One of the icons of my teen years was Tom and Mac’s Drive-In restaurant, and as many times as I ate there I never saw the inside of it. That was the domain of the “older” crowd. High school and college kids owned the parking lot. Friday nights after ball games or Saturday nights after movies would find the back fence lined with an assortment of automobiles that today grace the antique car shows.
The building on Broad Street is no longer there, having been torn down several years ago. For many years it sat, silent and sad, and when I had occasion to drive by, a memory would whisper, calling to remind me of those careless days when our only worry was if we would have a date on Saturday night. The sign was still there, however, and it gave me comfort when I saw it.
Then one day the sign came down. A new sign stood in its place. I think it said City Lights—a new nightclub in town. I knew then it was the end of an era.
I drive by now, some sixty years since those careless days, when a guy could have a five-dollar bill, borrow his dad’s car, take his date to a movie, go to Tom and Mac’s later and have two hamburgers, two malts, two order of fries, and still have enough to leave a quarter tip for the young men who car-hopped there.
I wonder how many others drive by the now-empty lot and feel the sorrow of losing an old friend.