Homage to Maine Drive In Resturants

It’s hard to imagine, but life used to exist before McDonald’s. The precursors to the golden arches were drive-in hamburger and hot dog stands. In Presque Isle where I grew up, Keegan’s was THE place to be. Never mind that it was essentially the ONLY place to be. If you had a few dollars, you could go there and get something yummy (i. e. full of sugar, salt, and fat) for a reasonable price. Maybe you would see your friends. “Lights on for service” meant you didn’t even need to get out of your car.

The other activity was “tooling Main Street,” which meant driving from one end to the other, turning around, and then doing it again. Yeesh. If you hadn’t any money to go to Keegan’s, or a car to drive around in, you were in rough shape. No wonder I was desperate to get out.

Back in 1967 when I was dating my first husband, he took me to the McDonalds on Broadway in Bangor, one of the first in Maine and certainly the first I had ever been to. No “Lights on for service,” but I could not believe how fast he was in and out with a bag of fifteen cent hamburgers. The fries and milkshakes – so thick you could not suck them through a straw – set the standard from then on, probably for not much more than a dollar or two total for us both.

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