It was a nickel for milk and I remember our mother struggling to find three of them for us to take to school for when lunch time came. Now I just hope they have nut milks for the children.
We hunted bottles for deposits and were excited to get a dime to spend at the candy store. The girl up the street got a quarter handed to her from her father, who owned a furniture store. She never hunted bottles. She had lots of candy. She got very fat.
The year three new bikes were lined up under the Christmas tree, we were re-convinced Santa was real — because our parents could never have afforded three new and shinny bikes with saddle bags upon their fender racks. That was before any awareness of credit even though the from Santa tickets were really starting to look like Mom’s handwriting. We wanted to believe and she’d just tell us she was helping Santa. She liked to string us along.
Bought clothes cost a LOT, so everything was handmade — except for the girl whose father owned the furniture store who bought her clothes at the People’s Store. It turned out that she envied us. She learned to sew to try to make it up to the children she’d have later.
We rode those bikes all over the neighborhood. There was never any fear of where we’d go. I used to ride alone around a four or five mile square that lined a giant potato field and was below and in front of a hill we called a mountain and never saw a car. I don’t think I even told my mother I was going.
The thing about collecting bottles is that it requires walking or riding a bike and bending and lifting and talking to strangers and risks of looking in and under things and negotiating with the candy store owner and then feeling mighty pleased at all the hard work paying off so well for a brown paper bag full of candy.
It’s too bad that there aren’t deposits any more and there isn’t freedom for children to roam.