My daughter's mother-in-law and I started exchanging emails when the kids made their engagement official. Because they are in Virginia and I am in Georgia, we parents had never met. We remember many of the same things and laugh at the same things.

Do you remember when there was no McDonald's, no Golden Arches? No Happy Meal?

I grew up in Macon, Georgia, a city/town with two older, established colleges. Our high schools and junior high schools were not coed. (We had separate schools for the girls and for the boys.)

I remember when the first McDonald's in Macon was built. I remember the special sauce, which I didn't really like. Onions weren't optional. I gained an appreciation for skinny fries.

The other MIL mentioned a three course meal for 47 cents at McDonald's. That I don't remember. Maybe it was a regional thing. I do remember enjoying the luxury of fast food, and I do mean luxury. Our family didn't see fast food as an automatic option. If we went shopping we ate before we left home or when we returned.

Remember drugstore food counters? Dime stores (5 & 10 Cent stores, or five & dime stores) like Woolworth's and H&L Green's offered soda fountains that made milkshakes one at a time and with real milk and ice cream. A few short order items might be offered, like grilled cheese sandwiches, hamburgers, or hot dogs cooked on a grill surface while you watched. Some offered canned chili or soup. Mama didn't offer those things at home.

Krystal has been around for a long time, but I only remember eating there when our family traveled from Macon to Meridian, Mississippi. I do remember that eating the tiny burgers was a sport, when we could afford more than one or two. My daddy asked a waitress what kind of mustard they used and we left with a container of it.

My daughter was born in Mexico, Missouri in 1972, where there were no fast food places. Her first word was "French fry" (fwi-fwi, but we knew what she mean) spoken at a McDonald's in Columbia, Missouri. Hey, it was a college town thirty miles away and they had a camera store.

Duluth, Georgia had four way stops and only one traffic light when we moved here in 1976 and no McDonald's.

Toni, remember Fincher's Drive-In?

What do you remember?

15 comments

  1. Mary Ricksen // July 1, 2008 at 5:20 PM  

    Those old drive in fast food places were the best. Sometimes they brought your food on roller skates.
    Then there was the A&W, best root beer ever.

  2. Melba // July 1, 2008 at 7:18 PM  

    Mary,
    I also remember when the first McDonald's opened in my hometown. Our first fastfood restaurant was DQ. I remember going in to get an ice cream and having to wear my aunt's shoes because kids didn't need shoes during summer, so I didn't have any. I remember working behind the candy counter at the dime store. I remember pierced ear rings for 25cents a pair.

    Anybody else?

  3. Melba // July 1, 2008 at 7:22 PM  

    Mary,
    I also remember when the first McDonald's opened in my hometown. Our first fastfood restaurant was DQ. I remember going in to get an ice cream and having to wear my aunt's shoes because kids didn't need shoes during summer, so I didn't have any. I remember working behind the candy counter at the dime store. I remember pierced ear rings for 25cents a pair.

    Anybody else?

  4. Beth Trissel // July 1, 2008 at 7:23 PM  

    I remember a lot of this stuff too. Man, you gals are aging me. :)

  5. Beth Trissel // July 1, 2008 at 7:27 PM  

    I have the perfect catalogue for you, Mary, The Vermont Country Store. View it either online or request one through the post. They sell a wide variety of vintage, nostalgic stuff. Some hard to find. Good quality, and no, I don't own stock in the company.

  6. Mary Marvella // July 1, 2008 at 11:27 PM  

    Thanks. You'd be surprised how much of that stuff I still have. I'm a pack rat!

  7. Donnell // July 1, 2008 at 11:38 PM  

    I remember Woolworth, I also remember vanilla cokes and I WAS the girl behind the counter who made them. :) I remember dragging Main, A&W rootbeer floats and times that were much, much simpler. I remember a Volkswagen bug that when driving up hill the gas pedal fell off and you had to roll back down the hill and start again ;)

  8. Mary Marvella // July 2, 2008 at 12:00 AM  

    Thanks, Donnell.

    My daughter's MIL mentioned the way life was cleaner and more simple. What did they call the counters? Lunch counters? My ex started working as a "soda jerk" at a drugstore at fifteen because his mother worked there and he could catch a bus from school.

  9. Beth Trissel // July 2, 2008 at 12:05 PM  

    OMG, our family had a VW van that did the same thing on hills! Rather alarming, but my parents took it in stride.

  10. Nightingale // July 2, 2008 at 12:26 PM  

    Does it seem so long ago? I can testify that Duluth is WAY more than a small town now. Mary and I had lunch last week at a California Dreaming near 85. And on another visit we drove through Duluth and I thought I was in a big city.

  11. Nightingale // July 2, 2008 at 12:27 PM  

    OOOH and I remember The Varsity in Atlanta -- and it's still there.

  12. Beth Trissel // July 4, 2008 at 11:30 AM  

    I really enjoyed these comments as well as the post.

  13. Toni V.S. // July 4, 2008 at 2:09 PM  

    Indeed, I remember Fincher's, MM. Best barbecue in the world! Bar none! The last time I was in Macon, the first thing I asked for was a Fincher's barbecue with brunswick stew. I went home with 4 cans of stew in my suitcase and 8 cans of boiled peanuts. Wonder what the x-ray scan at the airport thought of that. Bet I couldn't do it today! I thought the Krystal hamburgers and hotdogs were much better than McDonald's. You could get one for .12!

  14. Pamela Varnado // July 4, 2008 at 3:50 PM  

    Hey Mary
    Talk about nostalgia. One of my earlier memories was how healthy i ate as a child. My grandparents grew most of our veggies and going to McDonalds was a treat, which didn't happen too often.

  15. Mary Marvella // July 4, 2008 at 5:39 PM  

    Thanks for stopping by.
    Can't wait for you to guest post for us!