Monday, April 11, 2011

The Drive-Thru

Daniels Street was a great street on which to grow up.  For one thing, it had just the right amount of a hill to propel me and my Smurf Big Wheel down the block at a nice clip.  And, there was the added danger of the railroad tracks at the end of street, which could be narrowly missed with a quick turn out of your wheels.  The railroad tracks were also quite useful for smashing coins and practicing my balance, as the tracks themselves were the perfect balance beam.

Speaking of danger, Daniels had a fair amount of car traffic for a residential street, and some motorists would ignore speed limits, often prompting mothers on the street (usually mine) to scream "SLOW DOWN!" from their porch swings.  And, of course, there was Jimmy Mills.  Jimmy Mills (yes, he was always referred to by first and last name) didn't live on Daniels Street, but he got hit by a car on Daniels Street for about five consecutive summers.  At first this was alarming, but it got to the point where the sound of squealing tires and the screams of a kid being thrown from his bike to the pavement only made us pause momentarily from our playing and say, with a knowing nod of the head, "Jimmy Mills."

Whenever he got hit, Jimmy Mills was most likely on his way to the Drive-Thru, which may have been the best feature of Daniels Street in my childhood.  The Drive-Thru was the little store at the gas station at the end of our block.  It was also the place where we would run to whenever we had some spending money.  In fact, I think my brother often spent the majority of his birthday money buying random things there.

In its early incarnation, the Drive Thru sold penny candy--Swedish Fish, Sour Patch Kids, Red Hot Dollars--portioned out in little baggies.

It was also our go-to source for Garbage Pail Kids, which we collected with a gruesome fascination.

And, they stocked Mystics, which were fun to drink because the packaging looked so much like a wine cooler.

The Drive-Thru was so beloved that the worst punishment my parents could dole out to my sister--worse than sending her to her room or putting soap in her mouth--was to ban her from going there.

At some point, the Drive-Thru expanded into Kwik King.  It stopped selling penny candy, and it added a deli where it sold fried chicken and jojos.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love a good jojo--who wouldn't enjoy a potato wedge dipped in batter and fried--but the addition of the fried foods was a definite downfall.  Being in the store for a mere thirty seconds would permeate your hair and clothing to the extent that you would smell as if you had been fried in a vat of grease.  It was disgusting to say the least.  When your mom asked you to run down there to grab a gallon of milk, it now entailed showering when you returned home.

In later years, I would brave the stench of Kwik King for pepperoni rolls, Fudge Rounds, and Moutain Dew Freezes, but I would always miss the little building with the wood counter where I could get a bag of Jujubes for a quarter,


  1. I know I am a few years older, but I remember being able to go to the Drive Thru with a dime and pick out 10 individual candies. Oh, how I debated...should it be 3 fish, 4 sour patch kids, and 3 pieces of pal gum or...? Those poor cashiers! Great post, Gretchen.

  2. Oh my gosh, I completely forgot about Mistic beverages! My brother and I drank those things like they were going out of style...and apparently, they were!

    By the way, have you ever noticed that no one in Columbus seems to know what a jojo is? Whenever Rob and I talk about the fried chicken, pizza, and jojo joints back home in Akron, we always get the stinkeye and the return comment, "What's a jojo?" (And yes, almost every place that sells pizza in Akron also sells fried chicken and jojos. Deee-licious!)