The car was a 1956 single-seat, turquoise Thunderbird, which had a V-8 engine with a three-speed transmission and removable hard and convertible tops (white). The car was 5 years old when I bought it shortly after graduating from high school.
It soon became apparent that my dream car had lived a rough life. Rust began appearing in several places, and I was shocked to discover that the top was full of holes and virtually useless.
It was a sporty ride, and I enjoyed driving it every day. On one occasion I had a date and our plans were to attend a movie at the Meridian Drive-in Theater. It was summertime, so we figured it was a perfect evening to remove the top.
Upon arriving at her house I remember her father coming out to inspect my new ride, which was looking good. I explained to him that the car had two tops and that the hardtop was in my parents’ garage. I sort of remember him telling me that there was a threat of rain later in the evening.
Soon we were pulling into the theater. We found a perfect spot to park in the back of the lot, and I scampered off to the concession stand for snacks and beverages. About halfway through the movie it started raining. We tried pulling up the top that was stored behind the seat but were unsuccessful.
We got soaked. We hopped into the car and left. I drove to my parents’ house to install the hardtop. I was working on a plan for the rest of the evening as I got some towels to dry the car’s interior.
I figured I could quickly change into dry clothes and then drive to her house so she could do the same. Then we would start all over again. She explained that parts of my plan were doable, but going back to her house for her to change clothes wasn’t going to work. She was sure that her parents would declare an end to our evening.
After some discussion I provided her clothes from my closet, and the change to dry apparel was made at my house. We then were ready to start our date over. The car was now in a position to keep us out of the rain.
My main problem at that point was a lack of cash. I didn’t have enough money to re-enter the theater and go to the Tee Pee Restaurant afterward.
A quick decision was made. We headed to the Eastside, where Al Green’s drive-in restaurant showed free movies. You could watch a movie from your car while having food and drinks delivered to you.
The movies weren’t first run, and the menu was limited, but it worked. We had a interesting evening, and I got my clothes back in a few days.