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david rush

Ever since I was a small boy, I have enjoyed going to the movies. I have had many enjoyable experiences.

But I think the most enjoyable was in January, 1957. I was at that time a student at Springfield Junior College in Springfield, Illinois. 

The Christmas vacation ended the day after New Year's that year. It was a Thursday and I only had two classes, both in the morning. The rest of the day was free.

The Ursuline nuns who ran the college made it very clear: all students would be back on time or else.

Much to my surprise upon arriving at college, I found out that both classes had been cancelled. It seems one teacher had the flu and the other didn't make an airplane connection. This was the source of much laughter among the students.

Now, my friend George (not his real name) was still very much in vacation mode, as was I.

So we decided to go to the movies that afternoon, and it was a double feature at a nice old theater in downtown Springfield. I remember it had a grand old pipe organ dating back to the 1920s.

The first movie was the 1938 movie "Angels With Dirty Faces," with James Cagney and Pat O'Brien. A real old-fashioned black-and-white gangster movie. I enjoyed it then and still do today.

The second movie was the 1946 "The Big Sleep," with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. It's a great old detective movie, with Bogart and Bacall at their best.

When we got out of the theater at about 5 p.m., we decided to end the day by eating at a downtown cafe. Just as we were ordering, three fellow students came in and sat with us.

We told them about our big movie afternoon and they told us they were going to the 7 p.m. movie, "Written on the Wind" with Rock Hudson, Robert Stack, Lauren Bacall and Dorothy Malone. Well, George and I looked at each other, smiled and ended our day with one more movie.

The next day at school one of the Ursuline nuns came up to me in the hall and said, "I understand you and George make the grand tour of the downtown movie theaters yesterday. Well, the fun's over and it's time to get back to the books."

The reader will ask, how did she know, and I will reply, "the nuns always knew what the students were up to!"

David Rush is a resident of Decatur.

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