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Memories from the 1910's

Happy Memories from the beginning of the Wildey My husband, Harris "Binky" Berleman, was 92 when he died six years ago. He told of having many fights behind the Wildey on his way home from school. Also, he and his Uncle Fred "Fritz" Berleman, both loved Western movies. Harris lost his father when he was six years old. He would stand at the entrance to the Wildey and when his Uncle saw him standing there, he would give him a dime to go in and see the show. I'm now 97 and have many fond memories of the Wildey.

Aurelia Weidner Berleman
Glen Carbon, IL


Our grandmother, Fanny Lindbeck, acted on stage at the Wildey Theatre.  It came up in conversation with Mom again and I wanted to write it down while fresh in my mind.

I grew up less than a block from the Wildey. It really dominated my life. We went to all the new movies, we went to summer all-day movie marathons, we went to socialize, get away, eat junk food and keep cool.  So I never thought about the Wildey not having movie film shows, that there was a time before the movies.

Before the movies there was Melodrama, music revues, stage plays.  In fact the early films looked like the stage shows because they were done by the live performers, the vaudevillians, the actresses like Fanny.

I had people call me Fanny for a time, I suppose thinking I had adopted her persona.

Today Mom talked again of the melodrama Fanny was in where she had to be killed in an electric chair. Her younger sister Emma was in the audience and thought it was all real. Mom said when Fanny went to Highland on the train, that her father put an end to her career. She was single at that time.

So as I connect with the theater people of my yesteryear, I recall Fanny who looks like she might have been famous. I wonder what part of her that I carry that drew me

to get involved in all things theatrical? Although I left theater as well in my early HS years, I still carry a nostalgia for the dramatic. If only our paths had been longer together, perhaps, she could have shared with me what is was like to put on a show, wear grease paint of the day and to hear the roar of applause in 1910?

Mary Gerdt
Monkton, Vermont