I had this fear years ago of breaking the bottle when using a church key to remove the metal cap from a soft drink.
That fear returned last week when I methodically opened a bottle of cream soda made by Flavor 8 Bottling Inc. of New London, an enterprise new to the city owned by Dave Talo and John Mathison.
There was no genius in naming the company because its original offering is eight flavors – orange, grape, punch, cherry, lime, cream soda, blue raspberry and black cherry.
Most of the flavors have been available but not in glass, which a fellow New London City Hall employee said makes the drink more appealing.
In turn, I sampled punch and cherry. All three were tasty and soothing to the palate and were similar to those I remember from 60 years ago when a bottle of pop cost 5 cents.
There must be a number of MASH fans because the grape (Nehi) favorite of Radar O’Reilly had been claimed before I invaded the two-case cache.
Getting people to try the new soft drink may be the biggest hurdle because it is sold by the case with a one-time lifetime $10 deposit for the bottles. Cost for the 24-bottle case is $8 – about 3-for-$1.
This event got me to mulling other things from years past, such as old time radio, Christmas, growing up in happier and simpler times, and other obscure things to other people.
An inquiry of several regular visitors to the End Stool revealed many different nostalgic memories with one common response – parents and grandparents who have passed away.
My father died in 2002 and I often think about him. I miss our talks about eagles and deer, the time spent in the duck blind or fishing the Wolf River in Fremont. He and my mother would show up at my home early Sunday if I failed to visit them more than two Saturdays in a row.
Tom King had similar memories of his father and grandfather who spent time on the water fishing or at the cabin located near Clintonville.
“My dad would give anything to anybody who had a need,” Tom said. Tom is an apple that fell from a good tree in that he has similar qualities.
Wayne Wilfuer, who grew up in rural Clintonville, always remembers time spent with his dad and grandfather on the farm. “We didn’t have electricity yet and used oil lanterns for light,” he said. “I remember going with grandpa to haul milk to the factory.”
Wilfuer is old enough to remember, not fondly of course, that blackouts were in vogue in his youth because of World War II. “You put blankets over the windows to prevent light from showing,” he said.
He fondly remembers listening to old time radio programs, especially Fibber McGee and Molly and the Lone Ranger. “At 4 p.m. every day it was adventure time for kids,” he recalls.
He and his wife Muriel routinely listen to recordings of some of the old shows they have collected. This is an interest I share, having collected golden age of radio programs for more than 50 years.
Another memory of radio from my youngest years is “Billie the Brownie” on WTMJ in Milwaukee which was an annual Christmas program featuring letters to Santa. I remember listening intently several years while staying with my Grandma Blanche before finally hearing a letter from Roger in Amherst Junction. Another favorite memory is her reading stories from my favorite book of fairy tales.
Some memories the younger generation has no idea about is riding in the rumble seat of my mother’s aunt Mona and helping getting Grandpa Docka’s model T started by letting out the clutch after pushing it down the incline from the garage. The rumble seat on some coupes was located where a trunk is on a modern car.
An interesting sidelight to listening to old time radio or watching vintage television is the connection to many issues today that remain unsolved and grown in urgency.
In the recent airing of a 1950s Life is Worth Living broadcast of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen the topic was about a city really being two cities – an inner city and an outer city – divided by have and have nots and ethnicity.
Sheen spoke of individual and group responsibility other than government intervention in solving those issues.
It was a very poignant topic considering those problems continue today. It also shows that history does more than repeat itself but some issues continue and grow generation to generation.