The Manchester Enterprise: A Boy's Memories Bits of Clay

Getting Ready For Fall

 

With the falling of the mercury this week my thoughts return to when I was a small boy and the things my parents did as they prepared for another winter.

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The best vacation ever

There are only a handful of vacations I can remember from my childhood. That’s partly because we didn’t get to take very many. Our first, of only two I can remember as a child, was a trip to the Smoky Mountain National Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

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The game of marbles

With the aim of a marksman, the speed of a bullet, and the skill of a craftsman, yours truly was sort of a legend in the game of marbles as a young boy. Back then it was a game played by all from age 5 to 50, boys and girls, and even men and women. But we called the game “marvels”.

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My first (paying) job

     Kennedy was President and Mt. Dew hadn’t been introduced yet. It was 1963 when my brother Ronnie and me, got our first job. It wasn’t a glamorous job but it was a paying one. Dad had got us a job with the Pepsi and Coke truck drivers at Dobson and we would sort pop bottles for 2 cents a case. Today, that don’t seem like a lot of money but you have to remember, it was 1963.
     Back then all pop was sold in 10 or 12 ounce glass bottles. That was before pop came in the aluminum cans, plastic 16-ounce and plastic 2 liter bottles. The big 16-ounce bottles would come a little later after Mr. Cola introduced them and then, the other companies followed not long after.
     Dobson’s was ‘the store’ that did most of the business and they moved a lot of pop. The Pepsi Cola route manager once told Dad that Clay County was #1 in the whole USA in sells, in relation to the population.
     My Aunt Bootie was the first person I had seen drink Pepsi for breakfast. Most everyone else drank coffee and all of us thought it was a little strange. But today I must admit, I drink it for breakfast too.
     My wife even thinks she is addicted to the Diet Pepsi. She drinks almost a 12 pack a day and if she runs out, she gets really nervous. I told the doctors once when she was in the hospital, “…You need to put Diet Pepsi in Margy’s I.V. and she’ll get better quicker!” Everyone laughed but it was true, she has to have her Diet Pepsi.
     Most people here in Clay County would have to agree, I believe more pop is consumed here than water. And by the number of pop bottles we sorted each week it really showed. But the more bottles, the more money for my brother and me.
     Mom would drive us to Dobson’s on Friday evening after school and we would work until closing and ride home with Dad. Then, on Saturday morning we would ride to work with Dad and work until we were finished, which was usually most of the day. With the 2 cents for each case came a little fringe benefit of the job, we got to keep all of the “odd” bottles.
     Now, I know I will have to explain a little further on the term “odd” bottles. I’m not talking about the numbers of 3,6,9,and 11, what I’m talking about is the bottles of the companies that Dobson’s didn’t accept.
     Back then, there were more brands of pop than you could ever imagine. Some of the names were Cumberland Valley, Grapette, Nehi, Crush, Brownie, Day’s, Squirt, NuGrape, Red Rock, Sun Drop and even 7up were considered “odd” bottles.
     When the customers would bring in their return bottles, no one checked the empties real close to see if the bottles were the ones that were sold at Dobson’s so, we got to keep all of them to sell to the stores who did sell them. Dr. Pepper and 7up both were separate companies to themselves. Today, they are sold through the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company at Corbin.
     Let me explain a little more about our job of sorting of the bottles. We would get the paper cartons of six that were returned to the store for deposit and make sure all of the Pepsi, Coke, and RC Cola bottles were in their own wooden cases. After completing a case of one brand, the bottles were then stacked 5 high together by brand to be picked up by the truck driver. Ever stack of 5 cases of 24, meant a nickel apiece in our pockets. But if we broke a good bottle, we had to pay a penny to the store for that. So we were real careful with our bottles.
     Sometimes on a weekend, we would sort over 300 cases of empty bottles. Whenever the truck driver picked up his bottles he would leave 2 cents for every case we sorted with Dad. Most times we would have about $3.00 each for a day and a half work.
     Then at the end of the day, we gathered up all of the “odd” bottles and loaded them into Dad’s trunk of his car to take to Lettie’s Tiger Grill at Sibert or to Theo Hibbard’s at Pennington Hill. Some weeks, we would have somewhere from100 to 200 of them to sell to the little stores that sold the “odd” brands at a penny each.  That would mean an extra dollar each also, pretty good money for a couple of young boys in the early 60’s. We felt like millionaires.
     I’ll have to say, Dad brought our family up right. “You earn your way by the sweat of your brow.” and “A little hard work never hurt nobody!” were two of the ‘Miller Laws’ he always preached. He also said, “Any job worth doing, is worth doing right.” Those sayings still holds true today but it seems too many people have forgotten them.
     “Nothing is free. But with hard work, you can have anything you want.” Dad often said.
     After my pop bottle job, I moved up to sweeper. And what kind of a job was that, you might ask? Well, exactly what it sounds like, I cleaned up the parking lot a Dobson’s by sweeping it with a broom. That job paid $5.00 a week. A pretty good ‘pay raise’ even if I do say so myself.
     Yep, I started working when I was just a young boy and I’ve been working ever since. For that, I thank my Father who did the same.

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Hot-wiring a hot rod

      Being from a family of five boys and two girls, each one of us had our special way of learning to drive. When Jackie, my sister, was just a baby, Dad would let her sit in his lap and let her steer the car most of the way up Paw Paw. Gary, my oldest brother, learn to drive not long after he could walk.

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Page 2 of 25

e-Edition A-Section 8-28-14

ME.A-1

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e-Edition B-Section 8-28-14

ME.B-1

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