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Volume II
June 30, 2003

Drive-In Memories

A great family idea submitted by Steve Salmon

As baby boomers brought up in the 60's and 70's, both my wife and I cherish fond memories going to the drive-in movie theater. We share a common sadness about the near-extinction of this unique amusement whose real heyday began in the 50's. My own memories are similar to many of those of my era, I'm sure--Mom and Dad packing up blankets, pillows and pajama-clad youngsters into the family sedan and cruising to any number of neighborhood and outlying outdoor movie screens.

I can still remember watching early-60's features such as "The Longest Day" and "Old Yeller" along with five-minute trailers, a cartoon or two and the ubiquitous dancing snacks that counted down the minutes until showtime. No wonder my sister and I never quite seemed to make it through the program before falling asleep on our pillows in the back seat!

Nowadays, I want my seven- and three-year-old boys to experience the thrill and the wonder of those bygone nights as we did because the demise of this once-thriving family entertainment medium is, sadly, only a matter of time. Only two drive-ins survive around Indianapolis and those involve quite a drive, but it's worth the sacrifice for us to revel in the nostalgia and allow our boys to experience something that will be the stuff of mere reminiscence as they raise their own children.

Needless to say, our current outing to the nearest silver screen monolith is an updated, deluxe version of what we experienced as kids. We still pack up but it's no longer the family sedan, it's the "cozified" minivan, complete with two reclining captain's chairs that swivel 180 degrees to allow armchair theater viewing out the open back hatch. Mom and Dad take the co-captain positions, of course, while the boys enjoy the "living room" just in front of us that's created by removing the back bench and adding a quilt, several pillows, and a variety of diversions and goodies to eat and drink.

And eat and drink we do, toting along a cooler stocked with enough variety to make the most avid football "tailgater" envious. Completing the package, we throw in lawn chairs for optional outdoor viewing, as well as a frisbee and football to while away the twilight preshow minutes. And if that's not enough, there's always the chance to get dizzy on the merry-go-round or have a "swinging" time on the busy playground just the way we used to as kids.

All in all, cruisin' to the drive-in new millennium style is still a sure bet for the family. What more could you ask for besides comfort, camaraderie, a good flick to literally "kick back" with (although G ratings are becoming scarce) and affordability? Yep, our "new fashioned" approach to cruising to the outdoor theater still tops the bill when we're in the mood for "good ol' fashioned" fun on a lazy summer weekend evening.

--Share your Family Fun-Time Ideas with us by sending them to --

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