I went to my first drive-in movie on my bicycle. I was supposed to have a date, and the girl was excited when I suggested a drive-in movie! But when I arrived to pick her up on my bicycle, she glared at me and slammed the door in my face. Girls sure are hard to understand sometimes. That was one of those times.
So, I went alone to my first drive-in movie. I don't remember what movie was playing, but I do remember sitting on the mound where the speaker pole was grounded. I held the speaker in one hand and dug into my popcorn with the other. I remember some of the ditty that coaxed the 15 cents out of my pocket to buy the popcorn.
"Let's all go to the lobby. Let's all go to the lobby. Let's all go to the lobby and get ourselves a treat! The popcorn can't be beat. The candy sure is sweet. Let's all go to the lobby and get ourselves a treat!"
A catchy little tune, it's still with me after all these years.
Of course, it wasn't the most romantic time. Pressing a cold metal speaker to my ear while hugging a chilly steel post, staring at a distant screen next to a sprawling bicycle cannot really be considered romantic.
But it was exciting to watch a movie while sitting under the stars surrounded by steamy car windows! It couldn't get much better than that - if you didn't take into consideration not having a date - or a car. It was an adventure!
Later on, of course, I would take a date to a drive-in movie with my buddy Dudly and his girl - in his car. But I have to admit it wasn't always easy getting a date with a girl willing to hide in the trunk of Dudly's car so we wouldn't have to pay.
I wasn't cheap. I was just always broke. Some girls understood, but most gave up talking to me. I never understood - the trunk was clean and I was a fair conversationalist. What was their problem?
To my knowledge, not many drive-in movie theatres still exist. Of course, they weren't really theatres - acres of steel posts in the great outdoors that looked like a graveyard in the daytime. Some of the ones I remember became a flea market on Saturdays and Sundays, where people bought what they thought were treasures.
But the era of drive-in movies seemed adventurous to me. Not many people can equate them with their bicycles, but I can!
These days, often in the summer when my wife and I are sitting on our patio staring up at a star-studded sky, I'm reminded of the nights at the drive-in movies. A couple of times, I've been tempted to crawl into the trunk of a car to see if I could still do it. I'd probably throw something out of whack and get stuck in there. I don't think I'll try it - too much of a gamble!
I tried putting a chair on the front lawn in the wee dark hours and staring at the television through the living room window, but it's not the same. My wife, thoughtful and sympathetic, made me popcorn the one time I tried it. But she was charging a dollar a bag and not 15 cents, so I went without.
For me, all that's left of the drive-in movie is the memories. But they are good memories, filled with foolishness, daring, adventure and romance - including a memory of the very first time I went with my bicycle as my date!
Those were simpler times I like to think; a time without video games, cellphones, iPods, or $10 movies. A time when all things seemed new and some things were found under a canopy of stars; a time when you thought about today without too much thought of tomorrow; a time to be young.
FEBRUARY 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER ISLAND
FEBRUARY 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER AND LOWER MAINLAND
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