There I was at Sam’s Club on 52nd near Wadsworth yesterday and that’s when the memory surfaced. This is where the drive-in used to be. (One of those places where families, friends and dating couples went to watch movies on a humongous screen while sitting in their car, one speaker hanging on a window.)
After our parents found the best in-the-middle-of-the-dirt-lot-parking-place, where we experienced the first surround sound system ever, (one speaker per car x 100+/- cars), us kids trotted to the playground in front of the gigantic screen. We played as far into the darkness as possible, until horns beeped, demanding children return to their respective car.
After the first seconds into the cartoon just about every mom, trailed by kids, walked for what seemed like miles to potty. Often the trip was on false pretenses because some kids just wanted to see the vast variety of available treats.
A friend of mine and her four sisters seemed to always walk in front of our car on their way to the restroom/refreshment bar and disrupted my concentration of Woody Woodpecker—until that night. They never showed.
Worried until I saw my friend at school the next day, she explained her mom was never taking anybody to the bathroom again, at least at the drive-in. If anyone in their family had to go, the only container available was an empty coffee can (in or behind the car) or the dirt parking lot because her mom was tired of missing over half of most movies.
Oh, the horror!
At age 16, the same friend and I enjoyed our first trip alone to the drive-in movie theatre. However, we missed the movie because of the romantic antics of the couple in the car in front of us.
The next thing I recalled was my friends and me were short of money for the drive-in, so we pooled our finances. Still short on funds, I volunteered to hide in the trunk of the car just until the driver found a place to park. That lasted about thirty seconds. I pounded and kicked and yelled to be let out. The attendant who took our money, (sort of like a person at a toll road booth), ran to the car and demanded the trunk be open. We were kicked out and told never to return.
However, at the prime age of almost 18, a (new) friend and I arrived at the same drive-in, in style—I drove a 1968 GTO with Hurst automatic racing gears. Oh yeah. We pulled next to the speaker pole—but too far from in front, and then I reversed—too far back. That’s when my car died. Not to worry, remember every car had a speaker. Besides, the show was Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie. You remember the one. Only the mime spoke.
To quote Skipper, the head penguin from the Madagascar gang, “Kowalski, analysis?”
You gotta love irony.