This thing was a serious piece of equipment. Getting hit in the head by one of the bars was concussion material. My brother and I would each grab a handle and wait for a bunch of WILLING kids to jump on. Then we'd start running around as fast as we could to see how many of them we could make go flying off. It was the most fun I had as a kid. The other kids loved it also. If any of them called out, we had a system to slow the merry-go-round-basically grabbing on and letting ourselves get dragged. But it worked, and the scared kid could get off unharmed and we could start it going again. We did this with the supervision of adults. Yes, kids fell off. Yes, kids scraped knees, got winded, were hurt. There was sometimes blood and tears. It makes me sad that if we tried to do the same thing now, my brother and I would be sent to juvy and put in intensive counseling. It bothers me how we put a bubble around the next generation. I grew up bouncing around the back of a truck with no seat belt, falling off metal merry-go-rounds, jumping off of swings, and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. I lived through my childhood, and I never had anyone drop dead from being too close to my food. End mini rant.
Anyway, back to the drive-in. We'd go early so we could get a good spot, seeing as my Dad's truck was large and could only be parked by a yellow pole. Yellow poles are the first 3 rows and the last 6. For those who can't understand why a tall vehicle should have to park in a certain space, go in a car and park behind a truck and you'll get it. We liked being up front, though it did put us farther from the playground.
Attached to the poles are speakers, which no one really uses anymore because the sound comes in over the radio. Even when I was a kid the radio was better than the speakers, but I love that they are still there, even if only some of them work. Though I didn't appreciate them one evening when running back to the truck as the second movie started, and getting clothes-lined by a wire going from pole to car window. The guy who's window I nearly broke wasn't all that happy about it either.
After the movies, because it's always a double feature, we'd leave through the back entrance, which happens to let out onto the road my house is on. Dad would leave us curled in the back of the truck (no seat belts, no seats for that matter) and drive home. I loved looking up at the stars during that ride. I don't know many constellations, but even as a child I knew the big dipper and I could find it. I was always kinda sad when the drive was over and it was time to go inside. I wanted to sleep in the back of the truck.
I've seen some wonderful movies there, but honestly, it's the rare occasions that they play classics that are the best. Watching Aliens on that huge screen in the dark was so much fun.This weekend they have Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jaws playing together!
I'm so happy that the drive-in is still here. I can't wait to take my future children to it and point at the empty spot where the death-trap metal merry-go-round used to be. I can go on about the glory days, and let my kids cuddle in the bed of my truck for the drive home...