My family wasn't much for recreation. My father worked six days a week, from early morning until early evening. We did go for a long car ride on Sundays. Back then gasoline was cheap, and having no destination wasn't thought of as wasteful. Children were more content to sit in the back seat and look out the window, now they want a video screen in the vehicle.
Even children's play then involved more imagination and interaction. Howdy Doody was just a puppet on strings,who spend most of his time talking to an adult, Buffalo Bob, can you imagine?
Sitting in that back seat in the mid fifties, I might well had
my "coonskin" hat with me. Fess Parker was a genuine American hero. It mattered little if he played both Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, both were king of the wild frontier. The ride probably lasted for two hours and then we would go to a restaurant to eat dinner. Compared to now, there were very few restaurants.
My mother would cook all the other meals that week, and we probably ate out more than most. Supermarkets were the new rage in food shopping, but the butcher, baker and candle stick maker were still going strong. If my father headed west or south, chances are we ended up at Shankweiler's Hotel, famous for chicken and waffles. They were at the intersection of Old 22 and Route 100. The building still exists and currently is a bank. The family also owned another hotel on Route 309. Both locations also operated adjoining Drive-In movies.
If my father headed north or east, we would end up at Walp's, which was on the corner of Union Blvd. and Airport Road. Walp's was a much more urban place. While Shankweiler's was an old country inn, Walp's was built as a modern restaurant. I enjoyed those rides, they were a learning experience.
reprinted from April 2014