Longacres was a horse track south of Seattle and it didn't really have a reputation like the Belmont, but it was colorful, exciting and horribly loud. The size of the facility wasn't too large and it was built in such a manner that everyone felt close to the action. I'd never gambled before and even then, there was a feeling like I was doing something wrong. It was legal, but it felt weird.
I'm not really sure why it came to mind, why that event chose to resurrect itself in the graveyard of my memory, but it was a good one.
I remember the porch that led up to the entrance that took you down a hallway to two of the apartment doors, the other two being up the stairs. The porch was a gathering place for youngsters such as myself. They were just enjoying each others' company and maybe getting a touch football game revved up. It was a simpler time, really. Mom was still alive, the sun seemed to shine just a little brighter, and the laughter was just that much more intoxicating. Though it wasn't really "home," it sure as hell felt like it.
Today, there are only a handful of drive-ins left in the whole country and I'm afraid that mine will be the last generation to truly experience what it's like at a drive-in. I've taken my kids a few times and they genuinely liked it. The smells, the feel, the cool summer air, and the communal experience of watching a movie outside was completely amazing. There is nothing else like it in the whole world.
Unfortunately, there are whole chunks of time that have been erased in my mind and even with prompting and encouragement, I just can't conjure up the visuals that correspond with the dialog. Little bit by little bit, however, I get to sneak a peek at moments in history. I can't tell you how frustrating and discouraging it can be at times. But for every memory that comes forward, is accompanying joy and lots of smiles.
I'm thankful for these memories.