As Jason sat in his Boosti seat the other day watching dad unpack the dishwasher, I got to talking about money and milk bottles and was quite surprised at how well I could ramble on about how the humble milk bottle has influenced my life. Of course, Jason is now only “nearly” 5 months old, so he just laughed and smiled as I told stories from my youth.
As a three or perhaps four-year-old, I remember being in between moves from Canberra to the Gold Coast, and we were living in a caravan park. My usual pocket money, perhaps once every 3 or 4 days, was a good old bronze 2 cent piece, with which I would merrily trot up to the parks front office, and hand my hard-earned over for 2 scrumptious (read: full of sugar) milk bottle sweets. It was obviously one of the highlights of those days, as I remember trotting off to the office on a regular basis, ecstatic about my spoils of the day and looking forward to my 5-minute sugar high. I’m sure, being the kid I was, and if I was anything like Jason is now, this would have driven my parents bonkers.
Then a funny thought dawned on me. The 2 cent coin is now non-existent, however what would be the current price for those 2 tiny little milk bottles? I’m assuming, taking into account inflation, the off-shore outsourcing of Australian production to Asian markets, and current commodities pricing, the cost of my two little lollies is now in the vicinity of 10 cents.
Wow. Lucky kid you are Jason. I figure in about 3 years I will be up for between 20 and 30 cents per week to keep this little one happy and dosed up on sweets. Hmm.. I think we’ll save them for when we see mummy pulling up in the drive-way after her day at work.
We moved on to how, when I was a child, Canberra still had glass milk bottles and regular milk deliveries. Basically, you would leave out, say, two empty milk bottles and 40 cents, and your two empties would be replaced by two full milk bottles. Mum used to store the empty milk bottles near the front door, so when you went outside to leave your money for the delivery, you would pick up the empties to take out with you.
Anyway, an enduring memory of the milk bottles was dad racing off down the street, empty milk bottle held aloft above his head, with two panic-stricken Mormon a few metres ahead of him, running for their lives. Apparently the story goes that, on their previous visit to our house, dad had asked them a little more pleasantly never to return. On this occasion, they did never knock on the door again.
It’s sad that in the modern world of big business, big profits and big supermarkets, the need for profits have invariable stripped the new generation of having the same memories that I have of my childhood, no matter how trivial they seem. In this case, Jason will probably never know what a ‘Milko” is. If I were to take a leaf out of my fathers book, all I would have to grab at the front door would be an old shoe or a thong. I don’t see Mormon being as intimidated by a stinky Salomon shoe.
What memories of your childhood are you concerned that your kids will never get to experience? I be there are quite a few.