It is 7 a.m. on a Saturday. I have no place to be, no cheesecakes to get out and nothing I really need to do and yet here I am....wide awake. I have been up since around 6ish. Did I mention that I didn't go to sleep until around 2 a.m.? Yeah....something has gone horribly wrong in my sleep patterns. Ah well...rest assured that I will likely fall asleep while doing something dangerously important later on today. It all evens out. At any rate...why waste good awake hours? Thus I blog.
I was up so late last night because we did something as a family that was kind of cool. Before I spill the beans (those of you on facebook already know what we did last night), let me say that this summer I have a summer bucket list of sorts. I actually hate the term bucket list as its intent is something I would rather not think about. But in terms of my list....it is things to accomplish before summer 2012 ends. I refuse to let this be another summer where all we do is sit around and try to avoid the heat and get on each others nerves. So our summer bucket list has begun.
Starlite could go the way of Dragging Douglas or Joyland (Wichita references) and once again my kids would have missed out on a piece of my youth that I would have loved to have shared with them.
As a teenager, many a summer Friday and/or Saturday night was spent at the drive-in. Truck loads and car loads of teenagers with blankets and lawn chairs hanging out and seldom actually watching the big screen. It was a right of passage to go from sitting in the folks station wagon and watching to sitting in the bed of a truck with your friends watching, socializing and yes.....making out to whatever the latest drive-in flick was.
After high school...it seemed like one by one the drive-ins began going dark. Families were no longer doing such family things and for teens....the mall and arcades replaced the the drive-in dinosaurs. It was a national tragedy happening right before our eyes and no one realized it.
I am not sure when it happened but one day Wichita went from having six or seven drive-ins all over the city to just one. I was raising kids and from time to time I would think about the drive-in but then you would hear the rumors that going wasn't really safe. I kept hearing about gangs hanging out there and it all being a bunch of wild teens and as a young family....that wasn't how we wanted to spend a Friday night.
I have to say that as we pulled up...I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw. First of all....it said that the gates open at 7:30 p.m. We got there about 7:15 and there were already lines of cars waiting to get in. Way to go Wichita!!!! I like that one....... we are supporting the last drive-in in the area and two that families and kids are coming back to this type of entertainment. Once inside....it is still a two screen theater so we had our choice of which set of movies we wanted to see. Driving in I have to say that I was transported back in time a bit. Drive-ins just have that certain feel about them and as we searched the rows to find that "sweet" parking spot, you could see families....lots of families pulling out the lawn chairs and the blankets getting their pajama clad kids settled in for an evening of good old family entertainment. Through the dormant yet still working speakers the frequency was tuned into some great music and people played catch, visited and walked back and forth to the snack bar waiting for it to get dark and the movie to begin. There were no gangs (that I could see), no wild teens (possibly because they have a strict no alcohol rule and the rows are monitored) and the grounds were neat and clean. Z went to the snack bar and he said that too was clean and the restrooms were surprisingly clean too. I couldn't help but think to myself that this is a piece of Americana that should NEVER be allowed to die away.
We saw The Avengers (that was the first movie) and all of us loved it. It was a great first time drive-in movie, but I am old. One was all I could make it through and being that I forgot to bring Davids night time seizure meds....we made it an early night in drive-in terms. Z assured me though that this was definitely something he would like to do again before summers end and I couldn't help but smile knowing that we had marked something off our summer bucket list and had a really good time as a family in the process.
As I drove home last night, my mind went back to my drive-in experiences. I remembered walking those rows many a time, Berty losing a contact in the rocks and never finding it and my car stalling at the gate when it was time for people to leave. I remembered snuggling in the back of a truck, making numerous trips to the snack bar to see if there were any cute guys and us girls crowding each other out for mirror space in the bathroom. Those were the good old days and apparently I am not the only one that thinks so as there seems to be a resurgence of drive-in nostalgia going on. Finally.....there is actually something that time has not taken away....that I can share with my kids!!!!