Things have calmed down around here, apparently the Taff media blitz is over. Madi is still getting daily messages from people saying, “Did you really get bitten by a shark???” but sadly, no paparazzi ambushing us on our way to the mailbox. We’ll have to learn to live with obscurity.

So last night we all went to the Stardust Drive-In Theater in Watertown to see that Ninja Panda movie, which kinda sucked was OK– Char loved it. I know I have written about going to the drive-in before, but I have to tell you, we just love that place! It is such a family-fun thing to do, and I always have waves of teenage memories flood over me every time we go. Although, of course, these trips are very different than the ones I remember from my torrid youth in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Nowadays there is a lot less making out. Actually, none– what’s up with THAT? 

But some things haven’t changed at all. When you pull up, you still pay at the little guard gate thing:


The screen still looks like the ones I remember, kinda funky and rickety.


But these days we spend more time getting comfortable than steaming up the windows.

Here’s the set-up: Char and I pile in the back of the SUV with blankets and pillows…


Madi perches on top of the roof (with her quilt and ever-present phone) 


and Russ sits in a beach chair next to the tailgate.

Of course, who are we kidding, it’s really all about the…


Some things never change.

And that’s my public service announcement for the day:

Find one of the few remaining drive-ins out there and patronize it! They’re a dying breed, and your kids will love it. Or, ditch the kids and go make out.

22 Responses

  1. gracelynn

    I wish we did have something like the Stardust around here where families could spend time together. In this small town, we don’t have anything! You have to drive over an hour just to get to a movie theatre as it is. The only place the kids have to hang out around Windsor is the Burger King. However, we’ll have a Bojangles soon – WHOO HOO!

    I love the menu there. Haven’t had lunch yet. And those Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites are making me hungry. I may have to run to Food Lion and get me some Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream LOLOL.

  2. Barbara M. Lloyd

    I just heard the other day that we actually have a drive-in theater on the outskirts of Aiken. A man and his wife bought it simply because they wanted to bring back a little of the fun they had as teenagers, to the young people today…..with the promise that oldsters are invited, too.
    My memories of the drive-in don’t go back to my teens, but to the days or rather nights when we would pile ourpajama-clad kids into the car with pillows and blankets. How many times we started to pull away from our spot in the sea of cars with our speaker still inside our car. Not only was this fun for the family but it was a cheap way to go to a movie when you couldn’t afford a babysitter. The kids remember to this day those nights at a drive-in, including the names of a few of the movies. While I seem to remember the many movies ‘ole dad slept through.

  3. camommy2kj

    That sounds like a lot of fun!! You know, I was thinking last night (because I always think about blog posts late at night! LOL) that it’s too bad that the shark thing didn’t happen during the school year (I mean, if it had to happen at all of course) because THINK of all the homework Madi could have gotten out of! “Oh, I’m sorry Ms. Smith. I TRIED to do my homework, really, but the HORRIBLE pain from my SHARK bite has just clouded my brain and I couldn’t concentrate!” Or even better: “I DID do my homework! The shark ate it.” I mean really, who could argue with THAT?! hahahaha

  4. tori

    Don’t give Madi any ideas!!!
    (You’re right– she would have worked it like crazy, especially in geometry,,,)

  5. gracelynn

    Believe me, I’ve heard some pretty CRAZY excuses, especially since I am an exploratory teacher and not a core teacher like Language Arts or Math. At least Madi would have proof so the teacher wouldn’t think she had totally lost her mind LOL. I keep saying I’m going to start a book from the excuses I hear these kids give me. Lockers seem to crave homework – they eat kids’ work like wild animals. ROTFL At least Madi would have a legitimate excuse if it had happened during school. Look on the bright side Tori – at least Madi isn’t asking you to DO her homework for her. I actually have a mother that sat down and completed the index card-vocabulary term assignment for one of my students. I know for a fact she did because it was not the girl’s handwriting and I found out from her mother during a conference that her mom had done the cards…are you ready….so the girl could go spend the night with another student of mine and have a sleepover. GO figure! LOL

  6. LindaB

    Gee, Gracelynn, you gotta admire that girl that got her mother to do her homework so she could go to a sleepover!!! She’s GOOD! Or else, she’s got something really big to blackmail Mom with!

    I loved your piece about the old fashioned drive in, Tori! We have several in this area. I haven’t been to any lately because, one, I’d fall asleep in the car before the movie was over, everyone would have left, and I’d wake up in the morning sitting in my car on a big vacant field and wondering how I got there! And two, there are inside, multiplex theaters with comfy seats, air conditioning, free refills on popcorn and drinks, and not a mile hike to the concession stand. And most important at my age—-a defribilator (sp? who knows, who cares) and a first aid kit. (Safety and comfort first, I say!)

    But what I really appreciated in your entry today, Tori, was how lucky you are to have “waves of teenage memories”!!! Enjoy while you can! I’m so far removed from those years that those “waves” are mere occasional “drips” upon my consciousness. A while ago, I tried to remember who my teachers were in 12th grade, and I couldn’t think of ONE! Except…….my choir teacher. And I don’t remember her name, but I remember going to choir class because……..right behind me in the alto section was a young man in the tenor section that was too cool for words! He was the spittin’ image of the Fonz! Leather jacket, white t-shirt, slicked back black hair with what looked like 10w30 motor oil, and black leather boots with a little bit of height in the heel that clicked when he walked like a metronome. COOL! GOOD LOOKIN’! And out of reach! (I was NOT cool.) But I could dream. And for your info—-he later became lead singer for Grand Funk Railroad—Mark Farner. Just think, I was that close to being the wife of a famous singer, and everyone knows that would be a life of luxury, glitz, and glamour! Oh well. I ended up marrying a great looking guy in the bass section of the choir. (You might say, I reached down lower to find a husband. More “down to earth”.) I was all about the music.

    But I digress. Often. Sorry.

    So…..who cleaned out the car when you got home from your drive-in movie evening, Tori?

  7. tori

    Hey, you’ve been in that car Linda, you know the answer to that one: NOBODY!
    OMG, Russ has met Mark Farner! A lot! I can just picture you in your own matching leather jacket… But would he have been as good at the casinos as your husband? I doubt it. You made the right choice.

  8. LindaB

    Oh, I KNOW I made the right decision! (Only it’s not really a “decision” ’cause I wasn’t even cool enough to TALK to him, much less marry him! He never gave me the time of day. Well, actually, he did one time when I was staring at him after class—–he said, “It’s TIME to move along now, Linda!” Not exactly a marriage proposal.

    Yeah, “tool and die” beats out “heavy rock singer” every time when it comes to occupational stability, a home in the suburbs, and total lack of groupies!! Oh, and a trip to the casino and spa when I wanna go. He’s cool too! When I want a touch of fame and fortune, I just work at Russ Taff’s product table once a year. Works for me! People asked me this year if I was his mother!!!! And I said yes! LOL Why not?

    BTW, me in a leather jacket now???? Can you say “Lane Recliner”? To many cows would have to give their lives for that! I couldn’t do it.

  9. LindaB

    Ya know, I ruined my high school rep the first day there! In music appreciation class, our teacher asked us to stand up and tell what our favorite singer or singing group was. There was the usual “The Beatles, Peter, Paul, and Mary (it was a long time ago), The Monkees,……etc. But I stood up and said, “The Sensational Statesmen Quartet with Hovie Lister”. Dead silence. They must have thought I was an exchange student ’cause after class they asked me what country I was from. LOL RUINED. DAY ONE. BUMMER. But it was the truth. No wonder Mark Farner never asked me out.

  10. auburn60

    I had to write a paper and play a sample of my favorite musician for my first year in chorus. I could tell the teacher and I were gonna compete to see who could be the biggest smart-a$$ in her class–me or her. And I kind of wanted to test her,too. So I picked Alice Cooper and played a charming little segment of ‘Dead Babies’.She just shook her head every time she looked at me for a long time after that.
    We eventually became pretty close. I was in her class for 6 years-(she taught at my jr. high and HS-no,I wasn’t in HS for 6 years)–and her daughter became one of my best friends. She eventually warmed up to my brand of humor.Not sure who won the SA contest,though.

  11. LindaB

    Alice Cooper? Who’s SHE? (I told you I was uncool.)

  12. tori

    Linda, I think Alice took over with the Sego Brothers after Naomi left…

  13. belinda

    Talk about going down memory lane with you girls. I was thinking about the last time Troy and I went to a drive in – long time ago….Then Linda starts talking about choir, it was band for me, I absolutely loved it – I went to school for band. Then I sat here and remembered all of my teachers names in the 12th grade!!! Wow, I impressed myself :) I would not like to go back to Jr High or High school but somedays….it would be nice not to have the responsibilities. Oh well, talk about responsibilities, back to work. I will check back with you girls later….

  14. auburn60

    Thanks for trying to salvage my reputation,Tori.
    God still loves all us aging hippies.

  15. rockin robyn

    Wow! what a kewl walk down memory lane… I live in the Harrisburg area of PA and we actually have two of the 500 drive-ins remaining (I think that is a statistic I heard) in the USA… We have one in Dillsburg and one in Carlisle (cities) Man, I haven’t been to a drive-in in decades… sadly I was always a good girl so I didn’t hang out at drive ins with “the boys” and even more sad is my fond memories of going to them is mom and dad hauling 5 of us siblings to the drive-ins and it never failed one of the children was always of the age to be cutting teeth and they would choose to pick the hour of the first movie (they would always play two shows)to be screaming their head off “cutting teeth” and we would have to go home because people were beeping their horns because the screaming baby was making too much noise….

    Thank you Tori for the great idea…. I think I’ll get my sisters to go to a drive-in with me… (I don’t think I could con my brothers into it but that would make some awesome bonding moments to remember….

  16. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Oh my goodness, Alyson, wasn’t Alice Cooper that weirdo with a snake hanging around his neck? Everybody join hands now, with Alyson in the middle of the circle, we’re gonna lay hands on her and pray. Afterwards, we’ll take Alyson to a drive-in movie, “With Six You Get Egg Roll,” or something like that.
    Linda, stop talking with the people who come to my Russ’ table to buy cd’s and dvd’s…..just sell the products, sweet pea. And, I’m his momma. Those adoption papers came through!

  17. auburn60

    Yes, Momma Lloyd–that was Alice Cooper. He is the son of a Baptist minister,if that makes you feel any better. But I will gladly accept the prayer intervention. In fact,I could give you a whole list of topics about me that you could cover while you’re at it.
    So,if you are adopting Russ,I can go on with my plans to be adopted by the Penrod’s–right?

  18. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Bless your heart, Alyson, it might be a bit harder being the Adopt-ee than being the Adopt-or. As an Adopt-or, you simply lay claim on a family. As an Adopt-ee, you have to pray they will lay claim on you.

    I can see it now: all those little advertisements on the side of Tori’s blog for adoptions, foster children, and contributions to the SPCA.

  19. BrownEyedGirl

    I love the drive – in. We are fortunate to have two of them 20 minutes from home.

    The one in the pictures has the cleanest consession stands I have ever seen!


  20. LindaB

    “And, I’m his momma.” — MommaLloyd

    Well, I’m his “stepmother”……..I “step” in when you’re not around! LOL

    Okay, back to drive-in theaters. Tori, what do they have there for restroom facilities? I did notice some woods in the background?

  21. auburn60

    Is that where we started this journey ?

  22. Barbara M. Lloyd

    There was this movie I saw…..I think it was at a drive-in theater….about a mean, old step-mother. Come to think about it, that might have been “Snow White.”
    Oh, and I remember seeing “Cinderella” at a drive-in theater, too. Those drive-in theaters have the most informative movies.
    Now, back to the drive-in theater in Brentwood:
    Stay out of those woods because bears are on the loose everywhere. Or you might run into a frustrated deer who is stalking the Taff’s house….and garden…..only to find them at the movie on this side of town on the wrong night.

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