“Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else.” - Fred Rogers
That quote from everybody's neighbor, Mr. Rogers, pretty well sums up the story of the Queen Theatre in Bryan, Texas. Most locals know the story by now - a once thriving movie house, fallen into disrepair and neglect, has been rescued and revived. Why is this story worth telling? I think I know. Bear with me while I tell a small story of my own.
I tried to become a collector of things – specifically, teapots. I have a teapot that belonged to my mother, so that was the genesis of my teapot collecting phase. My husband was happy when I decided to do this thing, because that made buying birthday and Christmas gifts much easier for him. My children would say, “What can we get Mom for her birthday?” “Get her a teapot. She collects them,” he would answer.
So, I got teapots. Lots of them, some of which were pretty and cool. I’d look at them and think, “Those look pretty cool,” but I felt no attraction to them. They didn’t register an emotional response in me, which is kind of a dumb expectation, now that I think about it. Then, my eyes would land on my mother’s teapot.
It wasn’t the prettiest of my collection, but my mother’s teapot never failed to trigger the memories…watching her pull the soggy teabags out of the steaming hot water, inhaling the smell that wafted around the room, seeing the dark brown stains at the bottom of the teapot once it was empty. There was a story around this teapot, one which resonated deeply in my memory.
I’ve always loved old things. Not just any old thing, but things with history, character and most importantly, a story. Coincidentally, I’m an old thing now, a fact I’ve finally accepted since the evidence relentlessly confronts me in the mirror each morning. Human things will eventually come to an end, as that is how this aging thing works. Other things, such as furniture, jewelry and houses, to name a few of my favorite things, just get older. Barring some disaster or getting thrown in the ocean, material things live much longer than humans. Some gain value; others just sit there, being old and no more attractive than the day they were created.
So, that’s a long introduction to why this blog exists on the Queen Theatre website. Stories are the things that bind us together. Things with no story may be functional, but they will never progress beyond their creation. Things with history, character and a story will remain long after we humans leave their presence. That is the essence of the Queen Theatre. She’s got certifiable, street cred history. Her character lies in her Art Deco styling. Her stories are oh-my-goodness-that’s-so-cool. This building has a story, and we’re hoping to make you part of it. Stick around. We're at the beginning of something else.
-Sandy Farris, Executive Director