It was easy money. One bottle at a time.

Los Angeles 1952: The start-up.
We were partners in a recycling business. And when I say we I mean my partner Donnie Shorts. My new best friend who moved here to our neighborhood from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. What we did discover early on was that we both needed money. Money is what would enable and fund our social/cultural necessities. Necessities like Donald Duck comic books, Snickers candy bars, and double-bubble bubblegum.
So, we had to come to some decision on how to legitimately obtain money. We were too young and too small to deliver the daily mail or drive a taxi. Our banker and advisor, Joe Miller, of Miller’s Market mention if we could find and collect empty Coke or Pepsi bottles, we could bring them to him and we could redeem them for cash on delivery. Almost like instant money Just like that. Zip-pop-zing.
Because of that challenge made by Mr. Miller, Donnie and I started our collection agency. Collecting the afore mentioned glass beverage bottles and quickly exchanging them for hard cash at Joe Millers market on Olympic Boulevard in East Los Angeles. Find empties and Joe would buy them from us for serious cash. Two-cents for the 12-ounce glass bottles and a full nickel for the quart glass bottles.
Our first challenge was where do we find these bottles of redeemable value. Mr. Miller suggested we go to neighbor’s houses and ask them for their empty Coke and Pepsi glass bottles.
So, the following Saturday morning bright and early Donnie and I along with Donnie’s red Radio flyer wagon the two of us set out about seven-o-clock knocking on doors. But what we discovered was a bunch of sleepy angry people. Doors slammed. Angry words were shouted. One kind lady did however suggest to go around in the back alley where trash cans were and sift through that and maybe we might find empty glass pop bottles. So, we did and it worked. We found full six pack paper cartons of glass Coke bottles. Plus, We found quart Pepsi bottles as well. Then, we continued our search all the way down the alley until our wagon was full and the best thing about this bottle collection thing was, we didn’t have to confront the angry sleepy neighbors. Our new business was working. Donnie and I were becoming successful collection agents. Mr. Miller was our cheerful banker. Donnie and I got what we wanted. Comic books, candy bars, and a half dozen Double-bubble bubblegum’s. What more could a business partnership want? Now tell me.

Published by OkieMan

I come from a family who migrated from the parched red dirt Plaines of southern rural Oklahoma. Migrating to blue collar working class community of East Los Angeles. There is where I was born. I am Mr. Writermelon. I can only write what my grammar and spell checker allows. I am neither profound nor profane. Boy howdy! Send comment to:

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