“We’re Building Something” By Chris Zito

This past weekend we took our nearly six-year old son, Vince, to the Drive-in. Yep, they’re still a few of them out there. You just need to look around a little.


Who doesn’t love the Drive-In? The owner of the Multiplex!

I’m old enough to remember going to the Drive-in with my folks, in the way back seat in my pajamas, bugging them for more and more snacks, determined to empty Dad’s wallet by the end of the night. It’s where I experienced my first blackout. One minute I was watching some Jerry Lewis movie, the next I was waking up at home the next morning.


Hey! What the hell was in that popcorn?

The Drive-In we took Vince to, The Mendon Twin Drive-In in Mendon, Massachusetts, fills up on Saturday nights with parents trying to share with their kids something most people think no longer exists. There’s fun, family entertainment, kids in the pajamas running around before the movie, and young couples in back seats who can’t wait for darkness to fall so they can start making new kids to bring to the Drive-In.
As a teenager, I saw Saturday Night Fever at the Drive-In. Admittedly, “see” is a bit of a stretch. I sat in the back seat wrestling with my date. The poor girl missed most of the movie trying to defend herself.


I tried to break every commandment in one night.

People show up early. Long before darkness falls kids are running around playing catch, kicking balls, and chasing Frisbees. Most everyone is in SUV’s and mini-vans, the 21st century edition of the family station wagon. Everyone backs into their space, lifts the back hatch, and tunes into a radio frequency to get the sound. I overheard a couple explaining to their little girl about the speaker that you used to hook into your window.


“Yes, class. In some primitive cultures, people would listen to
to a movie soundtrack without Dolby stereo sound.”

The whole scene is like a tailgate party without the beer. Parents were exchanging smiles and knowing looks everywhere. And the kids! They all seemed genuinely amazed. Trying to impress even small children today is a challenge, but the idea that you could get under a blanket in the back of the SUV and munch popcorn and watch Winnie the Pooh? That gets them going.


Wait! So…some stuff IS cool? Cool!

Most of the families we saw were just like us. Living on a little (or a lot) less than they were five years ago. Nobody is looking to build a 5000 square McMansion in this crowd. We were all building something that would really last for our kids. Memories of sharing a great time with their parents.


Vince, complete with Wolverine kick ball,
waiting for the sun to set.

Thanks for reading. Tell your pals.
Chris Zito

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