02/22/05 — Memories aflame: Let’s let our emotions cool before we make decisions

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Memories aflame: Let’s let our emotions cool before we make decisions

In mythology, the Phoenix is a beautiful bird that symbolizes rebirth. Its lifespan is 500 years or more, and only one lives at a time. As the end of its life approaches, it builds a nest of aromatic sticks and spices, sets the nest afire, and is consumed by the flames. A young Phoenix arises from the ashes.


Goldsboro people suffered a painful loss over the weekend. For a long time to come, we will be talking about our love for the old Paramount Theater and what it had meant in our lives.

The fire that destroyed it Saturday was the second within a year to claim a building that had been central to our childhood or the childhood of our neighbors. A demolition company had just finished removing the remains of the Community Building, which had burned in May.

Now there will be more emptiness in a place where once there had been fun, where friendships were forged, where memories were made.

The loss is for the future as well as for the past. The Paramount had promised to help keep Goldsboro’s downtown area as a robust part of the community. The old movie house had done so during the last decade and a half as a venue for concerts, plays and meetings. Many activities that had been planned there must now be relocated.

But to where?

Short-term answers must be found quickly. Stagestruck, the children’s drama group, has already arranged to move this week’s production of “Peter Pan” from the Paramount to Wayne Community College.

Meanwhile, people are discussing suggestions for a permanent replacement for the Paramount. Certainly, one is needed.

Among the ideas are to build a performing-arts center, to combine insurance money from the Paramount and the Community Building to provide a place that would serve the functions of both buildings, or to rush ahead with construction of a civic center that would accommodate the functions of both the Paramount and the Community Building along with conventions and meetings.

There may be some merit in each of these proposals. But now is not the time to decide.

How to replace the Community Building and Paramount will be an important decision. We should not act in haste but give the matter cool, impassive consideration. It is not usually wise to make permanent decisions while grieving.

And, to the extent possible, our plan needs consensus in the community.

Fortunately, Goldsboro and Wayne County have the strong leadership and vision that are needed if these lost institutions are to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes.

Published in Editorials on February 22, 2005 10:49 AM