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05 May 2009

The Near Extinction of a Childhood Memory

One of my fondest memories as a child was when mom and dad packed up us four girls, put us in the VW bus or the Pontiac boat and drove us to the Pizza Parlour. As I transport myself down this particular memory lane, I will always remember the excitement of this outing. It's not that we were going out for pizza that was the cool part, it was the whole experience of being at the pizza parlour. As soon as we arrived, we'd push through the parlour doors like crazy banshees. It was a fantasy land for us. We wanted to play the game where for a quarter you try to pick with a pair of giant plyers through glass the stuffed animal of your choice. We wanted to ride the electric horse that bounced around. We wanted to play Mrs. Pacman. And so on.

My parents would order pizza and while we waited brought us pitchers of cokes. Oh me oh my. Cokes!!!! You see, we didn't get to drink sodas much at home so this was very special indeed. My mouth would water as my dad filled our glasses. We'd suck the sodas down like we were returning from the desert without any water for days. I'd hear my mom in the background saying, don't drink all your soda, you'll ruin your appetite. I don't think that stopped us as pitcher refills would keep coming. The pizza would arrive and of course we couldn't eat much with our tummies full of coke. We'd get up and chase eachother around the salad bar and steal croutons from the counters and we'd beg to play more games. It seems these excursions to the pizza parlour would last forever. It was almost like this was such a treat for us that we'd all embellish every moment of being there and draw this experience out as long as we could. I bet my parents had to save for a while to take us but the memories have stuck with me so much that even now, as an adult I reminisce about these experiences frequently.

Every now and then we come across a pizza parlour that resembles my childhood fascination. Usually it's in a small town up in the mountains. We always stop and enjoy a couple hours of cokes, beer, pizza, video games and sports watching. It's a leisurely experience. We never hurry out. Unfortunately, there aren't many of these places left in the bigger cities. Most city pizza joints cater more towards delivery and don't have that old time feel. It's more of a get a slice, eat it and go, have it delivered, or it's hoity toity and the pizza has weird stuff all over it - this last part is Warren's take on it.

However, a couple of years ago, we stumbled across a pizza parlour that just so happens to fit the profile of my childhood memory - and even better, it is about a mile from where we live. It's seriously nothing special. The entry way boasts video games and a mirror that will make you look all contorted. Then you pass by a GIGANTIC taxidermied-looking, yet hopefully fake bear named Fuzzy Wuzzy. The piano that plays all by itself for a quarter belts out old saloon tunes sits adjacent to a long classic salad bar. An old gas fireplace warms the old wooden booths with old brown leather seats where we relax with a large pitcher of coke. (ok, now as an adult, it's more like a large glass of red wine, but I always take big swigs of Warren's coke!) We order at the counter. The menu is basic and simple and they call your number when it's ready. The pizza is homestyle and delish.

I think a lot of people try to re-live their childhood memories here. I do. In fact, we've sort of made it a habit to meet up with Warren's Aunt Diane and Uncle Wally at least once a month. It's a chance to catch up, enjoy conversation, play video lottery, and take a little trip down memory lane.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Sarah:
    I too remember the old pizza parlours. Of course I do, I'm OLD. But the first pizza I ever had was at Shakey's in SE Portland. I think it's still there but if not I still have memories of it. If I remember correctly a pizza was pretty expensive in those days but my Dad would sport one for my friend and I once in a great while. Such Fun!!