Sep 12, 2017

The Sunday Drive

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


Ray Nemeth Sr said...

Yes, and those occasional Sunday drives were often without plan, just head one way or another and then back, Very little traffic, Most people had 1 car, many did not own a car. I also remember when someone in the neighborhood bought a new car, and we all went over to look at it. Of course, credit was a much less used system. As children we spent most of our time outdoors, exploring, or making things for are own use. there was a lot of hands on learning, activities that resulted in, "common sense". Divorce was far and few between and children as a rule had a much simpler and stable environment.

TRENT HALL said...

In middle class, often union working family neighborhoods the General Motors line was very differentiated then and when someone in the neighborhood moved up from a Chevy to a Pontiac it was a sight to behold! There were a few Buicks and maybe one Oldsmobile and no Cadillacs in the neighborhood.

Chryslers were few; several Plymouths; there were no Imperials.

There were no foreign Sports cars or Jaguars or foreign cars of any make. VW's didn't become popular until 20 years later, in the 1960's.

Jews frequently did not purchase Ford products because of Henry Ford Sr.'s blatant anti-Semitism. This didn't abate much until the 1970's when his son Henry Ford Jr. made some public apology's and outreach to the community, accompanied by his marrying a young model and, in general, trying to upgrade and modernize the company. However, the Edsel experiment was a failure.

There was no cable and every house had a roof mounted antenna. The big deal was if someone had a motorized unit which could rotate the antenna to improve reception. The national news was a 15 minute broadcast. You read the Morning Call & Evening Chronicle for news. Kids begged their parents to get the Philadelphia Sunday edition papers because of the expanded comics parents wouldn't spend the money for it.

K Mary said...

I still don't plan my destination, lol.

Just catching up on the blog..