When I was a teen in Kentucky, we would hang out at Giovanni's Pizza. I loved that place even though it was not much more than a few red and cracked vinyl booths, some wobbly tables, maybe a jukebox, and less than stellar service. The pizza was swimming in grease, was very thin, and maybe too cheesy. Nevertheless, I invested a significant amount of time there with my family and with friends. We went there after church. We went there after football games. We went there on dates. It was wonderful. Smelly, yet wonderful.
By the time my niece and nephew became teens, Giovanni's was long out of favor. They would look at me blankly when I asked if they ever went to Giovanni's and I was a little sad. I suppose that's the natural cycle of things.
I remember that the yearbook (sorry, in Kentucky it was called the annual) advisor in high school once asked us to photograph a dive called the Bluegrass. That had been THE place when she was in high school. She said she invested way too many hours cruisin' the Bluegrass. My older sister and her friends had cruised the Bluegrass a couple of times, but by my time, it was passe'. The Bluegrass finally closed for good some time ago, and sentiment made certain that there were several articles in the local paper remembering when.
I do think there was something very sweet about growing up in a small town because those "in" icons are so much easier to identify than the "in" icons of the metro area where my kids are growing up.
It's emotional for me every time I go to Kentucky and need a greasy, greasy pizza from Giovanni's, but at least I'm not the only one. I joined the Giovanni's fan site on Facebook a while ago. Let the detractors say what they will, but I was the 782nd person to join.