Barb and Sioux from my blog list posted this week about things they remember. Which of course got me to thinking about things I remember. Not so much things, as thing.
I remember a family night at the drive-in. Yes. I'm that old. Drive-ins were a booming business. I'm talking movie drive-ins, not dining establishments.
All day long, my sister and I looked forward to going to the Corral Drive-In, which has since been torn down and made into storage sheds and a veterinarian's office. Every time I drive by, I remember driving in.
The most exciting part about the drive-in movie was staying up late. That was closely followed by the snacks. We didn't buy our snacks at the drive-in. My family had just built our first-ever house, after years of living in a 50-foot, single-wide trailer. Mom went to school at night, got a teaching degree, and went to work. All that saving made us reluctant to spend money on movie snacks.
While we waited in the kitchen for Dad to get home from work, Mom popped popcorn on the harvest gold stovetop. It was the white popcorn, not yellow. The small tender kernels. Mom popped them in vegetable oil in a copper-bottomed saucepan. When the pan was done, she dumped the popcorn into a paper grocery sack. Then she popped another. The standard drive-in fare was four pans of popcorn in the brown paper bag. Oil seeped through in spots near the bottom, which made it even more enticing.
Of course, with all that popcorn, drinks were in order. A brown metal cooler held tall, thin, glass bottles of Pepsi, bottles with twisty little grooves up the side, and metal caps that needed a bottle opener. We used ice cubes from our harvest gold side-by-side refrigerator-freezer to cool the soda. The only improvement on that would have been a stop at the ice company next to the laudromat where the Hell's Angels once washed their clothes while standing around naked waiting for them to dry. Not that I saw it with my own eyes. It was, perhaps, an urban legend. We only used the ice company when we went camping, to get big blocks of ice that slid down a metal chute, and had to be hacked into chunks with an ice pick. Or when we had a big family party like a hog-slaughter at my mom's parents' house, and made ice cream in the crank freezer. Isn't that what everybody did at a hog slaughter?
My sister and I had to wear our pajamas to the drive-in. We saw nothing wrong with that. Dad loaded the cooler into our black Olds 98, and Mom put the popcorn on her lap. No sooner had we parked at the drive-in and hooked the speaker on the window than we clamored for that popcorn. We were not allowed to join other kids in their pajamas playing on the merry-go-round and riding springy chickens and bears. Soon after the cartoon and dancing snack food, Sis climbed up in the back windshield and sacked out, in all her pajama-ed glory. I perched on the edge of the seat, watching the movies.
Barely after the first feature ended, perhaps The War Wagon, or Support Your Local Sheriff, Mom and Dad nodded off. I didn't see any reason to wake them. I still had popcorn, and another movie to watch. The one that comes to mind was Twisted Nerve, with Hayley Mills. I suppose Mom and Dad saw "Hayley Mills," and thought it would be suitable for children. It wasn't.
Once the credits rolled on the second feature, I woke Mom, who woke Dad. Then I stretched out on the back seat and promptly fell asleep. It was plenty roomy, with Sis in the back window. Nobody saw anything improper back then about such passenger arrangements. Or about kids riding on the tailgate of a pick-up truck, dangling their legs over the edge at 70 mph down the interstate.
But that's a story for another day.