Saturday, September 20, 2014

A birthday toast

Judy posted the picture. A group of friends celebrating her twelfth birthday in 1959. I couldn't help but smile. Vivian's reddish hair stood up in curls. Mary wore her usual pony tail. In fact, I don't think I ever saw Mary with her hair down. Marilyn was laughing and as pretty as ever. Judy, the birthday girl, had pin curls, and thankfully, my face was hidden by Donna's sweet face. Best friends all through our few years of elementary school. However, it wasn't the face of my friends that caused me to pause. No, it was what we were holding in our hands. A birthday toast with bottles of Pepsi-Cola. Pepsi-Cola in the round bottle with the square label on the front. Confession: I loved Pepsi. Still do.

I might be getting up there in years, but Pepsi-Cola was around before my time.  Caleb Davis Bradham from Chinquapin, North Carolina, was a teacher turned drug store owner. His drug store was on the corner of Middle and Pollock Streets in New Bern. Like many of the drug stores back then he had a soda fountain. It was in 1893 that Brad's Drink was first blended. In 1898 he renamed is drink Pepsi-Cola. The Pepsi-Cola Company was launched out of the pharmacy backroom where it took off, and in 1902, the company was incorporated in the state of North Carolina. Now it is interesting that on June 16, 1903, Pepsi was officially registered with the US Patent Office. Of course, it is probably only interesting to me since my birthday is June 16....not 1903.

When I first began drinking Pepsi-Cola, it had a square label on a round bottle. I liked the 'P' on the Pepsi and copied it when I signed my name. We loved Pepsi-Cola at our house. On grocery runs, Dad would pick up an entire case of Pepsi-Cola with the bottles lined up in their own little section in the wooden box. Those boxes now hang on walls or sit in the corners of antique lovers' homes. We certainly helped the environment every time we returned the wooden box and empty bottles to the store then picked up the next round. Didn't even need a deposit back then.

When I was in high school, the bottle changed. A new, more contemporary design chased the round bottles away. The bottle now swirled and the name was shorted to Pepsi. I kept the 'P' but lost interest in drinking the beverage. I think perhaps it tasted better in the old bottles. Maybe it was better because it came home in a wooden box and not a cardboard holder. Perhaps with my sister gone from home and me looking to my future, the family nights of Pepsi-Cola and popcorn had changed.

The old Pepsi-Cola bottle, the wooden box and the memories of a once twelve-year-old girl.

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