Cruising….Is it a Thing of the Past?
Cruising….is it a thing of the past? Do teenagers still cruise like we did back in the ’60’s? If they don’t they are missing out on a lot of fun times.
When I was 14 my older brother got his driver’s license and the cruising began. Freedom… riding around town without your parents. What great memories!
From 14 till when I got married every Friday and Saturday night I and many other teenagers in my hometown would make at least one trip from the bowling alley to the Dairy Dip and then on to Jerry’s Restaurant. Heck, you had to see who was out and about.
Both the Dairy Dip and Jerry’s Restaurant had curbside service. We would back into a parking place because our main goals were to see a cute guy or gal, who was dating who, or who had a new, sharp car. Daddy would ask me if I was going to see or be seen. I would answer, “Both.” We would order maybe a coke, fries, or hamburger. At Jerry’s my favorite was the Champ sandwich. Friends would jump out of their car and into yours and vice versa. Lots of friendship and future marriages began while cruising these three places.
At the bowling alley we would sometimes go in where dozens of teenagers would be standing around talking or eating in the restaurant. I still remember the little juke boxes they had at each booth. Bowling? Usually not, mostly just socializing. Maybe some were in the game room playing pool. Now this was a new experience for us girls. At this time females weren’t allowed in the pool halls downtown. Or maybe they were, but my mom told me they weren’t. I never could understand why pool rooms were men only in those days.
One time I remember us trying to see how many friends we could crowd into a car. Four guys were in the back with girls sitting in their laps. It seems there was even a girl laying on top of the other girls. I can’t remember how many were in the front seat but it was jam packed. Back then there weren’t any seat belts, no limits on the number of passengers could ride with you, and you could get your license a month after you turned 16. What fun we had! Dangerous? Yes, but fun times.
Then there were the times that we played Freeze Out in the dead of winter. You just yelled, “Freeze Out!”, and everyone rolled down their windows freezing everyone in the car. Oh, and a Chinese fire drill! I don’t know how this got its name. The driver stopped the car at a stoplight and yelled, “Chinese firedrill”! Everyone, including the driver, jumped out of the car and ran around the car. Then all got back in and the driver continued on like nothing every happened. It’s a wonder that we didn’t get put in jail. I did this with the grandchildren once and they thought I had lost my mind.
Sometimes at night we would ride around down on the Fork(out in the country) . Riding with the windows down on a hot summer night was our way of cooling off. Remember we didn’t have air conditioning in our cars or homes. Even though my hair would be a mess it was invigorating to smell that fresh country air. If we could pick up the radio signal we would listen to the Nighthawk show on the car radio. The Nighthawk show was from a local radio station where you could make requests for your favorite song. You could even dedicate songs to your favorite guy or gal. Usually there would be a lot of static trying to listen to the music. If you couldn’t pick that station up we would tune into WAKY and listen to Bill Bailey. Often we’d loose the signal altogether and just sing a little ourselves.
That’s how it was when I was a teenager:
no fm or xm radio
no cd’s or dvd’s
no dvr or high def
no cell phones or computers
no navigation systems
no air conditioning
I hope I brought back some fond memories for my older readers and taught you young ones a little about life while living in Kentucky during the 60’s. Writing this made me want to take the car out, roll the windows down, and turn on some old time rock and roll. Until next time, Mrs. B.