How many of us busted our asses with these??? And how many lost the key in the first week? (Raising hand over here to both)

This old cooler is another one- It probably dates to the late 50s-early 60s, and held bottles in the ‘racks’, and used chilled water to cool the cokes, which cost .06 cents.


In the middle of the summer, we would ‘skate’ down the road to the drugstore that was a couple of blocks away, and for less than a quarter get a Coke and a bag of peanuts (actually, I think for less than .20 cents, if I remember right). Once we’d cooled off, we would either skate back home or go to somebody else’s house, and end up walking home just before dark.

We were ‘free range’ kids in more ways than one, but I don’t ever remember us having any trouble other than getting our butts beat for coming home late for dinner. Now days, if you aren’t standing over your kids watching them from FEET away, apparently you get CPS called on your ass.


TBT… — 35 Comments

  1. Didn’t quite bust my butt, but had a couple mild sprains, lots of scrapes, and jammed wrists or fingers from those skates. Lots of fun, until your feet got bigger and dad had to reset the skates because you weren’t getting the wrench. Then came the original skateboard, with some screws and a piece of board …

  2. Never did get the hang of skates, after numerous encounters with the pavement, I switched to a bike. Otherwise, heck yeah.

    • +1 except we didn’t have a paved driveway, we had a dirt driveway, so skating on roller skates was tough. A bike was much easier. I did have a scooter for quite a while and had lots of fun on that, before I got a bike.

    • +1 except that since we didn’t have a paved driveway, had a dirt one instead, roller skating was tough. Had a scooter I used for quite a while until I got a bike. The bike worked great on the driveway.

  3. Yep, and free air for bicycles at the corner gas station.

  4. During a visit, Granddad took me to town in his red and white F100. He stopped at a little store and I got to wrangle the grape soda out of that maze. It was so cold, it hurt to drink. Southwest OK was a lot more humid than Lubbock. That cold coke was amazing… One of my most cherished memories…

    • Where you from STxAR – I grew up in Hobart. I am Old Guy living in Texas now, I remember five and ten cent drinks at the drugstore and 15 cent movies about Cowboys on Saturday and the movie show.

  5. I remember the machines where you opened the door and pulled out a soda that was lying on it’s side. Never had roller skates, but I did ice skate because Connecticut!

  6. Winchester skates for yours truly. I was told and followed the advice to tie the key around my neck with string.

    Too many scrapes and bruised to count and, of course, it did not help our street was a steep incline.

  7. I would ride my bike for miles searching the side of the road for bottles which I would then turn in to the local store for a few pennies deposit. I was then able to buy some candy or gum.

  8. Had the skates but never really mastered them. I do recall the chest cooler with the pop in the water as well the style Mrs. Crankipants mentioned. I recall that they had machines of that style(the laying on their side variety) when I was stationed in Germany in ’71 only they held beer instead of pop. Most civilized.

  9. Oh yes. I don’t think the skates are still around here… might be. A couple of sleds, though, in very good condition (all things considered…). And once we got bikes, the world was ours…

  10. We remember what they say about the past being a different country. Just the same, sometimes I think it would be a nice place to settle down. Okay, maybe not. But still …

  11. When I was a kid, Cokes were a 10 cents and peanuts a nickel I think.

  12. All- Thanks for the comments, and searching for bottles reminded me of another memory… We used to do the same thing once we had bikes. Twenty-five bottles would get you a box of .22 at the same drugstore. Tie the .22 on the handlebars and off we went. I literally shot out a little Crack Shot .22, I fired so many rounds through it. 🙂

    Posted from my iPhone.

  13. Remember endless fiddling with the skate key and a deep, abiding envy of the rich kid in the neighborhood who had shoe skates because her parents could afford to buy her a new pair every year.

    And the worst trouble I ever got into through walking home alone was the time a woman drove up beside my cousin and me and asked us if we would like to have a couple of dear little kittens. You can imagine our parents’ reaction when we brought our new acquisitions home.

  14. Yup, lost skate keys, skinned knees, home when Dad drove in the driveway for dinner, back in when the street lights came on, hunting pop bottles for spending money. Ice cream cone was a nickel at Peter Pan, candy bars a nickel, penny candy at TG&Y. A&W was on the way home from the doctor’s office, so you didn’t mind going.

    Today’s kids are missing out on a lot!

  15. I had several pairs but mom make me stop skating because the clamps on the front kept ripping the soles off my shoes and she had to pay to have them repaired. So I took the skates apart and nailed them to boards and made a skate board. And I remember those old coolers, too. We had one on the front of Johnny’s Store and the honor system was used. I also spent 15 years running routs with the Atlanta CocaCols Bottling Co. from 65 to 80 and saw many of them on the beating paths of rural GA.

  16. Damn Jim, Reading all the comments and looking at the pictures, is making me “Home sick” and I’m still living in the same house I grew up in! Except for that little hiatus of 20 years in the Canoe Club. And this will be where I expire.

    There was one place on the Island that had one of those soda coolers, before we even had an electric refrigerator and we’d go in there and just put our hands in the cold water; wow cold water with NO ice, Amazing!.

    None of those skates for us ’cause there was no place to use them.

  17. I ruined more than one pair of shows cranking those things down too tight and if you lost the key you could use a pair of pliers.

  18. Nobody has mentioned “shagging”, grabbing a tailfin and letting the car pull you, or a bicycle.
    My neighbor owned a gas station where I learned to wrench as a child. Also how to go to the coke cooler to get him a beer.

  19. 5 cent cokes at the church activity building and 5 cent Dr Peppers at the city bus maintenance shop. Turn in the bottles at Kanables market for red liquorish.

  20. All- Thank you for the comments! I’m glad I’m not the only old fart that remembers those days…LOL

    Posted from my iPhone.

  21. You are far from being the only Old Fart with those memories. Many of the gas stations in N. central Texas had the old coolers – and it was sometimes a challenge to get the bottles through the maze to the exit gate, and you best make sure you pulled the bottle up without loosing your grip else you might lose it back into the machine. Our barber, Mr. O’Neil, had one of those types, on Inwood Road right off of Lovers Lane in what was then north Dallas (and why did I just remember his name while thinking of that drink machine?) And yes, we were free range kids, riding our bikes all over the neighborhood and beyond… too many do-gooders have ruined childhood for today’s kids!

  22. Yep, like Coffeypot, I ripped the soles off several sets of shoes. Prohibited from more of that, I resorted to wearing my Keds (remember those?) and quickly learned that the skate key couldn’t turn enough pressure on the skate to bend and grip those Keds soles. Busted my butt a few times trying to disprove that!

    • Bob, that problem is why skateboards became popular. The better versions had a rounded end for the front. An uncle made up a few of them for us kids. Close to his house was a downhill street that crossed his street, and it continued into the entrance of the swimming club parking lot. All of it downhill, except for the crossing street. Evening was best, because those steel wheels left a nice trail of sparks while drifting during turns. At speed they didn’t have much traction, so sliding was normal.

  23. My father (b.1925) had a version of those skates with wood wheels for indoor rinks. The rear was flat, with a lever turning a large dzus fastener that was intended to match an insert installed in the heel of a pair of dress shoes. Apparently they were intended for people who worked at the rinks, so they could be on or off skates in seconds, according to my dad.
    My father used his to chase girls (he didn’t work there). There was a dance hall next door to the rink (South Philly), and you had to walk through part of the rink front end to access the dance hall. He had a cubbyhole near the dance entrance to hide his skates, so he was faster getting to a new girl than the other guys with regular boot skates. He was good on both wheels and blades.
    I refurbed his skates for him maybe ten years before he died, but they didn’t show up at his place when I looked for them. The matching shoes weren’t there, either. I’ve never seen another set like that.

  24. I had more than one pair of those ankle breakers right up until I got my first skateboard which was made out of wood, barely wide and long enough for both feet to fit on, and had the same damned wheels as those skates. I honestly think they were designed by doctors to help increase their business.

    As for the the Coke cooler, my grandmother had one in her beauty shop. I remember that it had a little metal tray hanging just under the lid where you would put your (at this time) $.25. Complete honor system. (She never made kids pay for a Coke either.) She also had a big glass jar with packages of Tom’s snacks, usually some peanuts and/or some cheese and peanut butter crackers. She was the first to show me the joys of salted peanuts in a glass bottle of Coke, and yes, Coke in glass tastes different.

  25. We had no place to skate on the farm. We had shoe skates and got to skate for a small fee in one of the buildings with a cement floor at the fairgrounds. Talk about bruises… try repeated falls on a cement floor. Never broke a bone, yet and I aim to keep it that way…
    There was one of those soda coolers in the big shop where the guys worked on the farm equipment. If we got all our chores done in a timely fashion and it was really hot out, occasionally one of the farm mechanics would get us a soda. The best diesel mechanic ever… loved cream soda, so no one else would drink them, unless he offered you one.

  26. I learned, very quickly, that strapping wheels to my feet was a recipe for disaster. After I don’t know how many hours of practice, it got better, if better can be described as resembling an impending disaster.