Yesterday's Magazette

4 – The Five Cent Coke

The Five Cent Coke

By James Van Gundy

It was the third week of the summer of 1943, and my sister and I had been working most of the day getting our chores done. Well, maybe not most of the day, but our mom was apparently pleased with our work, as she gave us a nickel to spend. Now it wasn’t often that you had money to spend back in those days, so we both were just about the most excitable two kids you could imagine.

“Mom, can we go over to the drug store?” I asked. “It’s only three blocks.”

“Okay. But you make sure that you hold your sister’s hand when you cross the street.”

“I won’t forget.”

“Jo, you make sure you hold your brother’s hand, and don’t forget to mind your brother.”

“Oh, I will, I will,” she said, very impatiently.

When we came to the first corner, I said, “Here, take my hand.”

“Do I have to?” she complained. “I’m almost ten years old.”

“I’m twelve years old, and nine year olds have to hold their brother’s hand.”

“Oh, okay,” she said, reluctantly.

We could see the large Rexall Drug store sign down the street, and we were getting even more excited. On the right side of the store; there was a soda fountain with a marble counter top and spigot handles sticking up high. We hastened over to the candy section and started feasting our eyes on everything imaginable. It seemed that everything we wanted cost too much, or one of us didn’t like this or that, so we decided to get some soda pop.

“How much for two Cokes?” I asked the soda attendant.

“Ten cents,” he said.

Disappointment lasted only a minute. I told the attendant, “One Coke, please.”

“One Coke Cola coming right up.”

About a minute later he placed a fountain Coke on the counter, “That will be five cents,” he said, as he placed a straw next to the Coke.

“Could I please have another straw?” I asked.

He reached up and placed another straw on the counter. “Thank you,” we said as we put both straws in the Coke glass and sat there and shared the Coke at the same time.

About this time, two soldiers entered the store, and one of them couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

“I’ve seen this in movies and in magazines, but I’ve never seen this in person until now. Give these two kids another Coke,” he told the attendant as he placed a nickel on the counter, ” but only if they will drink it with two straws.” We felt like it was our lucky day. “Sure, Mister, “I said, and we drank another five-cent Coke, with two straws.

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