A History Lesson: Moveable Framework

One week ago, I had a comfortable job in a comfortable office for a comfortable 8 hours a day.  I had a routine and an alarmingly predictable schedule.

I had no idea what would be in store as I accepted a brand new job in a beautifully aged place.  It’s a palace of sorts full of little girls twirling in their fanciest dresses and couples walking hand in hand with tickets in the other for a night on the town.

The new office was built in 1928 and stuffed full of historic stage pieces, giant levers used to power what were once the most modern fixtures of the time in a basement I have yet to visit alone.  It has soaring rafters and drapes heavier than a semi held up by what I now know are “stage weights”.

Weights

This city was experiencing all of the thrills and struggles of the Roaring Twenties just as I had with mine.  It was young and still figuring it out.  The wonder and grandeur of the theater drew people in from all directions.

Today, I learned that the curve along the back wall of my office wasn’t created to be aesthetically pleasing.  It was created as a route for the African American community of the 1920s and 1930s to enter and exit away from the rest of the crowd.  It was a passageway created to segregate.  Throughout the decades, this wall has been transformed and painted and refinished eight layers deep.  Now it serves as the backdrop of my yet-to-be-painted office and I’m sitting exactly where all of the boundaries had once been pushed.

There is something immensely unique about this place left unseen by any guest out for a night.  It’s where hundreds of people have passed through the door of a creaky backstage dock.  They were there to share their talent.  They were rock bands and acting troupes, comedians, and dancers.  They were who someone wanted to be someday.  Some were nervous.  Some were naturally comfortable.  Each one of them, though, was there for a reason;  To transform into the person of their dreams the moment they stepped ahead of the curtain.  To do that, they had to push forward through the heaviest doors with the shakiest hands.

These doors are weathered and worn just as they were.  These doors kept opening to new possibilities just as they had.

Door

We all begin somewhere.

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