This is the place that I remember as the first place I saw a Real Movie in a Real Movie Theater. This notion may or may not be accurate, but I remember going to the movies here, in East Aurora, NY — where we lived before the big move to California in the early ’70’s — as my first cinematic experiences. I think I saw the original 101 Dalmations and also The Love Bug, with a friend from our street who was older and seemed very sophisticated.
But Main Street’s other major landmark is the one I think we all remember: VIDLER’S.
What a strangely disorienting and yet hilariously fun experience to take GHB and LHB shopping here today! I gave them the same $5 budget I remember being given (by visiting grandparents) 40+ years ago. Needless to say the five bucks went a lot further ca. 1972. I’m pretty sure I was able to buy an entire Barbie with accessories, which was an essential component of my desperate Keeping Up With The Older Girl campaign, and the only way I could get my hands on one. Anyway, we LOVED Vidler’s today, and it reminded LHB and GHB of The Brewster Store on Cape Cod. This means they thought it ROCKED. Their shopping selections were very similar to what they have bought in Brewster over the years we’ve been going there: teeny animals and erasers and novelty toys that go boing! And both are retail institutions with long history and big on nostalgia marketing of the old-time store itself as the product. Yes, I was susceptible, and I purchased some Vidler’s swag.
The skies opened and it started pouring the moment we walked out of the store, so we had to make a run for the car and I had to do a drive-by of the movie theater to snap the pic. And we’d spent so long in Vidler’s, it was time to hit the road again, so we didn’t have time to explore more of what East Aurora has to offer. We’d managed to see my two key landmarks, but did not have time poke around the Millard Fillmore historic site or the Roycroft campus and shops – bummer! I am especially disappointed about missing out on the Roycrofters. I was too young to know or care about this local history and arts movement during the brief time we lived in the area, and it has gained in recognition and prominence in the decades since then. The cousins enjoyed a quick overnight at the Roycroft Inn a year or so ago when they made the East Aurora pilgrimage. GHB and LHB want to go back — and who knows?? It could be an overnight stop on the way to Chicago, but is too far off I-90 to make sense if you have miles to cover. Which we did — so it was a good thing we chalked up an on-time departure from Fremont, OH at 7 am this morning!
We managed the Aurora Again detour and still made it to our overnight stop in Seneca Falls by suppertime — 400 miles on the road including Tuesday-after-Labor-Day rush hour in Cleveland and some incredibly heavy rain here in the Finger Lakes. Fingers and lakes crossed for better weather for our homebound drive tomorrow!