I was the oldest of five children back in the 60's. We lived in a nice
little three bedroom bungalow in Lincoln Park, Michigan. Mom and Dad
worked so hard, yet always found the time to spend with us. My mother
always laughed when she said "we were an especially active bunch" and the
only place they could take five active children back then, where they
could also find time to be alone, was the "drive-in" movies!
We always looked forward to going to the drive-in! Mom would fill a
big brown grocery bag, with homemade, hot buttered, popcorn. We would put
our pajamas on underneath our clothing, gather our pillows and blankets,
hop into our nine passenger station wagon, and off we'd go.
On the way there, Dad would make a special stop at the penny candy
store, where we were all allowed to fill a little brown bag with all kinds
of penny candy. We were so excited, as we carried our treasures back to
the car, knowing we couldn't eat it until the cartoon began.
We would get there early, so that we could play on the playground,
right under the BIG screen -- all the time having great anticipation for
the movie projector lights to flash on. We kept a constant watch.
As soon as it started to get dark, the screen lit up, and we would
race back to the car, tearing off our outer clothing right down to our
pajamas. The car was filled with commotion, as we giggled and squirmed,
filling our bellies with candy and popcorn.
There were always two cartoons playing before the movie back then,
great ones, like Felix the Cat, The Coyote, and Tom and Jerry. But what
was just as exciting was the ticking clock advertisement for the
refreshment stand, with dancing hot dogs, candy and ice cream. That came
on right before the movie. It was all that five rambunctious kids could
hope for, and by then, stay awake for.
Yeah, Mom and Dad were pretty clever. For they now had five children
all in their pajamas, exhausted from playing in the night air, appetites
satisfied, and fast asleep BEFORE the two feature films were even showing.
As I got a little older I would watch a little of the movie before giving in
to sleep. And as the others slept, I felt comfort in watching Mom and
Dad, as they looked at each other and smiled, his arm around her,
enjoying the peace and quiet.
We would get home around 2 am -- pretty late for us -- as Mom helped us
drag ourselves and our pillows to our beds and as dad carried in the little
I was disappointed the day they closed the last drive-in in our town.
It will always hold special memories for us -- those days of penny
candy, pajamas under our clothes and station wagons.