Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Can You Dig It?

In 1962
Before recycling was a word anybody knew
There were these two models,
One quizzical gal lugging multitudes of bottles

The other, all peppy blonde élan
Tossing can after can after steel can
Smilingly, and as a matter of course,
Without even bothering to remove the straws.

Orange soda or grape, or some fruity hybrid quite undrinkable
Whatever came in a can, it was unthinkable
To save it in a box or bag or closet
Because unlike bottles there was no deposit

And Bethlehem Steel encouraged us to toss
Their cans and then buy more and more, of course;
Steel cans made into flotsam and also jetsam*
So folks would run back to the store to get some.

How strange to see them blithely throw away
A bunch of cans and then just go away
But then so much was not yet true
Back in 1962.

*Did you know that flotsam and jetsam are (aside from being terms for odds and ends of stuff) real nautical terms for specific kinds of wreckage? Flotsam is floating wreckage and jetsam is stuff that was thrown or jettisoned off the ship.


Rose said...

I didn't know that about flotsam and jetsam. Interesting! It is strange to think about a time before recycling was common place.

Velma Dinkley said...

I wonder what we're doing that will make future generations cringe? Is "jetsam" related to the verb "jeter"? It probably is, if it's stuff that gets, you know, thrown. I guess.

Lidian said...

Rose - That was just what struck me about this ad - to 21st century eyes, it looks incredibly bizarre.

Velma (I love your name BTW!) - I think it probably is related, that would make sense.

Marcheline said...


yinzerella said...

That there on the bottom right hand of the ad is a hypocycloid, which is one of the coolest things in the world.

DrJulieAnn @ Modern Retro Woman said...

Oh, gosh. I'm remembering how liberated we felt in the 60s when we didn't have to worry about those darn bottles anymore! Although it did take away our ability to cash in the bottles for some candy or ice cream cones.

Confession: I (finally) returned my collection of milk bottles to the store today so that I could use the deposit money to buy a Scharfenberger semi-sweet chocolate bar without feeling guilty. I'd already spent the money on the there weren't any calories in the chocolate, right?

Right? *laugh*

Velma Dinkley said...

@DrJulieAnn: Of course not! In fact, with all the effort involved in taking the bottles to the store, I'd say they were negative calories. Oh, yes.

PS: Thanks, Lidian! Your blog always makes my morning!