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Faded Pictures from a Life: Taking Mains

Taking Mains

1966

The primary pastime of weekday nights was “Taking Mains.” Main Street was really the main street in Aberdeen. It was the commercial heart of the town. It was this street that was used in the teenage driving ritual and at the turn around points were two drive-in restaurants, Scotty’s on the north end and the Terry’s on the south end. Scotty’s was place to congregate and eat greasy french fries and equally greasy burgers. It was also the place to change cars and who was in the cars.

Taking mains alone would be unthinkable. It was always groups of two, three, four, five or more if the car could accommodate them. Often the cars were packed with boys and sometimes all girls and sometimes it was couples, rarely one couple, but two or more. It was a ritual social interaction of those in the cars but also between the cars. There was yelling, honking, waving, and other hand gestures. There was an occasional fight but I always kept my distance, being a confirmed and wise coward. “Taking Mains” was the way to see who was with whom, who was dating whom, and who was hanging out with whom. It would seem driving up and down the same street all evening would get boring, but I remember it as a time of teenage bonding and the dissolving of bonds. It seems I should have spent these evenings doing homework. Strangely I have no memories of doing any homework, but I must have done some, I received As and Bs.

Sometime after I left Aberdeen they turned Main Street into a one way street – sinful city planning. Apparently they are now discussing turning it back to two way, but will anyone remember how to take Mains?

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