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We Loaded Our Baskets

I was born and raised as a country boy in the rural Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. I love the art of writing..


My friend Bill and I rode our bicycles for miles on the Pennsylvania roads. Whether it was to the railroad tracks, Brinker’s bridge for a day of swimming, to the old sand spring, or to Lewis’s Supermarket, we always had fun.

We both had a basket on the handlebars of our bikes and we would often load them up with Coke bottles to take them to Lewis’s to trade them in. All of the bottles then were made of glass. It was years later before the plastic bottles hit the market. All of the glass bottles back in 1958 got us a two cent refund for each bottle. It doesn’t sound like much but it didn’t cost an arm and a leg to buy things in 1958.

With a basket full of Coke bottles we went to Lewis’s and got our money back for our traded in bottles. Two cents each doesn’t sound like much but it gave us enough money to buy some more Coke and a candy bar or two. In 1958, a bottle of Coke was six cents and we could buy a Hershey’s candy bar for five cents. A bottle of Coke and a Hershey bar cost eleven cents. A far cry from what they cost today.

With the money spent, we loaded some more Coke and our candy into the baskets on our bikes. We headed back toward home but made a stop near the stone bridge on Mill Creek. Near the bridge was a huge flat rock that we often stopped at. Bill and I would sit on that rock and talk for hours after we placed our soda in the cold water of Mill Creek. We would sit there, eat our Hershey bars and discuss the problems of the world. When you are only ten years the problems seem pretty minor.

After having our Hershey bars and laying back on the flat rock we would pull a couple of bottles of Coke from the creek and they would be very cold. It was so refreshing on a hot summer day, sipping on a bottle of Coke and watching the cold water of Mill Creek cascade over the rocks. We would look up at the stone bridge and wonder how long it took people to build it. To us then, it was an amazing feat of engineering.

Sometimes we would take a little dip in the cold water of Mill Creek. Even in the hot summer weather the creek was still very cold. I think now of what things cost then. It’s been fifty-seven years ago when I was ten years old that Mill Creek was often a spot Bill and I went to.

The visions come back to me so clear, the bike rides, trading in the Coke bottles, stopping near the stone bridge, chatting with my friend Bill and having a wonderful summer day. Memories like that never go away and I’m so glad they don’t.

The stone bridge crumbled in disrepair in later years and had to be replaced. The beautiful stonework was replaced with concrete. I now live in another state and I haven’t seen my friend Bill in years. I haven’t ridden a bike in years either. Distant memories of the years I loved.

© 2017 Larry W Fish


Yves on August 23, 2020:

What a lovely story. I can picture it all so clearly. I remember when I first learned how to ride a bike, a two wheeler, that is. My grandpa gave me a few tips and off I went. Sometimes I went "kerplunk" but how else does a kid learn?

I'm glad you have so many fond memories of your childhood. Reading about them made me smile and brought up memories of my own.

Larry W Fish (author) from Raleigh on November 21, 2017:

I'm glad you enjoyed my memory of riding my bike everywhere, Shyron. I had great times as a kid and other times not so great as you can read in my Hub, In a Drunken Stupor.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on November 21, 2017:

Larry, I have fond memories also, too bad we have to grow up

I loved being a kid and it sounds like you did also.

Blessings always.

Larry W Fish (author) from Raleigh on November 19, 2017:

I often think of the old days, Linda. I can live without a cell phone, a computer. They are nice, but I think kids of today are missing out on so much.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 18, 2017:

I'm glad I grew up when I did too, Larry. I have fond memories of exploring with my friends both on my bicycle and on foot. I enjoyed the freedom and the ability to choose a destination that I wanted to visit instead of having the destination chosen for me.

Larry W Fish (author) from Raleigh on November 17, 2017:

Thank you for enjoying my story, Mary. Also thank you for sharing a childhood memory of yours. I often think back to when life was so simple. Kids of today should spend more time interacting and less time texting. They are missing out on so much. It is a shame that technology has taken over their lives. I am glad I grew up when I did.

Mary Wickison from Brazil on November 17, 2017:

Such precious memories, thanks for sharing them with us. I am afraid many kids of today will never be given that freedom you had and that is a shame.

Your memories of that cold Coke also triggered my own memories of a little cafe I used to visit as a kid. They kept their soft drinks in the chiller and they had ice inside the bottle. We used to buy peanuts and push them inside the neck of the bottle. It added a nice saltiness to the drink.

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