Plastic Playhouses: United States road trips of the 90s.

Someone told me recently, the playhouses in fast food restaraunts must have created good memories for kiddies. Even if they did nothing else beneficial. I never really thought of it that way.

The friend’s background is one that doesn’t have any memories of a Ronald McDonald Playhouse, growing up in a country across the world. I never thought of the perspective one might have of playhouses in restaurants.

Without ever looking back on my own memories, I took it for granted.

I wouldn’t say I have one specific memory at one location that has remained clear and lasted through the years. Instead they blend together to create more of a feeling. It was a chance to stretch our legs and move freely.

The playhouses remind me of the adventures we were on.

Maybe ten years ago new fast food joints that were built omitted the playhouses. Gone were the days of plastic entertainment accompanied by greasy food. Now you only get the greasy food. It’s fast food even faster.

Not that I’m sad. I think families can create more unique more cherrishable memories on the road with their families. Maybe picnics in parks along the way. Who knows.

But for the kids of the 90s, that’s what we had. I don’t know what they meant to you, but they are a childhood freedom for my siblings and I.

We ran out of the car as soon as it was parked and ordered our food as quickly as the line would allow so we could explore the realm the of the unknown plastic. As each place seemed to offer a unique adventure, with a bouncy slide as a rare treasure.

My family did not eat at fast food restaraunts very much in our regular daily route, but on vacation, it was a necessity. We were young on the trip to the grand canyon from Alabama. I wonder so many hours it was. We looked forward to the greasy food, quickly broken and quickly forgotten toys, and colorful plastic adventures.

My favorite play houses had a giant bouncy slide. Couldn’t get enough.

I remember my brother and sister and I would spend the wait for our meals running in circles up the stairs and butts bouncing down the slide.

All the while, Nenaw was sitting at one of the outside tables watching us play. And Papaw, he stood in line and waited for our order to be ready, giving us the chance to enjoy our simple little lives for just a few moments. It’s a small sacrifice in the measurement of all they have done for us. But still one that ought to be recognized.

He would bring the tray of food outside if it was warm enough, and we ate the cheap quick food with the happiest energy.

And then, maybe after one more begged bounce, we got back into the car and continued the journey onward.

I am ever thankful for the memories in the playhouses with my grandparents.

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