Had the news on this morning as I was driving to work and heard that one of the last remaining drive-in movie theatres in the Chicago area would probably be closing, the Cascade Theatre. I forgot all about the Cascade Theatre! Memories from a long time ago started flooding my mind. I don’t even know how old I was the first time I went to see a movie, OUTSIDE! I’m pretty sure the first time there I was probably about 5 years old. And, I remember it was a big event. I remember still the little cotton, striped or floral printed baby doll pjs that were a summer time sleeping staple that were my drive-in movie theatre garb. They were cool on hot summer nights. My parents would make popcorn and bring along lemonade in a cooler. I remember the little box that had a clip on the side so you could attach the audio box to the slightly raised car window. Not quite the surround sound of today, but it was PERFECT! And this was a perfect way to spend a hot, summer night.
As I got a little older, and my friends and I had reached the ‘cool’ stage in life because we had our driver’s licenses, we would head to the Cascade Theatre, the movie playing didn’t really matter, it was more of the adventure. And of course, like any teenager, the old trick of hiding people in the trunk of a car to slip in for free, we had to try it too. And, yes, I was one of the foolish ones that happily volunteered to hide out in the trunk, never thinking about getting rear-ended, just putting all of my faith in the 16 year old driver that was the captain of her car. And I did slip in for free, and for what, $2 or $3. It wasn’t about the money, either, instead it was all about the adventure.
I haven’t been to the Cascade Theatre in so long. My husband and I talked about bringing our boys there, when they were small, but we just never did. And so, a memory tucked in a faraway filing cabinet in a very dusty corner of my mind has been rediscovered, and for a short car ride to work, a movie about the drive-in movie theatre played over and over again on my ride to work, and for a brief moment, I was able to have a small Cascade Drive-in movie theatre experience sprinkled with a little bit of adventure.