In my day, it was the Dairy Queen that meant teenage freedom.
I walked the half-mile to high school, but the Dairy Queen was across town, too far to walk.
The Dairy Queen represented freedom to drive across town and hang out with friends.
The freedom to order a hamburger or a shake, and buy it with my own baby-sitting money.
The freedom to delay homework until evening instead of coming right home from school.
I’m not sure why I even had access to a car. We had two cars in the family and my parents both worked full-time and drove to work.
But, they believed in letting teenagers practice driving on quiet suburban streets, in the hours before rush hour, in the few short years before we would be away from their watchful eyes.
After I got my driver’s license, they let me drive whenever we were in the car together.
So, they must have decided to share a car to let me have the other one after school.
Although I occasionally ordered one of Dairy Queen’s signature Brazier burgers, named in 1957, I always had dinner waiting at home at 6 PM.
More often, I’d drink a milkshake or eat the softserve ice cream that launched the now 5,700-strong franchise in 1940, when they sold 1,600 hundred of these desserts in two hours in a friend’s ice cream store in Joliet, Illinois.
Or one of the Dilly Bars, hard chocolate covering ice cream on a stick, introduced in 1955. It was perfect on a hot, Texas summer day.
Perhaps it was no surprise that the DQ was a favorite high school hangout when I went to high school in Richardson, Texas, where I graduated in 1965.
Texas has more Dairy Queens than any other state in the country.
Dairy Queen is now owned by Berkshire Hathaway.
The first Dairy Queen in China opened in 1991, the 500th in 2012.
And, my Dairy Queen in Richardson has long since been razed. My friends told me it’s a Chinese restaurant now.
Where did you hang out in high school?
Carol Covin, Granny-Guru