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  • Writer's pictureEarlSun

The conflict following the war.

Updated: Jan 6

We were a regular drive-in family: my parents, my younger sister, and me. Those nights under the stars, watching movies on the big screen from the comfort of our car, held a special place in my heart. But one particular evening in 1974 stands out vividly in my memory. My father, eager to catch Sidney Poitier's latest film, "Uptown Saturday Night," had decided it was time for a family outing. At the age of seven, I was just thrilled to be out and about, anticipating a night filled with popcorn and kid-friendly fun. However, as we embarked on our journey, my father veered off the familiar route, claiming he needed to make a quick stop. I soon realized we were near the liquor store close to 68th and Figueroa in Los Angeles, California. He assured us he would be back in a flash and disappeared inside the store. Time seemed to stretch as minutes turned into moments. Suddenly, he emerged in a whirlwind, sprinting towards his beloved '69 Charger. Without wasting a second, he leapt into the driver's seat and sped away, leaving a cloud of mystery in his wake. The way he rushed out of that store made it clear that something was amiss. As we arrived at the drive-in, I noticed he had money and change, as if he had come into possession of something he shouldn't have. Deep down, I knew the truth. The drive-in was his sanctuary, a clever escape plan in case the police were on the hunt for the person responsible for the store's robbery. It was an era when Vietnam Veterans like my father faced challenging times, and desperate actions were sometimes born from good intentions but flawed execution. And in that moment, my innocent childhood world collided with the complex reality of the grown-up world I was beginning to understand.

When a movie portrays real-life situations, the scene provides insight into the potential mindset of my father during the times he committed crimes.

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