What’s So Great About Malt Shops?

I was listening to an on-air personality, today’s politically correct term for what we used to call a disc-jockey or DJ, who was lamenting how lame his father-in-law was for thinking that dancing at record hops and hanging out in malt shops listening to the juke box and drinking Coca Cola when he was growing up was great fun

Hearing this DJ, pardon me, on-air-personality, put down this bygone era got me thinking of what he might tell his grandchildren about his youth:

Yeah, we used to sit around texting each other all day, even if we were in the same room. We’d send pictures of what we were eating and add a little imoji to show whether we liked it or not. If we left the house, we’d send selfies of our faces with a glimpse of background to show where we were. And sometimes we would use an app that made our faces into funny characters and we would laugh and laugh. We’d text and laugh until we were breathless! Boy our thumbs sure did get a workout!

While it was nostalgic for the guy who lived it, it was ancient history to the younger fellow. But it really doesn’t matter which one you are, visiting another era can be interesting and enjoyable.

I guess I’m just drawn to old-timey things. Don’t get me wrong, I love the things we have now, but wouldn’t it be fun to go to a hop like in Back to the Future, dance the tarantella at a 1940s Italian wedding like in The Godfather, or eat Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café? It’s why Walt Disney has a main street in his theme parks with street shows reminiscent of the turn of the last century, and why the entrance to Hollywood Studios is a recreation of the 1940s right down to the music.

We live in our modern world every day. We’ve grown accustomed to our lifestyle. It’s familiar and comforting. But stories that take us to places and times we’ve never visited can be an exciting escape from our humdrum lives.

Actually, the DJ’s lament reminded me to finally get back to work on a novel I had set aside. It’s about kids in Philadelphia and American Bandstand in the 1950s—and yes, it has scenes set in malt shops. So perhaps I should thank him for his rant.

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