In 1980 I was probably too old, when The Empire Strikes Back came out, to have fallen in awe of possibly the most iconic bad guy in history, Darth Vader.

Similarly, in 1962 I was definitely too young to have seen Joan of Arc, the penultimate good guy burned at the stake in The Trial of Joan of Arc.

What these ostensibly arcane movies have in common is my having seen both at the Strand Theatre. I saw lots of movies there before and afterwards, some the highlight of rainy summer days, others while innocently holding hands with new summer girl visitors. The graduation from movies with Mom to unchaperoned movie dates were the kinds of memories many fondly share, and having them sullied by the lack of care and attention to the theatres hurts.

This is my second anniversary — the 104th column I’m pleased to have written for the Vineyard Gazette — and you know my heart’s on my sleeve when it comes to the town of Oak Bluffs. In my second column on June 29, 2012, I made the innocuous comment, “Do you suppose they’ll ever put the T and the R back in that Strand Theatre sign?” Well, last week they did — two years later, the Strand, one of Oak Bluffs’ two historic theatres, received a cursory paint job with blue and yellow trim in an off-handed acknowledgement to the rest of us that in fact, the T and the R were not blown to sundry by a storm as we would have been wont to believe, but instead have apparently been in storage or hidden by those unknown, too lazy to deign replacing them. Less shabby than it was a week ago, the Strand continues to stoop to a lowest use, housing bicycles adjacent to another well-thought-of enterprise, moped rentals.

Before its construction in 1926, a bowling alley was at least one of the businesses that anteceded the Strand. Assessed for $1,065,900 in 2011, the gable-hip roofed building with the stucco/masonry exterior of 6,780 square feet has lost $91,300 in value, according to the town assessor’s office. Of its total assessment of $974,600, $855,800 is the value of the land and/or the building with its plastered walls and ability to hold 600 seats — with no heat or air conditioning — is worth a scant $118,800. That’s probably about the value of a garage — it’s present use. Wondering aloud, would a higher use be a dinner theatre? A performing arts center for small productions, dances, community talks and events? A place for local musicians in an environment like the old Unicorn and Mooncusser? How about as a prestigious location for town hall, trading the old location for much-needed and nearby parking — next to our library that would benefit from more traffic. If the theatre — either one — were razed, a downtown park would look great, and the green space appealing. Readers who are civic-minded attorneys will note the term “use” to be a possible solution to this quandary.

A recent Boston Globe article about Circuit avenue included laudatory comments about many of our establishments, singling out John and Renee Molinari’s Beetlebung, Doug Abdelnour’s 20 by Nine and J.B. Blau’s several establishments, including Sharkey’s, MV Chowder and Dreamland, the site of last Monday’s Best of the Vineyard celebration. Entrepreneur and innkeeper Erik Albert of the Oak Bluffs Inn, the pretty pink hotel nearby Vineyard Vines, was interviewed and spoke in favor of the new adult appealing places. Well-deserved kudos for an old town with new ideas rapidly capturing the attention and imagination of the national press.

On Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Tom Dresser, Herb Foster and Jay Schofield will be at the library talking about their new book, Martha’s Vineyard in World War II. There will be slides, stories and memories, and Lindsey Lee from the Martha’s Vineyard Museum is expected to join them.

Public opinion-wise, the owners of the Strand and The Island theatres are at the south end of a north-bound mule on a hill. Thanks for the T and R at the Strand but moms still miss the one more thing for rainy days, restaurants miss the second show dinner traffic — and I don’t want to have to leave town to see what the Sith happens in the next Star Wars epic.

Keep your foot on a rock.