Sunday, April 10, 2011

Relieve Fatigue--Open Happiness!

Lafayette is kind of a living history museum.  There's all sorts of relics lying around, some living, some not so much.  I remember the sign above from very early childhood.  I took this photo standing in a vacant lot beside the building with the sign.  When I was a little kid there was an old, old fire station there where the vacant lot is now.  It still had the brass pole that the firemen slid down.  It had an ancient engine with brass headlights and a real dalmatian dog, too.  The city's fire department kept it running so they'd have a place to put the Geezer Fire Guys who simply wouldn't retire.  Some of them had worked on steam driven fire pumping equipment.  My Dad took me there all the time so I could pet the dog and look at all the gleaming brass and other fascinating things.  Well, the fire station and the dog and the brass pole are gone but the old Coke sign remains--a mute testimony to a past when Coke was THE energy drink of choice.
One of our main entertainments when I was a kid here was inside the Coke building--the very one in this photo.  They set up the bottling line so it was visible through those windows you see.  Empty bottles would come flying out of nowhere and twirl around a couple if strange looking circular things and disappear almost as fast as they appeared.  This was back in the days when each city had its own bottling plant and all Coke bottles has the city name molded into the bottle bottoms.  Each city was right proud of their own Coke.  We sure were in Lafayatte.  We thought our Coke tasted a lot better than Kokomo Coke and a LOT better than Indianapolis Coke.  We would sit in the car for an hour or more just watching the Coke bottles get filled.  it was great entertainment and made me wonder where those bottles came from.  It was all so magical back then.
Well, Coke will be with us for all time, I suppose, it's surely not going anywhere, even if high fructose corn syrup ruined it forever.  Who knows how many marketing mottos Coke has had since Day One.  Now, the city is plastered with these billboards urging you to "Open Happiness" by slurping down yet another Coke.  Somehow, seeing Coke billboards always makes me think of the old one up above and the Ghost Bottling Plant, too.  Oh, well, that's tonight's nostalgia.  Many Cheers, jp


Marti Spudboater said...

Wow, Lafayette must be a lot like Springfield, Illinois, where I lived until I was 12. The Coca Cola bottling plant was just two or three blocks from my house, and I had the same fascination as you did. I loved going there and standing outside and watching the bottles come out of the washer on the big wheel and then see them filling them. Back in the days when no one thought about recycling. You just did it. Old is good, when it comes to common sense things. Why is there such a shortage of that these days. How big is Lafayette now? Springfield, even though it's the Capital of Illinois is only about 120,000. Decatur where we moved to is only 75,000 now.

Wayne Ranney said...

John - I only hope that we both live long enough that I can travel to Lafayette with you for a tour. It sounds nostalgic and weird in the best possible way. For historians like you and me, this looks grand! Thank you for sharing and please keep this honest request in mind.

The Goatherder said...

That sign must go all the way back to when Coca Cola still contained the "real thing".