My fathers income in Potlatch provided the basic needs of our family, but we didn’t have much left for items not really needed. This was true of most of the families in Potlatch. As children we accepted what we had and were content to live with it. We had a good home, clean living conditions, adequate clothing, and plenty of meat and potatoes at meal time. Homemade bread, cakes, pies, and an occasional pot of popcorn with real butter provided additions to our regular meals. Life was good.
My parents allowed me a considerable amount of freedom while growing up. There were certain rules to follow, but not many restrictions. If you used bad judgement or broke the rules you accepted your punishment, got over it, and moved on. As a nine year old it was not uncommon for me to go several miles from home and be gone most of the day.
One of my favorite memories of Potlatch was visiting a small gas station and general store a couple miles out of town. These visits were every few weeks when there was no snow on the ground. My route to the gas station was along a paved road. Walking the ditches and sides of the road while collecting soft drink bottles was a means to earn money. If my trips were too close together there would be fewer bottles. The gentleman who owned the store was very friendly and always greeted me with a smile. His wood stove always provided some welcome warmth when the weather was cold.
My buying habit at the store never changed. My favorite candy was a Mountain Bar. This candy bar originated in 1915 and was named Mountain Bar in 1925. It’s made in the shape of a rounded mountain of tempered chocolate with crushed peanuts. The center is a fondant vanilla. Mountain Bar was made by Brown and Haley Inc. in Tacoma Washington. (They are still made today at a rate of 592 a minute) When my Mountain Bar was paid for the next item was a Royal Crown Cola. If the bottle picking was good my budget could afford both. If only one item was affordable it was my Mountain Bar.
The leisurely walks home while enjoying a Mountain Bar and Royal Crown Cola really made my day. Every bite of Mountain Bar was savored to the end. It was even more special because it would be another several weeks before the ditches collected enough bottles for me to return again. Making the purchase with my own earnings made them even more precious.
Today my memories of Mountain Bars still bring a contented smile…….but the Mountain has been replaced by a Dark Milky Way.