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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Drive-in

Written by Antoinette Marie
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There are an abundance of places I want to see and experience. So many in fact I doubt I’ll get to do them all. But as a kid I never had the gumption to go anywhere except the swimming pool, an amusement park or a friend’s house. But every now and then during the summer months my mother would get the family together and my cousins and I would all head to the drive-in. For a five year old in the early eighties this was more than exciting, this was planned out for a week in advance. It was all I could talk about.

            My best friend at the time was my cousin. He would come over and we’d discuss what movie we were going to see. At the time it was Fox and the Hound. We’d stay up for hours wondering what was going to happen to Copper and Tod.

            The day of the big event I would get everything ready. First I’d pick out some pillows, always the good kind; never too soft, never too hard. It was going to be a long night and I wanted to make sure I was going to be comfortable. Next I’d get my blankets; one to lie on and one to use as a cover. My mother would be in the kitchen getting our snacks together. Popcorn was first on the list. A lot of popcorn. We also brought along Middleswarth bbq potato chips in a barrel. My favorite chips made in Pennsylvania. It was a special treat. But so was going to the movies, outdoors. When everything was ready, we packed up the van, drove to my aunt’s house, loaded up her supplies and off we went.

            We got there a few hours early. My aunt would get our dinner ready while we played on the swing set under the big screen. All the kids who came would be there. When it started to get dark I’d get out a jar with holes and catch lightning bugs. Once I saw the screen light up, I’d run back to my mom’s van, hop on top of the roof and settle in for a fun filled night.

            As I’ve gotten older I’ve had less chance to go to a movie theater and rarely ever think about going to the drive-in. Let’s face it. It’s a dying tradition. Everything being high-tech and gadget filled, it’s rare you’ll find a drive-in. You might see one as you pass by, an old screen left over from a time before but usually not in operation.

            On my days off, I like to travel as much as possible. Whether it’s a day trip or a few days at a bed and breakfast to a place I’ve never been before. A few days ago I opted instead to visit a place closer to home. I decided once again to visit a vintage movie house. It was almost the same. I got there a half hour early to wait until it opened. It’s always better to be first in line than last to get the best spot. You never want to be behind the person with the bigger vehicle. I made my way into the open area and found the perfect spot. The first thing I noticed that was missing was the speaker for the movie. Now the car radio serves as the speaker. It takes away from the vintage feel but I was o.k. with this. There was still a food stand filled with all same kind of goodies as before from hamburgers, sundaes, popcorn and cotton candy. I still saw children passing a football and families with their lawn chairs, setting up for the evening.

            As I did when I was younger, I packed some snacks and a cooler and watched as the screen lit up. The same type of ads made from years ago came on and I was reminded once again of a time gone by. I stayed into the night watching two movies and reminiscing about my childhood.

            The drive-in has become as familiar with the United States as apple pie and diners. Only unlike apple pie and diners, drive-ins are becoming harder to find. Do I regret spending my day off at a drive-in instead of finding that nugget of a place I haven’t been yet? Not at all. There are few things that remind me of an America from another lifetime as does the drive-in. There may be a time when the last drive-in will be tore down and the next mall or supermarket will be there instead. Granted, it’s not the rainforest where the world will be a very different place without it but it is a place where memories are made. A place that can’t be replaced with technology. If you’ve never experienced the drive-in, as the friend who joined me this time had never experienced before, I highly recommend you try it at least once. It will be a night you won’t forget. Just don’t forget to bring the necessities, popcorn, a blanket and friends or family to share it with.

 

Read 1356 times Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012
More in this category: « 3,000 Miles A Journey of the Soul »

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