The curtain came down on the Rives Theatre in Martinsville when a fire devastated the venerable performance hall Sunday night.
As water from fire hoses still dripped onto East Church Street, interested onlookers trickled past the burned-out building, perhaps trying to put some salve on the shocking scene with a nostalgic memory or two of yesteryear.
In the aftermath of the blaze, some of those memories have been shared:
A newspaper interview with a musician whose first performance was at the Rives.
A post on a web site from a 74-year-old man whose first date with his future wife was in the cozy cushioned seats as the lights were dimmed.
Certainly the theater was the site of many a first kiss.
However, remember the Rives for something far more important to a 9-year-old boy:
His first baseball uniform.
Rec league football and basketball really were afterthoughts in the mid-1960s.
Everybody played baseball.
Little League tryouts took place on a long-gone patch of dirt and grass near Brown Street.
Considering myself the luckiest kid on the face of Martinsville and Henry County, someone thought a good-fielding, coke-bottle-thick-glasses-wearing kid was good enough to make a team.
And that someone was the coach of the team sponsored by Rives Theater, as it was known then.
Southside summers in the Sixties were sweltering steambaths. But nothing could have felt better than that scratchy, suffocating flannel uniform with “Rives Theater” stitched across the front in dark blue lettering.
My memories of actual games are gone. They’ve merged with fuzzy recollections of suiting up for Doyle Ready-Mix and Bryant’s Plumbing & Heating in later leagues.
I do remember one little guy who played for Rives Theater. He was the smallest kid on the field. Louis Whitaker was the best too, as his 18-plus seasons playing second base for the Detroit Tigers prove.
Tiger Stadium is long gone.
For now, so is the Rives.
Those fire hoses aren’t the only things dripping.
BLUEFIELD, W.VA. 22, Lord Botetourt 21. The Cavaliers play their home opener against a team they defeated 17-3 last year in Bluefield.
E.C. GLASS 28, Franklin County 14. Since losing the first 11 games played between the two schools, Franklin County has won 12 of the last 16.
PATRICK HENRY 35, Albemarle 14. PH returns to Charlottesville where the Patriots made a fourth-quarter comeback last year.
MAGNA VISTA 29, William Fleming 27. Fleming won in its first three trips to Ridgeway, but the Warriors have held serve in the last two.
BLACKSBURG 27, Amherst County 20. Blacksburg has played Amherst just three times, and the Bruins have faced a team coached by Bob Christmas just once.
JEFFERSON FOREST 39, George Washington 38. Forest’s only previous trip to Danville resulted in an epic 57-56 win by GW.
PULASKI COUNTY 24, Abingdon 21. Abingdon is led by running back Martin Lucas, whose uncle Sean Lucas starred at Virginia Tech.
WILLIAM BYRD 14, Bassett 13. Byrd’s only TD last week came on the first play of the game. Bassett’s only score was on the game’s final play.
GALAX 28, Carroll County 14. The last two times Galax started a season 3-0, the Maroon Tide ended up in a state championship game.
GLENVAR 24, Cave Spring 10. Scheduling Galax and Riverheads to open the season might pay dividends later. Right now Glenvar is 0-2.
CHRISTIANSBURG 34, Patrick County 14. Christiansburg and Patrick County have played each other just four times, most recently 34 years ago.
NORTHSIDE 17, Hidden Valley 14. Northside plays its third successive road game, looking for its 11th win over the Titans in the last 12 games.
LIBERTY 30, Staunton River 27. After just two weeks, 14 of the 16 teams in Region 3C already have at least one loss.
ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY 42, Alleghany 20. Rockbridge has put up more than 40 points in defeating Alleghany each of the past two years.
RADFORD 31, Fort Chiswell 7. Radford defeated Fort Chiswell twice last year at home including 22-0 in the Region 2C playoffs.
FLOYD COUNTY 21, Auburn 20. Floyd once won 17 in a row in this rivalry, but Auburn has won four of the last six.
GRAHAM 32, Giles 22. Giles has a 5-5 lifetime record against the reigning Class 2 state champs, but the Spartans have lost the last three.
NORTH CROSS 46, Eastern Montgomery 18. The Raiders are playing their first game against a public school in nine years.
ROANOKE CATHOLIC 39, Norfolk Catholic 28. Kawuan Ray and Adrian Whorley have carried the ball seven times for 277 yards in two games. Maybe they’ll get some work tonight.
CHILHOWIE 17, Narrows 14. These two Class 1 programs have combined for 46 victories in the last two seasons.
JAMES RIVER 34, Parry McCluer 6. Only three VHSL teams have played two games this year without scoring a point. Parry McCluer is one of them.
GEORGE WYTHE 28, Marion 13. Who is the Timesland early season passing leader? That would be George Wythe’s Cole Simmons with 599 yards.
GRAYSON COUNTY 20, Rural Retreat 14. Grayson has defeated the Indians in its last three trips to Community Stadium.
DAN RIVER 44, Martinsville 20. Dan River has won four of the last six from the Bulldogs including 46-7 last year.
BUFFALO GAP 36, Bath County 13. This series goes back to 1958 when the teams were known as Craigsville and Valley Hot Springs.
STUARTS DRAFT 28, Covington 21. Stuarts Draft has won its two games this year by a combined score of 90-7.
RAPPAHANNOCK COUNTY 28, Craig County 22. Last year Craig played in Buchanan County. The Rockets get another geography lesson with this long trip.
Last week: 23-3 .886
Overall: 38-14 .731