Yearning for those mostly bygone days of the drive-in
I got an email from a reader last week with the subject line saying “My entire childhood in one email.” It contained a series of iconic pictures. There were stars such as Timmy and Lassie, Marlin Perkins, Red Skelton as the Fuller Brush Man and even Ernie Banks on a baseball card. There were pictures of an aluminum ice cube tray with the lever above it, a roller skate key and a wringer washing machine. There were play things such as Tinker Toys, an Erector Set and Lincoln Logs. All evoked memories. Other photos showed images of a drive-in movie theater and a drive-in A&W Root Beer stand and even a car hop.
A trip down memory lane, indeed. It reminded me that when my wife, Cheryl, and I went to our river property in Muscoda a week ago, we stopped in Spring Green on the way back. There’s a drive-in there where waitresses still take orders while you sit in your car and then bring food trays out and hook them on your partially rolled up window.
I stop there often on my rides back from the river—usually just to grab a chocolate malt to take the edge off the long drive. It’s probably the one drive-in I frequent most often these days. As we sat there, I told Cheryl how when I was a teenager, my friends and I often drove from Marshall to the A&W stand in Sun Prairie for a frosty mug of root beer on hot days. Usually, we’d try to time such trips in hopes that a particular car hop was working. We liked to chat with Margaret and leave her generous tips.
The start of my journalism career now spanning more than three decades got its start in Oconomowoc. I used to love the Kiltie Drive-In. I assume it’s still open because if you Google it, you’ll find all sorts of references. What a great venue for old-time music, vintage cars and fun service. Often when I ate there, cars were stacked two deep. Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to stop there in years. If you’re up for a drive some sunny weekend day, check it out.
Do you have a favorite drive-in? Which one do you miss the most?
Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow him on Twitter or