Tickets Still Remain for “Christmas Over The Cumberland”

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on December 7, 2012

“This boy is ignorance. This girl is want. Beware of them both, and all of their degree. But, beware of the boy most.” [Charles Dickens]

My heart was heavy the Monday before last.

I had been asked by Jim Marshall, ages ago, to speak at the Montgomery County Historical Society, a commitment I had made offhandedly as a personal promise, well over a year ago. Board chair Walter Marczak, good fellow that he is, reminded me two weeks before that I was to speak and that my speaking had a topic — oh my! I’ve told the tale of the Roxy in many forms over the years, but for Jim Marshall I wanted to be at least interesting.

I took from off the wall of the theatre a frame holding two enamel button-like tokens, souvenirs from the opening day of The Lillian. Each was embedded with a penny, one with the date 1912 and the other with 1914, the first being the opening year of The Lillian and the second, slightly different, made for the second opening after a fire destroyed the first. And the owner, Joe Goldberg, had faith and determination so strong that he rebuilt the theatre and even had the buttons remade for the opening of the new building.

When I took the frame from off the wall, I noticed the tokens had been tampered with — not stolen in the literal sense, but the pennies had been pried out and replaced with ones dated 2002. Who would take them? And why replace them with new coins?

I Googled 1912 and 1914 pennies and came up with less than $80 in value. It would seem to me that the buttons, un-tampered with, would have been much more valuable. Now the seal has been broken and some of the enamel peeled off. A pity. I would have given someone the price they made on the coins.

Dear Ralph Goldberg, Joe’s son, gave them to me while sitting on his bed after his wife had died, going through things, mementos and memories, and sharing stories of his father, their Depression hardships and the two buttons.

I’m not angry, for it is karma. I have taken things myself. So for whoever replaced the pennies, thinking it would go unnoticed, I am ashamed and sad that posterity will not benefit from seeing them.

We are into A Christmas Carol full throttle, and in doing so, we have put ourselves in the Christmas spirit, wishing peace on earth as it is in heaven and good will to men, as it should be the whole year long.

Tickets still remain for “Christmas Over The Cumberland” next Wednesday and Thursday, December 12 and 13. Ring in the season with Santa and Scrooge at F&M Bank with dinner at 5pm, catered by The Bound’ry and featuring cajun-spiced turkey, pear and walnut salad, garlic whipped potatoes, seasonal vegetables, fresh-baked bread and chef’s choice dessert, followed by the 7pm performance of A Christmas Carol.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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