A bit of history burns away

I just got some stunning news that I want to share with anyone — and I am going to presume that means “everyone” — who has a special place where they came of age.

The Roseway Theater in Portland, Ore., caught fire and burned … almost to the point of destruction.

This place means a lot to little ol’ me. I used to attend Saturday matinees there, mostly with my sister.

Historic theater partially collapses in 3-alarm fire in NE Portland (kptv.com)

It was a meeting place for many of us who grew up in that neighborhood. You know what I mean, right? Friends would gather to watch a movie, carry on and laugh — a lot.

It was the place where I enjoyed my first kiss. Yes, I remember her name, even though it was, shall we say, a very long time ago.

The Roseway Theater also was the place where I had my brush with infamy.

The movie ended one evening. I went outside with a couple of friends and lit up a cigarette. A police officer approached me and asked me my age. I told him 16. He said, “You’re under arrest.” He then escorted me to a paddy wagon — yes, an actual paddy wagon! — and hauled me downtown. The cops called my parents, told ’em they had me in custody for smoking; Mom fetched me.

My evening didn’t end well, if you get my drift.

Still, the Roseway Theater is part of my history and I am saddened to believe it might no longer exist.

The building was erected in 1925. It has withstood a lot, I presume, over the many decades of its existence. To me it is a symbol of my youth, just as I am absolutely certain we all have such symbols of our past.

Keep those places near to your heart. They can vanish in a flash.