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Whether in cans or bottles, pop is still a treat

October 19, 2012
By Karen Wils , Daily Press

ESCANABA - Pop! That word was music to my young years.

Pop was the ultimate taste tantalizing beverage treat that we had occasionally as children.

Today pop machines are everywhere. Soda pop with every meal is common. There is not a one of us that couldn't recite or recall a Coke or 7 Up commercial.

Article Photos

Karen Wils photos

Who remembers when pop bottles needed a special opener to remove?

When I was in grade school, pop was a very special treat. To actually have a whole glass bottle of pop was so teenager-like. About twice a summer, Dad took our whole family (usually after my brother Mike's baseball games) to the drive in A&W root beer place on Main Street. I can still feel those heavy, frosty glass mugs. We drank slowly, savoring every sip before placing the empty mug on the nifty wire tray attached to the driver's window.

Mom bought pop only for special occasions. It was a hot summer time treat at camp on Sunday and a 4th of July drink, too. Do you remember Grand Grafts, Shasta, and Jolly Good brands of soda? These were often "kid pop" when they were on sale at local stores.

Try to explain to your grandkids, that years ago you had to have a bottle opener to remove the caps. And for pop in a can, you had to use an opener to actually cut triangle shaped openings in two places on the lid to get the soda to flow out.

From thick glass bottles and heavy-gauge metal cans to pull tabs and plastic liters of pop, the soft drink bottling business has been through many changes.

Some places (South of here) call pop "soda." Here in the U.P. any carbonated soft drink is called "pop." Michigan is, of course, the birth place of the oldest surviving fizzy soft drink in the United States - Vernors Ginger Ale.

James Vernor, a Detroit pharmacist created his type of ale in a forgotten wooden keg in 1866.

The earliest soft drinks were made from mineral waters found in natural springs. It was thought to be healthy and healing to drink the bubbles in mineral water. It was first referred to as "soda water" in 1798. In 1819, the soda fountain was patented. Out west, Sarsaparilla made from the roots of plants was popular in the 19th century.

Coca-Cola was invented by Dr. John Pemberton in 1886. The first diet or low-cal soft drink was created in 1952.

Over the years we have learned that too much pop is not a good thing for our teeth, waistline or health in general. Bottled water is taking over in popularity.

When we were youngsters, we used to head out early in the morning to the places where the teenagers gathered. Any pop bottles left behind were ours for two cents worth of candy. Some things never go out of style. We still collect all pop cans and bottles to be redeemed for the Boy Scout Troop or the class trip.

As we grew into our teen years, my Mom often made pizza on Saturday nights. We got a pop with our pizza - the biggest treat in the world. I hope you have a wonderful pop and pizza weekend.


Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong north Escanaba resident. Her folksy columns appear weekly in Lifestyles.



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