Dr. Pepper & Peanuts
By Natalie Bright
My kids ask for Dr. Pepper’s during the summer, and I remember craving them just as bad when I was a kid. My grandfather, Pappy, used to take me to the Coop in Lockney, Texas where he’d buy me a “sodi pop” and a handful of peanuts. You had to take a couple of sips before your peanuts would all fit in the thin necked bottle. I always studied the artwork on the bottle and asked him why couldn’t we have one at 10, 2 and 4 everyday?
The memories of our childhood, the tastes, the experiences all influence our stories and add color to our writing. If it has to do with history, I always have to know how and why. Which brings me to the point of this blog: how long has Dr. Pepper been around?
The unique flavor of Dr. Pepper was created and sold beginning in 1885 in Waco, Texas. Dr. Pepper is the oldest manufacturer of soft drink concentrates and syrups in the U.S. It originated at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store by Charles Alderton, a young pharmacist who worked there.
Alderton liked the syrup flavor smells and in his spare time served carbonated drinks at the soda fountain. Keeping a journal, he began experimenting with numerous mixtures until he found the one he liked. Long story short, the store owner loved it, the fountain customers loved it, and its popularity soon spread.
Robert S. Lazenby, a young beverage chemist, also tasted the new drink and along with Morrison, formed a new firm, the Artesian Mfg. & Bottling Company, which later became Dr Pepper Company. They introduced Dr Pepper to almost 20 million people attending the 1904 World’s Fair Exposition in St. Louis. At the same Fair, hamburgers and frankfurters were first served on buns, and the ice cream cone was first served.
So now I’m wondering in my fictitious town of Justice, Texas, 1887, if my main character’s grandfather might buy her a Dr. Pepper? The challenge comes in taking our experiences and applying them to another time and place. That’s the magic of writing.
Did you Know, 23 fruit flavors give Dr Pepper its unique taste?