A grocery store where I often shop recently started selling vintage soda bottles. This week, I gave these as an early Christmas present for my husband to put up on a shelf in a room in our house that is decorated in a vintage style.
Bubble Up (first bottled in Ohio, 1917) - As an elementary school kid, I had a babysitter who had grown up during the Depression and had stockpiles of random things in her house just in case of another one. I remember the huge case of these stored in her garage. If there had been a second Depression in her lifetime, she would have been ready to face it without the worry of running out of lemon-lime soda. (Hey, if you had lived through the Depression you might do the same.)
Frostie Root Beer (first bottled in Maryland, 1939) - I remember chugging down a foamy, cold can of it back when cans still had pull tab tops in the early 1980s.
Dad's (first bottled in Chicago, 1937) - I remember a friend from high school always had this at her house in the early 1990s and she would let us have one whenever we came over for lunch.
Sometimes when I see the transparent color of sodas - like orange or the blue pictured above - I think of all the times I saw these colors in bottles of soda at the the truck stops or convenience stores I've passed through in my nomadic life. Since I began the Fireflies at Dusk project, I have discovered how much color played a part in my childhood, and in all our Gen X childhoods. Distinct colors bring back distinct memories in the same way an old familiar song comes on the radio and in a moment you are transported to another time and another place. Throughout the project, as I have opened containers of play dough, as I have found old copies of my out-of-print textbooks, and as I have looked back on the food that Gen X ate while growing up, I have seen how these still images in our minds - these images of color and shape - have imprinted themselves on our collective memory.
(c) 2011 photography and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved