American Graffiti

So, we went to see American Graffiti at The State last night. I volunteered there ahead of time (MANY root beer floats made!) & we met up with his (our?!) grandparents. None of that is particularly exciting, but the great part is that he had never seen the movie before. For those not in the know, its a George Lucas (of Star Wars fame) film about the summer after his senior year of high school. Fun fact: He actually attended the same high school & junior college as I did, although obviously a few decades apart.

The movie is set around the same time as my parents graduated high school (1960) & resplendent with the clothes, cars, dances and music of that era. Fun fact: I knew how to do those dances before modern ones as my mom taught me them when I was a girl (the stroll, mashed potatoes, etc.). Additionally, I could sing all the songs from the movie although I’m hazy on music published during my actual childhood, having grown up on a steady diet of rock from the 50s & 60s (Mama) + old country (Papa).

However, again, none of that is the point. I got to watch my husband grin every time the movie mentioned one of the small local things around here (he’s cutting over onto 10th & G, we’ll race out on Paradise Road, band came all the way from Stockton, we came all the way from Turlock to cruise…). Little notes, but it was nice to see him smile.

After the movie, we walked down J Street with the grandparents & his grandpa told us stories from his cruising days (hopping in and out of cars, stealing a bongo drum, flicking a cigar at another car & starting a fight), and it made me miss my own high school days (exchanging pizza between cars, throwing lemonade at too-forward guys, drowning people’s music out with our own + loud singing). I know that cruising is a huge pain for law enforcement & that’s why it became illegal, but it was a pretty big part of being in high school – both in the 50s & 90s.

I wish that a car + a tank of gas + 3 friends + hours until curfew still had the same ring of excitement as it once did.


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