Over the years, consumers have written to the Company to share their memories and associations with Coca-Cola. I received one of those recollections a few weeks ago from Mike Clement of Charlotte, North Carolina. He wrote about his mother, Carol Oakes Clement, and her lifelong love of Coke. I found the story so moving that I thought that readers of this blog would enjoy it. Here it is in Mike's words:
My Mother's Story
When I was growing up the Coke trucks delivered to our home and to the home
of my Aunt. We lived in Richmond, Virginia at the time and Coca-Cola was
like water in my Scotch-Irish family. I never remember a time when my Mother
did not have a small green glass bottle of Coke with a straw by her side.
And I mean I never remember a time. We had our share of life traumas when I
was growing up but none so memorable as those trying months when "new" Coke
was introduced. My mother and all of my Aunts when on a buying spree of the
old formula and in-fact filled two garage bays at one Aunt's home.
Last year during a trip to Congo with my youngest son, my Mother died at our
home. She was under Hospice care and had lived with us for two years. She
came to our home when my youngest was still in high school and they had
grown very close. My eldest son was here with her when she passed away.
My Mother did not want a funeral but we decided on a small
informal graveside service in the North Carolina town where we had
lived for many years after leaving Richmond.
To celebrate her life, we had a music school trio play some of her favorite
songs. We also had picnic tables set up in the June sun to serve small
bottles of Coca-Cola with little straws. It was the first "on-site"
reception the funeral home could remember. It was my son's idea and it could
not have been a more fitting tribute. Everyone cheered my Mother and
her love of Coca-Cola. Those small green bottles added a great deal of joy tothe lives of those my Mother had touched.
To capstone the occasion, my son had one more idea. As the cemetery workers
began to seal the niche at the columbarium, he slid an open bottle of Coke
with a straw into the site. He told me afterwards and while I had visions of ants carrying away my Mother's ashes...I know she would not have wanted it any other way! Thousands of tiny pall bearers drawn by the sweet enticing taste of Coca-Cola! We have had such fun with this story and she would have enjoyed it very much. She was a steadfast and loyal Coke drinker for over 70 years.
Thanks to Mike for sharing his recollection. I will drink a Coke in her honor.
More on Journey
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- Sitting In and Standing Up: Unsung Heroes of Civil Rights Movement Reflect on Soda Fountain Protests
- A Slice of Coca-Cola History: Beloved Kentucky Bottling Plant Reborn as Mellow Mushroom Pizzeria
- ‘What is Coca-Cola?’ Why the Brand Has Appeared on Jeopardy! 200+ Times
- Ghost Signs Before They Were Ghosts: Preserving a Rare Photo Album for the Coca-Cola Archives