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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Saturday night at the Drive-In Theatre

Last Saturday night the kids and I made a trip to our local drive-in theater ...or "theatre" if you are schmantzy. I am spoiled. I grew up with a drive-in, in my Midwest hometown and it is still there and still open. Here in TN we have one right down the road in Athens. I have so many memories of the drive in... playing on the playground in my jammies and Pink Panther cartoons. Umm.. I can't go into detail about my highschool year's "all night shows" except saying my mother was right..nothing good was going on there! I am glad to be able to share the drive-in movie experience with my kids and they have been to both drive ins!
Notice it is still very light..we went early to make sure we got a good spot and to give the kids time to play on the playground before the movies started. $6 for adults!
The ever present playground sign..of course for good reason..this is an "old school" playground and the rides are pretty much a trip to the ER waiting to happen. How did we ever survive these death traps! LOL
It was pretty steamy at the start but balmy and gorgeous after the sun went down. The mosquitoes weren't even bad. There were flickering fire flies and insanely loud cicadas or 17 year locusts which I pictured at the bottom of this post. If you have never heard them , they sound like a cross between a cricket, shrieking bird and a bullfrog. I don't know how you manage to tune them out.. I guess it is sort of like looking through a screen don't see the screen unless you look and you don't hear them unless you listen! Every once and a while during the movie you would realize they were croaking/chirping/screaming and then you would cuss yourself and focus on the movie until you didn't notice them again!
Wheel of death..or how children learn about centrifical force. They quickly picked up the 2 styles of pushing..someone running on the outside and the more dangerous (not for the slow of foot) inner circle pushing! They went slow when there was a little kid on and swiftly started sending them to the other, slower "little kid" merry go round. There were a few spills and flings and pusher wipe outs but no broken bones.
More physics lessons..a lever, a fulcrum and a load. Ahh.. the teeter totters or see saws.. or as I call them..the catapult! I still recall both being launched from one of these and being at the top when the kid on the bottom bails off leaving you to crush your feet underneath it or jam your spine out the top of your head! The ones in the park at my hometown not only see-sawed, but spun around as an extra way to injure yourself!
My grandparents actually had one of these in their yard but it also had a fireman's pole on the side. We waxed it with waxed paper or dusted it with dirt for extra speed!
Surround sound..apparently smoking is still ok at the drive in!
Ahh..the concession stand.. The one in my hometown had the little kids fenced playground behind it complete with bumpy elephant slide. The playground in front of the screen was for the "big" kids.
This place has not been updated since the 60's and I LOVE it! I almost got misty in line!
The hot sandwich box...
*Insert Homer Simpson style drool here* I actually settled for nachos..and popcorn..and ice cream..
My grandson laying in the back of the minivan's hatch watching the movie. We had a front row spot and contrary to the sparse earlier photos, the drive in was pretty full by showtime! The rest of us had lawn chairs and my 8 yr old pretty much stayed on the playground most of the night. I tried to get him to sit with us and watch the movie but there were tears because his new friends were still on the playground so I caved in and let him run and create his own memories! If you have a drive-in close by make sure you get your kids or grandkids there to make some memories of THEIR own!
This nasty looking bug is one of the aforementioned locusts. These bad boys are about 2 inches long!
These are their husks or exoskeletons that they shed going from big bug to big winged bug. The husks stay attached to the tree until a good breeze or rain knocks them off. And on THAT cheery note..hoping you all are enjoying your summer as much as I am (or more) Until next time! Julia


Unknown said...

Aw... I've never been to one of those! There aren't many left these days.
I would rent a car (don't own one) just to go in and watch anything under the stars!

Urban Heirlooms said...

What a wonderful post! Your descriptions of the playground rides were hilarious--and I concur! LOL. A trip to the drive-in was a huge treat when I was a kid. We chose our snacks with such care, and it was so fun going in your PJs to watch Kung Fu flicks.

Of course, I immediately checked online to see if there were any left in Atlanta and found the Starlight Drive-In. Thanks for inspiring some old-school family fun. :)

Sheryl Hastings said...

I LOVE this post! I'm probably dating myself here but I spent many nights at the drive-in when I was in high school. What fun that was! Just good old innocent fun. We'd take bags of food, buy pops there then relax and enjoy the movie. Even further back, I remember going with my parents. We'd wear our pajamas and take our blankets and pillows because we'd always fall asleep before the second movie. They also had a mini kiddieland we'd play in.

Haven't thought about that stuff in years! Thanks for reminding me of those awesome times!