Aah, memories – going to the drive-in movies secreted in the boot of a car, or crawling under the mesh fence in the dark to meet up with a mate who had driven in.
Well, that’s what we did on many occasions to save paying to get in to see a movie on Saturday night! Didn’t you?
The Elizabeth (Shandon) drive-in theatre was a very popular haunt back in the late 1960s.
Apart from the snooker hall in the town centre and the one at Elizabeth Grove, the Octagon Theatre, a couple of coffee houses and a cabaret on Saturday night upstairs in the Elizabeth Ballroom, the nightlife wasn’t all that flash for a teenager.
The entertainment didn’t stop there – we even held séances at friends’ houses or at a graveyard to frighten the bejesus out of ourselves!
I remember taking my HMV Nippergram with its removable lid housing the speaker (wow!) and a stack of 45s to a local hall to spin some vinyl on weekends.
That was nearly a three-kilometre walk each way, but I didn’t mind. Hanging around in our group at the local shopping centre at Elizabeth West also killed a few hours – just talking or kicking a ball around – smashing bottles and rubbishing the area never entered our minds.
That shopping centre had an old black locomotive outside it for many years, which we would climb over, but never deface or try to break anything on it.
I was introduced to snooker at the Elizabeth Grove hall by some new mates I had met on moving from Sydney to Elizabeth.
While watching my first game, a mate potted a red ball. He then asked me for the rest, so I began circling the table getting the rest of the red balls out of the pockets! Much laughter and piss-taking followed, and an explanation of what a “rest” was. I soon caught on.
One mate had a Morris Mini and he would chauffeur us around, although we would chip in some money for the petrol. We would take it in turns being in the front passenger seat – this incurred an extra 30 cents for the privilege!
Many an argument was had over whose turn it was.
Although the entertainment options were minimal back then, we all seemed to have a lot more fun and never seemed to get into too many scuffles. We weren’t perfect angels, either.
Alcohol and some drugs were around (mainly marijuana), but not to the same degree as today.
I can honestly say that no-one in our group ever took drugs, although we did get into the beer more than a little.
Aah, yes, my time in the 1960s held some great memories.
Stolen Biro (Nick Penn)