It was a scene out of many childhoods, before the days of minivans and fast-food drive-throughs. Mom drove the station wagon, kids piled...

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It was a scene out of many childhoods, before the days of minivans and fast-food drive-throughs. Mom drove the station wagon, kids piled into the back seats, and everyone was hauled to the drive-in for burgers, fries and milkshakes.

Valerie Sakraida and Wendy Jones discovered the burgers are still juicy and the kids as noisy as previous generations. The Bellevue women also discovered others share their nostalgia.

Sakraida drives a 1988 Ford Country Squire station wagon with woodlike paneling on the sides. The Bellevue resident gave up her minivan for the wagon — by design.

“I needed a change and started looking for a station wagon,” she said. “I used to ride around in a car like this when I was little.”

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Last week when her husband was on a business trip, Sakraida and Jones organized the dinner outing. They filled the wagon with six kids and went to Burgermaster, one of the few drive-ins left on the Eastside.

If you’re a parent or a kid who enjoyed a similar outing, you’ll remember the confusion sorting who wants which burger with lettuce and pickle but no onion.

“Finally the waitress took my order and then went around to the other side to take my friend’s order,” Sakraida said. “I looked at the man in the car next to me. He was driving a nice, silver convertible and laughing at our scene. I smiled and said something about what an adventure this was.”

Only when they were ready to leave did the women discover just how much the man appreciated the vision of the past. He picked up their tab before he left.

“If I ran into him, I wouldn’t know who he was,” Sakraida said. “He told the waitress that we reminded him of his childhood.”

Sakraida tried to tip the waitress but she refused, explaining that the man already had done that, too.

“It made me feel so good,” Sakraida said. “I felt like, yes, there is a Santa Claus.”

Name game

As of today, Children’s Services of Sno-Valley becomes Encompass — Children. Families. Community.

Nancy Whitaker, executive director, said the group spent a year polling families who use the programs and community members about the name.

“The biggest hurdle we have always faced is people thinking we’re part of the DSHS [Department of Social and Health Services] system or Child Protective Services,” Whitaker said.

Building memories

Jennifer Gulrajani and other organizers expect a big turnout of alumni at tomorrow’s farewell celebration for Medina Elementary School. The school will be torn down later this month to make way for a new building.

This isn’t the first time students have seen the school change.

The first Medina Elementary, which opened in 1910, was a one-room schoolhouse. That was replaced by a substantial brick-and-mortar edifice in 1925. During the baby-boom era of the 1950s, the school expanded into long-slung quarters, considered modern at the time. It was an integration of old and new; parts of the old brick building were used until 1992.

Until the new facility is completed, students and teachers will move to a temporary school headquartered in the Bellwood School near Odle Middle School. (Bellwood Elementary was closed as a school in 1981 but has been used as the home-away-from-home campus for a number of Bellevue schools as they’ve been rebuilt.)

Medina students will return to the new, earthquake-proof Medina Elementary in fall 2006.

Gulrajani, who is planning tomorrow’s 10 a.m. party, has children at the school and went to school there herself.

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or