Lee Goldberg recently mentioned "Caffeine Free Diet-Rite Cola." When he was 15 years old, this product had a different name: "RC 1000" Yes, that was a stupid name for it, as "1000" didn’t reveal much about the product’s features or benefits. It was test marketed under that name in Washington State when Britt, baby Anea and I were living in Woodinville, Washington, and I purchased a sixteen ounce bottle at Zip’s Market on the Woodinville-Duvall Road. I have always had a soft spot in my stomach lining for RC.
Royal Crown Cola was always innovative. Back in the "real old days," Royal Crown was "The King of Colas," and it was caffeine free. By the time I drank RC from glass bottles, ice cold from Duff’s Creamery on Alder Street in Walla Walla, it had caffeine again. Maybe I preferred RC for the same reason people gravitate towards Dr. Pepper — most people drank Coke or Pepsi, so swigging RC made you "different." Then again, so did being excused from school for Yom Kippur.
The other soft drinks that we guzzled with glee were from the same company that created Royal Crown Cola — NEHI. There was NEHI Grape, of course. NEHI just about everything.
Notice that gas was 17 cents, not $3.17. When my sister Janice would have me plead "Mercy" for my dad to give her the keys to the car so she could take me to the A&W Root Beer stand on East Isaac’s, a gallon of gas was only 7 cents more than a Poppa Size Mug (LARGE) of Root Beer. Amazing the things that come to mind at 4:50 am. I can see so clearly my brother, Stan, proudly washing his recently painted 1954 Buick. It had been green, but Stan customized it to glorious black and white. That made sense — Stan is color blind. The ’54 Buick was a wonderful family car. If you didn’t have a family, there was enough room in the back seat to start one.
And when it came to cream soda, it had to be Nesbitt’s Cream Soda in a glass bottle. There were some strange brands to which we became attached — DOUBLE-COLA at Loon Lake was one of my favorites, too. In fact, the only place I ever had DOUBLE COLA was Loon Lake. The last time I was there, they still had the DOUBLE COLA sign on the door to the store’s little "cafe." Don’t bother asking for one, expecting it to be served with your JUICY-RAY Beef Sandwich — meat kept horrifically overcooked by infrared heat lamps, ’cause neither is available. I just tell myself they are on back order, and will arrive the same day that the ROYAL FLASH pinball machine is repaired and the songs change on the jukebox.