This past Saturday, I updated my Facebook status with:
“Why am I soooo excited that we are going to the drive-in?”
My Aunt responded with “It’s in your blood”. She is right – As kids, our parents would pop some popcorn, put us in our PJ’s, pack up the station wagon with juice, snacks, and blankets, and take us to the drive-in movies on a summer night.
No lie, to get the most out of the evening, our parents would make us lay on the floor in the car, and cover our heads, so we could get in at a cheaper rate. If we got there early enough, our folks would bring the grill and cook up some BBQ, while we played with the other kids on the playground right under the movie screen.
That was 25+ years ago back at the Tibbs Drive-in in Indianapolis, IN. But the memories are still fresh in my mind. Drive-ins, with their corny intermission cartoons, and big metal speakers you had to hook on your window to hear movie audio, are now all but extinct…but the memories are still fresh in my mind.
There are still some Drive-ins around, but our kids were too young to sit still long enough to enjoy the experience when I started a family of my own in Baltimore. So we never made the trip. Fast-forward to today – We are now down in Atlanta and our kids have enough focus to enjoy a movie. So it’s time to share my Drive-In childhood memories with my kids.
It was a cool Saturday night, but I was afraid we wouldn’t have another shot until next summer, so I decided to hit the drive-in anyway, before fall weather really set in. So I reached back in my mind to pull up the “tips to a successful Drive-in experience” my parents perfected.
1. Passed down through the generations popcorn recipe and other snacks & refreshments: Check
2. Kids, drowned in bug spray and suited up in their PJ’s: Check
Station wagon Crossover SUV with fold-down 3rd Row Seats: Check
…One thing I didn’t account for was how popular the Starlight Six Drive-In in Atlanta was. The line of cars to get in was pretty long. By the time we got in, found a spot, and got comfortable, we were 20 minutes into the movie. It was a little breezy, but the jackets and blankets kept us warm as all four of us sat in the back of the family SUV while we ate the family-recipe popcorn.
Of course, the experience is a little different then versus now. Instead of a big, mono-tone speaker hanging in our window, we tuned to the screen’s FM frequency to blast the movie audio throughout the premium speaker system (had to sneak some tech into this post), and there was no movie intermission reminding me to go the lobby to get myself a treat. On the flip side, we were able to hang around and watch an additional movie guilt-free…just like old times.
Speaking of old times, a night at the Drive-In is still less expensive than in theaters . The price of admission is cheaper, and since we brought our own snacks and refreshments, we didn’t have to spend any money at the snack bar.
To make a long-story short, i’m glad there are still some Drive-In movie theaters around – Gives me the ability to pass down a part of my legacy to my kids, and it sure beats an expensive couple of hours at the movie theater.
Are there some memorable activities you did as a kid that you’re now able to share with your own kids?