January 16, 1998

I will never forget the day that I was at the Ber Theatre all dressed in my white suit, ready to go out, when I forgot something in my locker, way up on the top shelf.

When I reached up on the shelf, I knocked over a gallon of red paint all over my head and body. I had what you call a “Rouge-Shoo!”

Another time when I was sitting in the lobby of the theatre on a busy, busy night, a lady came in wearing a beautiful white dress.

She went in the show and sat in a seat that was previously occupied by another lady who had a small infant with her. The lady with the infant had just changed the baby’s diaper there. The lady in the white dress sat in the seat and in a fraction of a minute came rushing out of the theatre in quite a mess! She demanded to know what I was going to do about the situation. Well, being the manager and all alone there, I sympathized with her completely. I offered to take her home, wrapped in paper, and buy her a new dress. I sprayed my car every day for about a month.

Another time I was in the lobby talking to Hazel Andrews, who was my popcorn girl. The place was packed with people waiting in line to buy popcorn, which was 5 cents a bag then. I opened a five-gallon can of liquid butter for Hazel – when about a 10 pound rat fell from the ceiling and into the can of butter. Just then my right-hand man, Aubrey Lasseigne, came walking in. When he saw my predicament, he started to walk out, I yelled at him and said” “Aubrey, take care of this mess!”

Well, whatever he did with the oil and the rat only Aubrey knows! All I told Aubrey was that popcorn butter was mighty expensive.

You know the rats in the Ber Theatre were so old that I had them named. I told Hazel, my popcorn girl, to tell people to buy two bags of popcorn and put one bag on the floor for the rats because if you didn’t, they would take yours away.

Charles Amador, the nephew of Jim Fells, the preacher who had a Tent Church on First Street in Berwick during the late ’20s or early ’30s, quoted to me the following:

“Every night, Jim Fells entertained a huge congregation. He would get about 10 ladies to come up front and sit on the ground. The he would get all riled up, start preaching, praying, and singing. While he was praying, he would move among the ladies sitting on the ground: then he pulled out a small jar of ants. These he let loose, unseen by the ladies because now they were all excited, cavorting around, but still sitting on the ground. In about 10 minutes, you could see the old ladies kick their legs up, one then followed by another. They would kick and scratch – and then they would all start kicking and scratching, jump around – and even cut a few flips. Jim Fells, the preacher, who by this time was screaming and yelling that his sisters had gotten the Holy Ghost, and he yelled for everybody to sing. Finally, the ants started spreading and everyone there started jumping and kicking and scratching. That same night, June Faslum came prepared with a couple of eggs to throw at Jim Fells. He didn’t like for his mother to be one of the preacher’s special exhibitionist. He threw the first egg at the preacher, which missed. The egg hit his mother on the head. June took one look at the hectic scene that he created, but he didn’t stick around to see what happened!

* The End *