When I attended high school in Vienna, James Madison High School “looked the other way” when the seniors would skip out to lunch. The school administrators would say that they “frowned upon students leaving campus during lunch” but to the best of my knowledge no one was ever punished for doing so. There were several near-by places that the kids could go. McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, or a little place called Conrad’s. To be perfectly honest I never skipped out during lunch – I was one of those “goody-goody two shoes” that always followed the rules.
Although my parents were always suspicious of my integrity, I was not about to break any rules. The consequences of getting caught doing something wrong was to be grounded for several months and believe me, for a teenage girl, being grounded for several months was a fate worse than death!
When I finally DID go to Conrad’s hot dog stand, it was in the late fall, on a weekend, on a date. Conrad’s was an older looking building, there were no tables inside to sit down and eat. Instead, it was one of those types of establishments where you walked up to a sliding window and placed your order, paid for the food and then you stood aside for a few minutes while your food was cooked, and then you went to the pick-up window. Much like many ice cream stands. You could eat at one of the picnic tables outside, or you sat in your car.
Now when I travel down the Main Street of Vienna, I wonder whatever happened to Conrad’s. Is it still there? If not, when did it cease to exist? What is there now? If I was not the passenger of the car, and not in a hurry, I think I’d like to drive past where it used to be and take a look-see. But you know what? I probably would drive right past the place and not even know it. The place was on a side street and it was over forty years ago. It’s probably a 7-Eleven now.