Remove the cover over the existing restaurant, and leave the bare walls with patches of bare adobe where the plaster had fallen off, presto – the old Ajijic Theater.

Ticket price was one peso and you could bring your own chair, or you could get a Brick & a Stick at the door. The brick to sit on – unless you chose to sit on the ground OR stand around the perimeter walls…and the stick to take care of the critters that might be crawling around.

You brought your own palomitas y refresco, popcorn and soda, and my industrious, younger brothers brought extra popcorn to sell – the small bags were made to order for such entrepreneurs.

The movie was projected onto the whitewashed wall from a reel to reel 16mm projector set up on an elevated stand in the middle of the courtyard. There were frequent intermissions where one could socialize and comment on the movie – this resulting from breaks or burn-throughs in the film. The projectionist was an expert and could remedy the situation in five minutes. We might have missed a few frames with each break, leaving to our imagination to fill the gap if we were so inclined.

Most films featured Cantinflas, Pancho Villa, and other comedians or heroes from the Revolution. On special occasions, we were entertained with two-three year old American movies with Spanish subtitles. Of course there would be a packed house and the price of the palomitas and refrescos doubled as a couple of dozen gringos would flock to the “must attend” event.

Movie going – like most everything in Ajijic in those days, was simple, a social event to take a break from the rigors of the day – or was it the week, or month or year?! Anyway – it was a simpler, less hurried life where each day was to be taken in for its pure and simple pleasure.

Ed. Note: Dennis and his mother and father, along with various siblings, had made plans many years ago to resettle in Ajijic when his father, a B-17 pilot, was killed. Despite that, the rest of the Crump Family came anyway, and the hardiness and true grit they showed was something right out of a pioneer saga.

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