Andrea’s cousin Betti recently published her first To Kingston With Love blog post. In it, she expresses her love of the drive-in movie theatre. That got me thinking about my own memories. Yes, memories.
The drive-in double feature became a staple of my social diet back in high school. My friends and I would often pack ourselves into a car, sometimes two or three, and spend the night at the Airport or Britannia drive-in. Neither exists any longer. That means an entire generation of Ottawans is growing up without the experience of a movie projected on a massive outdoor screen after dark, filling your car with sound.
Our family’s Mazda 626 was the ultimate drive-in vehicle. It offered several viewing configurations. Four people could watch from inside. Or, the front seats could be slid forward, headrests removed and seats fully reclined with two people in the back stretching their legs out in front of them. Outside, two could sit on the hood (carefully so as not to scratch the paint) and lean back on the windshield and others on lawn chairs around the car with the movie blaring through open windows. Also, the trunk was big enough to sneak in one willing friend (or two) who could then slide out inside the car by pulling down the back seats — all out of the watchful theatre eye, dodging an admission fee or two in the process.
The Terminator series, Forrest Gump, Aliens, Raiders, etc… If I thought about it, I could probably spend the next five minutes rattling off movies, good and bad, I saw at the drive-in.
The very last night of the drive-in in Ottawa was over 10 years ago. In fact, it may have been 1998. Andrea’s sister Linda was in town for a visit that weekend and I was determined to be part of the curtain call. Sadly, Saturn (the car company) bought the last night meaning you needed to arrive in one of their cars to get in. I was more than a bit angry at Saturn for taking away my last chance at a drive-in experience in Ottawa and the gate hand who turned us away. I said some very unkind things to her. As we pulled away, Linda suggested I should have told the gate hand “I do own a Saturn but it’s in the shop, again.” I’m not that quick.
I still haven’t forgiven Saturn. Karma’s a bitch, though. Saturn no longer exists.