Building Blocks (a parking lot mystery…)


Time molds vivid memories from one’s past into the building blocks of one’s writing…


On Friday, March 3, 1972, having just seen The Doors in concert, I escorted my date out to the parking lot of Painters Mills Musical Fair, in Owings Mills, Maryland.  Thankfully the concert was fantastic, otherwise my date would have been very upset because I had trouble finding my car in the HUGE parking lot.  Although, since then, I have on occasion forgotten where I parked, the Painters Mills experience stands out in my writer’s mind because every time I pass that parking area, I am reminded how small the lot actually was.  Yep, it was definitely ‘concert brain freeze’.

Originally a summer stock theater venue housed in a tent erected in 1960, Painters Mills became year-round when the tent was replaced with a building in 1967.  Painters Mills was theater in the round, and became ‘the venue’ for musicals, bands, and comedy acts.  Sadly, Painters Mills was destroyed by arson, a burglary gone wrong, on March 22, 1991; only 13 months after it had reopened following a five year closure.  The site is now occupied by a BJ’s Wholesale Club.

Former site of Painters Mills Musical Fair, Owings Mills, Maryland.

Former site of Painters Mills Musical Fair, Owings Mills, Maryland.

I believe that every driver has experienced a wonderful parking lot mystery (and, hopefully, concert brain freeze); and maybe even utilized ‘modern technology’ to locate their vehicle.  Thus, you can relate to poor Dave’s experience.


Breen asks Dave how he meet his former wife.

“Linda and I met by accident, figuratively that is.  I had a rental car, forgot what type it was, and was trying to find it in a crowded shopping center parking lot.  I’m walking up and down the aisles using the remote to lock and unlock the doors to get the horn to sound; which by the way did not sound when you hit LOCK; the lights flashed.  Anyway, as I approached a car that looked like my rental I heard the door unlock and I got in.

Suddenly the lights and horn go into panic mode.  I try the panic button on the fob and nothing happens.  I put the key in the ignition and it will not turn.  The noise is echoing off the parked cars and, to me at least, loud enough to wake the dead.  I’m at a loss. Then, just as suddenly, the raucous stops.  I hear a tapping on the glass.  Startled, I look to my right and this woman is staring at me like I was trying to steal her car; because it was her car.”


“I ease out, not wanting to scare her, and did an embarrassed, slinking of the body into the shadows of obscurity move, and mumbled something like ‘oooops, sorry;’  the woman just held her stare as I backed away.  Of course I was not paying attention to where I was backing into and thankfully the car coming down the lane stopped before hitting me.  Okay, I’m the complete fool and the woman starts to laugh.”

“She indicates with her index finger for me to come back, and then tells me that my car was one row over; she had seen the lights flash and heard the doors unlock.  With a smile that was so…bright, any other word would belittle its intensity, she drives off.”

“A few days later I was telling a friend about the incident and he says ‘oh, you’re the nut case that tried to steal Linda’s car.’  He introduced us, and the rest is history.”

(Through a Stranger’s Eyes, copyright Steven S. Walsky, 2005, all rights reserved.)


Through a Stranger’s Eyes, a novel of love, is posted on this Blog.

Think about your ‘building blocks’; we can not write without them.


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