Monday, June 7, 2004

Soda Pop Nostalgia

Lately I have found myself drinking more and more Vanilla Coke. I can't say that I like it better than Coke Classic, but it's not bad. I have to admit that I have always drank a lot of soda. The brand I grew up with was Double Cola. It is a local brand that was based out of Chattanooga, TN, although it seems to be harder to find these days. I seem to recall that Double Cola had a strong taste, to put it lightly. It was much closer to Coca-Cola than Pepsi, although it tasted different from either. Unless I am mistaken, I think Double Cola was the first soda to be manufactured in 12 oz bottles.

Another soda brand I remember is Squirt, which is still available around here. It is a citrus drink, a lot like Mountain Dew, but without the caffeine. I remember that when I was growing up, the bottles featured a blond haired imp called "Little squirt." These days it is manufactured by Dr. Pepper/Seven Up, Inc.

As a kid I didn't get to drink Dr. Pepper or Seven Up very often. I loved Dr. Pepper. I still do. I remember the old bottles used to have a picture of a clock on the bottle. I was always puzzled by that as a kid, although I learned that it was a reminder to "drink a bite to eat at 10, 2 and 4 o'clock (an advertising slogan that apparently ended well before I was born)." Like a lot of sodas, I guess Dr. Pepper had delusions that it was nutritious...

Seven Up was the drink that my parents always got when I was sick to my stomach. I have no idea when the ad campaign began, but it seems as if it has been the "Uncola" since I have been alive. To this day, I still prefer the old Seven Up bottles, with the name "7 Up" in white against a red square, with white bubbles floating about. It seemed to me that it evoked the soda perfectly.

I also preferred the old Mountain Dew bottles. The front depicted a scene of a hillbilly firing either a rifle or a shotgun at another hillbilly. The back featured the picture of a hillbilly who was hoisting a jug with the words "It'll tickle your innards" beneath it. For me the whole hillbilly imagery associated with Mountain Dew back then seemed to fit better with the drink's name than the "extreme sports" image used in its commercials the past few years.

A more obscure soda was Chocolate Soldier. For the entirety of my childhood it was the only chocolate soda I knew. In fact, it was the only chocolate soda I knew until Yoo-Hoo came out. In fact, I recall it tasted like a lot like Yoo-Hoo, only it had more body to it. I remember the bottles had a picture of a "toy soldier" on front in red.

Lately a lot of schools have been removing soda machines from their premises due to the epidemic of obesity in Generation Y. I have to feel sorry for the kids, as I enjoyed drinking soda as a child. It seems to me that they could well be missing out on something enjoyed by my generation, my sister's generation, even my mother's generation. Drinking soda and childhood just seem to go hand in hand to me. It wouldn't be so bad, but I don't think removing soda machines from school will have any impact on obesity in young people. I've drank soda all my life and I have always been rather svelte myself. It seems to me that they could be taking away something that has been a part of childhood for generations for no good reason at all...

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