Soft Drinks in the '60s
Fresh out of the cooler, icy cold and dripping wet from sitting in ice water was the best way to have a bottle of pop on a hot day. Crack that cap with the opener mounted in front, and watch the cool mist drift up from the bottle. The first drink was sensational. Every flavor was perfect, but I preferred grape. There was a gas station not too far away that had this type of old cooler. It was there under blue skies, smelling hot concrete, gasoline and oily rags that I could hear the ding hose as a car drove over it. My job was to put air in my bike tires. From nine year-old eyes the world seemed managable. When all else failed it was best to just have an ice cold bottle of pop dripping wet from the cooler.
Thinking back on the old pop machines and coolers , I recall vividly the feeling of dropping coins into the slot, then opening the door, or cooler lid to retrieve an ice cold bottle of something wonderful.
Next came the popping of the cap; You put the bottle up to the opener, pull down, then listen for that distinctive hiss of air, followed by the sound of the metal cap as it rolled around the metal catcher. The bottle was usually dripping wet from condensation, a wonderful addition to a hot summer day.
Naturally, I'm referring to the days when you could actually buy a bottle of pop for 10 cents. One of my favorite flavors was NEHI Grape. The fruity flavors appealed to me the most and I usually stayed faithful to grape and strawberry Among the greats were: 7up, Squirt, Hires, Bireley's, Canda Dry, Dr. Pepper, RC Cola, White Rock (which came in various flavors), and the most wonderful Dad's Root Beer.And who besides me thought that the illustration of the Dad's "Papa Size" guy looked like the devil?
There were also newcomers to our neighborhood: Orange Crush (Which also came in grape and strawberry flavors), Mug Old Fashioned Root Beer, Mountain Dew, Simba and Fresca. In my opinion, Dew and Fresca were indentical in taste, with Simba being a close second. The hero of them all though was Shasta in cans.
Mug Root Beer was great when it hit the scene because it came in the "stubby" bottles that looked exactly like beer bottles. We all held the bottles with the labels turned around backward so it looked like we were drinking beer.
Shasta offered more flavors, and the stores usually had them all. Shasta also had my favorite flavor: "Tiki Punch". We actually had to open cans and bottles ourselves using a "church key", a handy can-bottle opener usually found in mom's silverware drawer along with the potato peeler.