With Memorial Day Weekend fast approaching, the unofficial start of summer is here. On the farm it sure feels like it with two days of temperatures hovering around 90 degrees. If you grew up around Philadelphia, you know that this the weekend everybody heads "down the shore." I thought I would share a news story from a summer 44 years ago that I recently came across while cleaning out some files.
Ocean City Sentinel, August 16, 1966
Boys find big money in empty Pop bottles
Ocean City – Two young entrepreneurs rocked the Ocean City Returnable Pop Bottle market yesterday by delivering over $80.00 in 2¢ bottle returns to the 9th St. Acme. Brad Smith, 12, and James Carroll, 14, attempted unsuccessfully to redeem their booty at several sites before Smith's mother, Rosalie, was able to negotiate a redemption with Lou Albertson, the manager of the 9th St. Acme.
"I told them this was a one shot deal. I don't know how I am going to get all this glass back to Cliquiot, but she is a good customer and she was pretty intent on making the exchange." said Albertson.
The boys, along with Smith's younger brother, "Corky", and numerous cousins ran an operation that collected empty bottles from beach goers over the summer." We would just walk up and down the beach and pick up the empties. Sometimes we would have to wait for people to finish their sodas, but most of the time they were already done." Smith explained.
"Sometimes we would find those holders at Richard's [a Snack Shop on the beach] and then we could carry more." Carroll added.
Each day Smith and Carroll would haul their daily collection back to the Ocean Roadhouse they shared with their families, aunts, uncles and cousins. The house is owned by Mrs. E. L. Brendlinger. They would store the bottles under the back steps.
"We had to rinse the bottles out back before we put them under the stairs. If we didn't the flies would come around. The frog in the outdoor shower liked that but my mom sure didn't." Smith said.
It seems the boys had tried to redeem the bottles unsuccessfully at several locations.
"The guy at Snip 'n Snack used to take them, but he wouldn't take our big haul. There were too many." Carroll lamented.
"And the guys at the Comic Book Store or the Drug Store didn't ever take them." added Smith "My Mom finally told us to put them in her car and she took us way up to the big Acme and told the guy there to take them."
"Mr. Albertson was nice. I think he understood and appreciated the hard work and dedication the boys put into this. He was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of bottles and the payout, but he was very accommodating." Mrs. Smith said when interviewed on the 2nd floor porch of the Ocean Road house.
"I think this was a great learning experience for the boys. It showed them that hard work and perseverance can really payoff." Oliver Smith, Brad's father said. He was asked for his thoughts after successfully scaling the second floor verandah of the Ocean Road house, a ritual made famous by the uncles who also summered there. "Who knows, this may lead to one of them starting their own business someday."