|Day's Drive-in Odessa Texas 1960
|Courtesy of Cathy Day Hoak, daughter of Lawrence Day
|1957--Grove's Drug Store
|KIDS-Don't park here during business hours!
In April of 2009 I paid a visit to
Odessa at the request of Mike Martin, who now owns a business called the Golden Cue, which is located in the old Grove’s
Drug Store at Fourteenth and Grant, yes, right across from the old Day’s Drive-In.
While I was there I was given a copy of a vintage post card depicting
Grove’s, which I have posted here and in the photo gallery of this website for any visitor to peruse. The picture on the post card is interesting in many ways, but it is obvious that the newest car in the
picture is 1957, and that fact surely dates the time the picture was taken. It
brought back a lot of memories.
As my host pulled into the driveway
behind Grove’s (excuse me, the Golden Cue), I took a good look at the old Day’s Drive In, which is now an advertising
business. Geez….Where did it
all go? (Maybe I should have asked those owners to convert it back to a drive-in
for the sake of our memories!) When I say OUR, I mean that bunch I hung out with in the 50s and 60s. I feel like I knew best the classes of 1959 thru 1963. Anyone from those classes would have experienced
what I experienced. and they would have known who I knew and remember many of the same things I remember. And maybe their stomachs twist a bit when they see some of these old pictures, and their mind's eyes spawn
scenes that kick in when their real eyes close in repose.
Those mind-pictures are dimming now, but
I can still see the groups clustered together, guys with hands in football-jacket pockets, laughing, looking, hanging
out, soaking up the times, gossiping. They exchange many different expressions on their faces with those around them. I see couples in cars with metal trays hooked onto the drivers' side doors with mugs, baskets
of burgers and fries, glasses of coke, and all that tended to by carhops. I see
cars I still love, people whose names now escape me; I see faces of people who have passed on as well as people I still
know. In this mind-imaged scene I still associate people with the cars they
drove. I see cars coming off Grant to circle behind the building or turn on 14th street to search for a parking
spot so they can join the rendezvous. I recognize car after car parked on the
streets and in the lots of nearby buildings, because it is a Saturday night. The place is hopping with people and I
hear the music of Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison and others blasting over the speakers.
There are couples, groups, cliques, you name it, everywhere, and they are all young teens of the 50s and 60s. I close my eyes and that is what I can see.
Today, I realize how much smaller
was Day's than Tommy’s; and maybe that was one of the reasons Tommy’s
attracted more people. Simple enough.
Then I remember the years after high school
in the early 60s, when those of us who stayed in town seemed to frequent Day’s Drive-In way more than we did Tommy’s. At times I felt I was betraying Tommy after all the kindness he had shown us.
was a smaller crowd at Day's to be sure, but now I think we just missed the old high school bunch who left for their respective
schools , and I realize now that maybe it was a way for us to preserve our past, to let our old friends and crowds who went
away to school to know that the high schoolers might still be at Tommy’s, but us college guys and gals would be easy
to find, because we were waiting for them at Day’s. And, those out
of town college students did come home for the holidays and for the summer vacations, and we met them there in informal reunions
and for a few brief periods. I remember thinking it was nice when we were all
together again. But time was doomed to disperse us, and it did.
That’s the way it was, but
most of us today don’t talk about that part of the drive-in scene. In some
ways it was a bit sad, because the old days were definitely over, and even those of us who stuck around and went to OC were
running out of time and classes to attend, and there were colleges elsewhere on our immediate horizons. So, eventually
all of us left the drive-ins of Odessa and our youth for other places, be it jobs or colleges, or marriages, or whatever,
and now it seems that without us, it all died a slow death in just a few short years.
We would have never guessed it.
Ahhh, but our time was the full bloom and
blush for that scene; and I think we would all agree that we had the best of
it all, the best cars, the best music, and the best future, and the best place in history.
Now we can acknowledge the truth and in our mind’s eye we can look at it again and give it a toast and a
wink, because we were a lucky bunch to be born when we were born. It was fun..
|Roy, lookin' for a Pretty Woman
T'was Good To Have Been There.....................
Where have they gone, those starry nights
brilliant colors all ablaze?
The clouds have come to dim our sights
And drabness wraps these winter days.
snow flies down from Arctic climes
And wind screams from across the plains.
Will there ever be better
Is this for us all that remains?
So to my youth my mind returns
the Springs of long ago.
The passion there forever burns
And seasons changed-t'was always so.
the Spring will come again
I'll live to see a brand new world,
But now the sun is shining thin-
will be played, the flag will furl.
The darkness comes, the world will rest,
I smile and know I can
Hear Roy Orbison at his best-
Dang my old hide. It's "Candy Man."
we can look at it again
And give it a toast and a wink-
Lucky to be born back then,
the best of it all, I think...
"It was fun."
Larry Bradfield and Michael