Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Road That No Longer Goes to That Place I Never Went

The Target near my house was once a Drive-In Movie Theater, The Holiday, nestled into a giant wooded lot and adjacent to a tiny neighborhood consisting of two streets of small houses and a VFW hall.

I'm not sure how often we went to The Holiday. As a child, I can remember the thrill of wearing pajamas and sitting atop a nest of sleeping bags and pillows in the backseat of our 1971 Plymouth Fury. In high school, I sometimes went with friends who piled into the back of a pick-up. The night before graduation I watched the characters of Platoon shed their innocence, while I shed a little of my own with my prom date.

Needless to say, it is impossible for me not to think of the Holiday each and every time I pull into the Target parking lot. The narrow grassy strip, at the end of which held the ticket booth is still there.

As far as the neighborhood, one street survived the demolition. The other street (including the VFW hall) did not. If you are driving south on Wilson Road, as you approach Broad, you will see a road that goes about 100 feet and abruptly stops. That is the road that wound around behind the gas station (still there) and lead to the VFW hall. I never even laid eyes on the building.

You might wonder why a VFW hall could hold such intrigue to me. I am not a veteran, I do not like honky-tonk music. What that hall represents, however, is an event of my teen years that has grown to mythological status in my head. When I was a freshman in high school, I was a pretty nosey gal. One can argue that I still am, but now I am able to allow significantly larger quantities of information about people's lives pass me by without notice.

But not then.

I didn't want to miss anything, ever. And I rarely did. This is why, as I have mentioned before, I was always the last girl awake at a slumber party (that, and I was bound and determined never to have my hand submerged in warm water or my bra frozen...)


One night, my freshman year, a band made up of guys from my high school (one was a friend's brother), were playing at the VFW. Everyone was going. I could not, as I was out of town that weekend. This concert would have faded into a heap of other semi-interesting events had I not returned to school on Monday to find out just what I had missed out on - a popular couple had broken up, a mild-manner friend got into an actual fist fight, two unlikely people hooked up, and someone else got into major trouble when their parents found out they'd gone when told they weren't allowed.

I will fully admit that the scenarios I created in my head for weeks are, by now, wildly inaccurate and could not possibly stand up to the reality of what probably actually happened that night. But I love the myth just the same. It has taken on a life of its own.

Which is why, I believe, they don't just tear up that road and make it into the parking lot.


  1. Interesting entry Lia! I remember the drive-in and have heard various stories of that night. Youthful indiscretions seems to plague that patch of land.

  2. I remember the drive-in as most vivid memory was when Trisha and I and her lifeguard friends were there in our beach chairs and told this one poor guy my alter ego life story of Ariel from Footloose and he actually believed it. I wonder if he ever saw that movie and thought of me?....and the VFW....loved going to that concert and girls getting jealous b/c I knew the lead singer. Hee hee... And again, Lia...sorry about the bra thingy! wow..memories. Thanks for the trip down memory lane...even though it's a Target shopping center now.