It was 1970. I was a newly-wed, and my friend Suzie had two small children. Our husbands were on their two-week duty with the Army Reserves. One night we packed kids, snacks, pillows and blankets into her station wagon and went to the drive in.
The movie was Love Story, a tear-jerker starring Ryan O’Neal and Allie McGraw,
which features the most specious line of crap uttered on screen…ever
The movie was barely past the credits when Suzie and I began weeping. As the tragic tale unfolded, our sobbing did too. While the kids slumbered in the back seat, we experienced the grief of the young couple on the big screen beyond the concession stand. Ali McGraw was diagnosed with a terminal illness. We were inconsolable.
By this time, I had sobbed my sinuses shut. I mouth-breathed my way to the glove box, grasping blindly for the box of tissues. I found them.
And then I blew my nose.
To say the resulting sound was fog-hornian would understate by half the noise I made.
The mood in the car shifted from grief to hilarity in less than a heartbeat. We laughed loudly through the heroine’s death and her entire funeral.
We laughed while cars around us started honking their horns and the people in them shouted “SHUTUP”.
We howled while we rolled up our windows, and the car shook with laughter until the credits rolled and we sweated in the stifling heat.
Cars began leaving, but we stayed behind until the lot was empty to make sure there was no posse at the exit, throwing together a makeshift gallows.
It was a wonderful experience. We loved it, and we’ve never been sorry.