Cheeseburger and fries

1966

When I was young, it was a special occasion for our family to go to McDonald’s. This was the 60s understand, so Mickey D’s was still a new phenomenon. Until then, if you wanted hamburgers you’d go to the drive-in. I still want to leave my window up a little when at Sonic, waiting for the car hop to hook the food tray over the edge.

Unlike today, where it’s a mundane thing to get dinner at the drive-thru, then it was a reason to dress up.

My mom and dad, and brother and I would pile into the family Pontiac and pull into the parking lot. While we waited outside, Dad would go inside for the cheeseburgers and fries (I felt like a grown-up when I was finally old enough for my own Big Mac). After each of the burgers were passed out, we sat out in the parking lot eating our dinner.

Never inside, never at any of the picnic tables outside… only in the car.

This wasn’t a unique experience. The Mister remembers doing the same thing – the whole family going all the way to McD’s only to eat in the car.

During our recent family vacation, we were reminiscing over breakfast one morning about our childhood family trips.

“I never understood why we always sat out in the car instead of just going inside. I should call and ask Dad,” I said. “Why do you think you all always ate in the car?”

“Embarrassment,” Mister quipped. “I know my dad was embarrassed by how we kids acted in public.”

We laughed, but I don’t really think that was the real reason. I’m equally sure that if I asked my parents, I would get two different answers.

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8 replies »

  1. what would the answers be? I kind of get it, at least when the kids were younger and couldn’t still in a restaurant for long. At least in the car they can’t get up and walk around. Well, yeah, maybe they can….visiting from the hop.

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  2. HA! I bet that was it, too. Well, maybe not. Beating your kid’s ass-end wasn’t so frowned upon back then.

    That is funny, though. I wonder why that was? Honestly, I don’t remember us doing that, but I’m a bicentennial baby, so some things were more established by then. I liked this story.

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  3. Yes, back in our day, going to McDonald’s was a Big Deal. Actually, anytime we bought fast food was a big deal. Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane.

    ps–Those burgers and fries? So much better then :)

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  4. We did the drive-in too! We didn’t go out for dinner much when I was a kid, so when we did it was special, and special had certain rules that went with it. I think we respected those rare occasions and the traditions that went with them – one of which was eating in the car. Maybe it made it more like a picnic.

    The same school of thought as the drive in movie theatre…

    Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Lord this brings back memories. Good one and some bittersweet too. I remember we were stationed in Coronado and Mom & Dad took us to the first Taco Bell in San Diego. Or going to th A&W when were going to Clarksville base. Most of these trips there was only two children old enough to eat by ourself. Then the other sibs came along :). By the by my 1st McD’s 1972 in Dallas for a state FFA meet.

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  6. When I was a kid, going to McDonald’s was a real treat. And, now that I think about it, I don’t remember ever going inside, either!

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  7. I really enjoy this post. I rarely get to see inside your life. This reminds me of the racial politics post of your early 1960s years. Very poignant.

    I’m a few years younger than you but in the mid 70s my family was below the middle class line. we didn’t eat out often. I remember my mom sneaking in a few mcdonalds hamburgers in her purse into the movie theater because she thought the prices ofr popcorn and candy were outrageous.

    I love that picture of you. You look like my middle girl, Bug at that age.

    Great post

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