The Good Old Days

It was a post-apocalyptic scene. There were hundreds of rusty iron poles standing in rows along curved tarred banks. The tar was crazed and in the cracks grew grass and weeds, even trees struggling to exist. The projection room and adjoining café was a pile of rubble. Across the entrance was an old chain and a padlock long since seized solid. I stepped across the chain and walked amongst the weeds and let my mind wander back in time. It used to be one of the best places to go to enjoy oneself. I can remember, way back, going there in Dad’s Rover, us three kids in the back, Mom in the front next to Dad with a picnic basket on her lap. If the film was good, then life was perfect, well almost as long as you didn’t have the seat in the middle. The sound was not good. I guess the speakers had to be cheap since a fair number must have been driven off with. If it rained then it was hard to hear the soundtrack as the raindrops drummed on the car roof. It was also a mission to get to the café if it rained. It was still always a treat. Dad was an expert in placing the Chevy just near enough to the speaker post for the speaker to reach but far enough away so he could open his car door. As a teenager the drive-in was even more of a treat. It offered amazing opportunity in the courting process. If a girl agreed to go with you on her own it was a signal that an attempt at a kiss would probably succeed. If she agreed and didn’t ask what the film was, then the kiss was guaranteed. A perfect evening would start with a clear sky to allow a visit to the café for a burger, but would progress to rain which had the advantage of forcing you to close all windows, which in turn steamed up the windows to create perfect privacy. I once saw and admired one Romeo who took his girlfriend to the drive- in in a pickup. He parked in the last row and reversed up and half over the ramp. In the back of the pickup was a mattress and cushions. Romeo and his girlfriend lay comfortably in the back, probably not watching the film! I once met a couple whose first child they had called Drive-in. I wondered whether his other children had names like Motel, Bedroom or even Cancun? I only had one bad experience at the drive-in, and that was the night we went in the girlfriend’s car. I dutifully went to the café for burgers and while I was there the heavens opened. I discovered how hard it was to find a car in the rain not knowing either the registration number of the car or even its make! To make matters worse she dumped me!