My Brain Peanuts Remembers Soda Pop

Welcome Dear Readers to this edition of my brain Peanuts remembers.  

Today’s topic:  Soda Pop

Drinking soda in the fifties was a lot different from today. First of all, soda came in a bottle. In Washington state, where I grew up, there was no such thing as drinking a can of soda. No siree! We drank a bottle of pop or we drank nothing at all.

Back then, when you bought a bottle of pop, the pop was yours to drink — but you had to give back the bottle because you were merely renting it. After all, you had to pay a 2-cent deposit on it, for crying out loud, and not taking it back for a refund could seriously affect the budget.

So everyone always returned their pop bottles to get their two-cents back because two-cents in the fifties would buy enough gas to get you to Canada from anywhere in the United States.

 "Hot diggity dog! It's my ticket to Canada!"
“Hot diggity dog! It’s my ticket to Canada!”

The only people who drank out of a can were beer drinkers. But beer cans were worthless so beer drinkers didn’t worry about getting their deposit back. They would simply chuck the empties out of the window of whatever speeding vehicle they happened to be drunkenly swerving down the highway in.

Today, we would consider this drunk driving but in those days we simply considered it littering. And in the 1950’s, littering was America’s favorite pastime — as much a way of life as Polio, onesie gym clothes, and radio-active cleansing cream.

But whether you were drinking out of a bottle or drinking out of a can, you would have died of thirst in the 1950’s if you didn’t have one of these.

The most important invention of mankind since the creation of invention ITSELF!!!
The most important invention of mankind since the creation of invention ITSELF!!!

It was a combination bottle/can opener, and it was a wonderful little gadget. One end would pry off the caps of Debby and Bobby’s pop bottles while the other end would puncture a hole in Mom and Dad’s beer cans. (The only thing this can opener wouldn’t do is open a bottle of wine, but this wasn’t a problem because in the 50’s only Europeans drank wine.)

I think it’s fair to say that the bottle opener was as much a part of the foundation upon which the togetherness of the fifties family was built as smearing butch wax on crew cuts, stenciling on eyebrows or hiding under desks together to survive atomic blasts.

I remember my grandparents only drank Pepsi which they always referred to as Peps. Pepsi was for those who think young. Not only did my grandparents think young, they were young. When I was five, my grandmother was only 44. (Back then people started families way younger so they could get it out of the way quicker and have more time to drink Peps.)

Now let’s say you only drank half the Peps in that rented bottle of yours. What would you do? Well, instead of pouring it down the drain, you would save the remainder of the Peps by utilizing another ingenious type of gadget that people just referred to as that bottle thingy.

These bottle thingys were invented for two reasons.  1) to lock in soda pop freshness and  2) to give people in the future something to sell on e-bay.
These bottle thingys were invented for two reasons.
1) to lock in soda pop freshness and
2) to give people in the future something to sell on e-bay.

That bottle “thingy” I’m referring to was a rubber gasket that went into the top of the bottle to seal in the carbonation as well as that delicious Peps refreshing flavor. After all, you spent a whole dime for that bottle of Pepsi, and you wouldn’t want it to go to waste.

Not if you were ever going to afford that trip to Canada!

Until next time . . . I love you

24 thoughts on “My Brain Peanuts Remembers Soda Pop

  1. a great website, thank you so much, i am going to rush out to my nearest pharmacy and getting some of that face cream to clean the kitchen floor, so atomic of you, but seriously, did you ever hear of a scientist called midgely, he put the lead in petrol, developed the words first cfc’s, worth checking out.

  2. Hey that’s a great idea for getting your kitchen floor really clean and removing your fingerprints (should you be wanted by the FBI) while scrubbing! I’ve never heard of Midgely before but he sounds like an interesting guy. I’ll definitely have to google him!

  3. I think today we’re reverting back as they seem to be going back to the bottles again …with one difference; now they’re putting names on the bottles…. Now the bottles go in recycle so you get no money back… Diane

    • So true! It would be fun to have glass bottles again. Remember the disdain everyone in those days had about plastic? Anything made out of plastic was really looked down upon. Is anything not made out of plastic now? Sigh . . .

  4. I’m not sure we had bottled pop. But I do remember canned bubble in the 60’s. Probably didn’t have the resources for such luxury! Love your posts, Linda!!

    • Canned Bubble yes! I remember that. It came in green cans! It was trying to be 7-up. It tasted just like 7-up I think. I remember bottles of pop because my grandparents always had bottles of Pepsi on hand. Do they still refer to soda as pop up there? Or was that just in the 50’s?

  5. Well I may have not been born in the fifties but after reading today’s post I can tell you I’m craving a nice big bottle of Peps!
    Now I just need to become a grandma at age 44 although that would mean Macy needs to birth a child at 10 years old which, come to think of it, would actually be more like 56BC not 1955.

    • LOL! Isn’t it amazing that my grandparents were so young? But I think everybody grandparents were pretty young in those days. So were everybody’s parents come to think of it. I can actually remember asking my mother how old she was when I was little and she said “29”. And I thought wow! She’s old!

  6. Milady V….

    Reading your reminiscences is always an entertaining trip into OUR past; we seem to have grown up in the same weird reality that existed only in the imagination of the American people in the 50’s, as shown to them every day on TV, and, which they tried so hard to make real… I think the video best reflects the “look and feel” of the time, in which the entire concept was motivated purely by greed, yet accepted as normal, even desirable. It also reflects, in a way the spiritual outcome, which was a loss for all who worked to produce it, (the product AND the advertisement), sell it, as well as a spiritual, and physical, loss for all those who saw it, and, worse, used it, thus demonstrating their complete asininity…

    Makes me wonder about myself sometimes….


    gigoid, the dubious


  7. Yes, Dubious, I think you’ve accurately summed up the 50’s. “People tried so hard to make it real” That is such a good insight. And to us kids it was real . . . almost. It was a happy illusion though. Even though it was run by greed, it was a more innocent greed than today because there was no such thing as a credit card — the fuel that burned the fires of greed pales by comparison to today’s greed which is 50’s greed on steroids.

  8. My mate Graeme McTavish’s dad flew a Douglas DC3 cargo plane filled with crates of Coke and Pepsi into Berlin during the Berlin Blockade in 1948.

    In what turned out to be an ill-judged idea, he strayed a few hundred feet above the rest of his convoy of planes so that he could take a nice photo for the family album.

    All of the bottle tops blew off all of the bottles. They thought they had been hit by a missile.

    By the time they landed in Berlin, almost nothing worked on the plane. Gallons of brown and sugary goo dripped from every orifice and nook and cranny.

    The plane had to be scrapped where it stood on the runway at Tempelhof.

    What larks, eh, Pip…?

    • LOLOL! I can’t tell you how much I love this story!! It should be a ballad. The Ballad of Graeme McTivish’s Dad! And the plane had to be scrapped!! It just doesn’t get any better than that! Hahaha! What larks, eh, Pip indeed!!

  9. One of our neighbors, Grace Roberts, was addicted to Dr. Pepper. I distinctly remember her drinking it religiously at 10, 2 and 4–and I’m not talking about just the daylight hours. She didn’t need any of those stopper thingys as a pop never got a chance to get warm or lose its fizz in her presence. She would suck one down with gusto, then let out a big belch and say, “That’s just what the Doctor ordered.”

    • LOL! I can just see her now. Grace Roberts and her Dr. Pepper. Everybody should have at least one neighbor that’s addicted to Dr. Pepper! HA!

      My daughter’s Jr. high teachers, Miss Jewel, was addicted to Tab. She had to have it specially ordered because they didn’t sell it anymore in the stores. Everyday she would pick one of the kids to go out to her car and get her a Tab. One day she picked Nikki to go out and get her a Tab from her car. Nikki said her entire car will filled with empty Tab cans. I wonder if she was any relation to Grace Roberts?

  10. Ga-WOOF! I’m doubled over with laughter here!! Or perhaps it’s just gas from that can of Peps I drank! Either way, this wunnaful post sure done helped me get muh fizz on!!

    Sorry to have been such a stranger, dear Linda. I can see your rollicking and truly unique humor has only improved these past weeks, which is more than I can say for that unstoppered bottle of Dr. Peepers in my fridge…

    The 50’s… gee, I wish I’d appreciated ’em more. Little did I know I was living thru the Golden Age of human civilization and culture– and I helped contribute to it by collecting soda bottles so I could use the deposit money to buy candy to rot the teeth the soda somehow missed!!

    I haven’t seen one of those bottle/can openers in years. They were like the Swiss Army Knives of the 50’s. And they had a wonderful nickname: a “church key.” If I had a nickel for every time I heard “Anybody got a church key?” on a team bus, I could buy enough gas to drive to the corner!

    Superb post, dear Linda– I raise a fizzy-pop, and I drink to your sugary health!! : )

  11. LOL Mark! When you think of all that sugar our poor teeth endured in the 50’s it boggles the mind! I remember one time eating a giant sweet tart for lunch sophomore year in high school. It was about the size of a Buick. I was actually proud that I was able to finish it. Needless to say, I haven’t had a candy like it since. I’m sure I washed the entire thing down with a big bottle of Peps. Even though this particular incident took place in the 60’s we were still swilling the Peps from bottles if memory serves. Although mine could be a little damaged from the giant sweet tart. But it was worth it!

    Oh that’s right! It was called the church key!! Excellent remembering Markie MacGiggles! I can always count on you to fill me in on the sketchy details! The swiss army knife of the 50’s LOL!! That is sooo true! and I think swiss army knives actually came with church keys included if memory serves me. Speaking of memory, did I ever tell you about the time I ate a giant sweet tart as big as a Buick?

  12. I really liked this wooden crate of 24 little glass bottles of soda pop my Dad would get atvyhe drive through, Linda. It had grape, orange, cream doda, lemon lime and others like root beer and cola. The name brand was “Cotton Club.” My brothers loved those refunds on glass bottles, when we lived in a new neighborhood. We would take a wagon down the street collecting pop bottles, then take them to a Cleveland Polish delicatessen named, Szarka’s. We would buy our favorite penny candy and take turns hauling my littlest brother home in the wagon. I like paper strips of pastel multicolored candy dots. We also liked those candy necklaces, caramels, red licorice “shoelaces” and red hots. Thanks for getting me babbling about my 60’s memories. 🙂

    • What wonderful memories!! Hauling the pop bottles to the store, buying penny candy with the refund and then hauling your little brother home in the the wagon. Memories just don’t get any sweeter than that! (especially when they include memories of your favorite penny candy too!) It really is the little things in life that make the best memories!!

Please leave a comment. I need help finishing my sentences.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s