Collecting Memories

When I interview folks about their collections and why they pursue particular objects, the answer is usually always the same. They are trying to recapture a memory usually from their youth, a place in time when they were happy or a time that held a special meaning for them.

THE Coca-Cola button…the object of my desire!

For those of you who have read some of my earlier blog entries, you may recall my romance with the ever-elusive antique Coca-Cola button. This was the Coca-Cola button that anchored the restaurant sign that hung outside the Kotis Café…the diner my family owned for nearly 20 years in Pennsylvania. I had salvaged the only existing photograph of the restaurant several years ago and ever since, started combing the east coast for this little treasure.

The family diner…The Kotis Cafe

Summertime always fuels my obsession with the Coke button because it’s the time of year that I spent vacationing at my grandmother’s home in PA. I would spend afternoons hanging out in the kitchen, sitting on a yellow kitchen stool, leaning in on her turquoise Formica countertops, watching her cook and tell me stories such as the Kotis Café story. Spending time with her in the summer was always a happy time, running around the back yard chasing fireflies in the cool evenings with my cousins, Heather and Katie, and sitting in the carport on the big green metal glider, drinking a glass bottle Coke.

Grandma’s metal glider was very similar to this one…

If I were being really “good,” my mom would take me for short walk up the street to Zimmerman’s Nut and Candy Shop (which has been in operation since 1915!) to get a bag of gummy worms or cashew nuts or grandma would let me play some of her old jazz records such as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and my favorite, Billy Holiday.

Zimmerman’s Nut and Candy Shop, Harrisburg, PA

Today, I’m a step-mom to an 11-year-old boy and the summertime is often filled with weekend trips to his grandparent’s house in Lynchburg, VA. We packed up the car for a quick trip two weeks ago…and while we were about to merge onto a road in the middle of no-wheres-ville, VA, I glanced to my left and saw something red and round and rusty, hanging on the side of the building.

Our lovely 24″ Coca-Cola button…leaning up against the Mr.’s antique truck.

“THAT’S IT!!!” I screamed, as I nearly drove us off the highway to turn into a plant nursery parking lot. On the side of this little nursery building was THE Coke button! I parked the car, ran inside and asked the young girl behind the counter how much they wanted for the sign hanging outside. “That ol’ thing? I’ll have to call the owner to find out…” I waited nervously for what seemed like a lifetime for the answer and then she finally spoke…“75 bucks.” Needless to say I was almost in tears as the Mr. pried it off the building with a small hammer as I paid for the antique Coke sign inside.

What a better way to kick-off this summer!

We brought her home later that weekend, buffed her gently with an old t-shirt rag and placed her on a wall inside our family room…where we can admire her faded beauty every day. I couldn’t be happier…

What are your summertime memories? Is there a special treasure that you are hunting for that is tied to your past? If so, tell us about it!

Hey, wanna test your Coca-Cola knowledge…take the quiz!

Copyright 2012. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.

3 thoughts on “Collecting Memories

  1. Hi Erin, Love the blog you posted about your COKE SIGN!! Brings back many sweet memories of family and growing up in PA!!!! Love, Mom

  2. I teared up with joy for you! My equivilant is a vintage stand up radio in my living room. My grandfather repaired them as a hobby, my mom had one in the house growing up, and now I have one too. It makes me so happy to have it around, and I am sure the Coke button will be the same for you.

    • Thanks Maggie! That is awesome about your vintage radio! We hung the Coke sign in our family room, so we can see it everyday. It makes that room feel that much cozier! Thanks for visiting my blog!

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