A Facebook found poem, with thanks
Pop bottles, soda bottles, soft-drink bottles—we just called ‘em empties. At the White House Food Shop, our family deli where Dad sold a little bit of everything but mostly beer, wine and soft drinks. The empties arrived like lemmings swimming in from Fairview Avenue. We’d marshal them from bags, boxes, cartons, and in singles or pairs by the neighborhood kids. Circa. 1948. Take the Radio Flyer and walk US-66 from Wyoming to Four Hills Road and pick the other side heading home. Pickings were good in those years. Who would think of letting their grade school kids do that today? Wonder some of us survived childhood. (Donald George)
My brothers and I handled thousands of these at my dad’s grocery back in the 60s, sorting what folks brought in to redeem. And stealing them back from the behind the store that night to sell again down the road. (Jessy Dean)
Lug ‘em to the back room, a vast space rivaling Xanadu’s storage, where the ranks of Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Seven-Up, Barq’s, Weidemann, Burger, Hudepohl, Stroh’s, and more stretched into infinity. Where’s the Nehi bottle? (Louis R. Chavez) My brother, sister, and I (ages 8, 6, 4) would walk by ourselves down Roundtop Rd., north of Poole, to the pony keg on Colerain Ave. On the way, we’d pick up empties so we could buy penny candy and gum. The muddy ones were reluctantly accepted, unless the bottle was just filled with mud. (Nancy Klosterman Kolis)
Ah—the mud-caked bottles, pilfered, as I imagined, from a shed somewhere in forgotten places of the city—we hated these, since Dad expected us to wash them out. And the bugs, roaches mostly, lurking in among the cardboard beer cartons! We lived in rural Ohio. Lots of folk pitched deposit bottles out their car windows. So as kids, we collected bags full and took them to Kroger’s for 2 cents each. We were kids, we had to take them to the office (no service desk in those days) where a guy would carefully count each bottle and sometimes complain that they were dirty. (John D. Kinne)
Cash ‘em in for candy, baseball cards, a small Coke. Serious adults, with cargo holds unloaded from container ships parked out front would refill their Sunday stash of beer. And the woman down the street would summon us to collect a shopping bag full of quart bottles, to redeem and maintain her habit. (We never questioned how we enabled her addiction.) We would collect them, ride our bikes to the A&P grocery to cash them in and then ride about 2miles to a gas station that had Frostie Root Beer in bottles in a vending machine. So good on a hot Summer day. (Dave Rieman)
This was our spirng, summer, fall and winter.
Even on that dark Saturday, November 12, 1963, there were still empties.