single frame: Green River

Green River

Green River
Canon PowerShot S95

Green River is a very sweet lime soda. It’s like liquid, carbonated lime Jell-O. It turns your tongue green.

When I was a boy I lived near a five and dime with a gleaming stainless steel soda fountain. I would ride over there on hot summer afternoons to enjoy the air conditioning, shop for stuff I didn’t really need, and enjoy a treat at the soda fountain.

They made their sodas by squirting the syrup into the bottom of a glass and filling it the rest of the way with carbonated water. Real old school. My brother always ordered a root beer, double strength. I did that sometimes, and whenever I could afford it I’d order a chocolate malt. But most of the time I’d sit down to a Green River. It was the only place in South Bend I knew I could get one. Even then it was a brand from days gone by. It’s cool that it’s managed to survive.


15 responses to “single frame: Green River”

  1. J P Cavanaugh Avatar

    Wow, I had never heard of this stuff. Your description doesn’t make me want to try it, either. But then I always hated lime Jell-O.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I love lime-flavored things! Lime Jell-O and lime Kool-Aid were favorites when I was a kid.

    2. tbm3fan Avatar

      I’m with you along with the fact that I never liked Jello to begin with. I can’t remember if I tried it once in my life or never tried it since it didn’t look attractive to me. Now chocolate pudding is another thing…yummy.

      1. J P Cavanaugh Avatar

        Perhaps the description hit a bad nerve with me because my mother used to serve me “Jello water” when I was sick as a kid. It was Jello that was kept room temp so as not to jell. Gad but that thick, sickly sweet liquid came rushing back to the taste buds in my memory when I read this. And no, I did not inflict this horror onto my own children.

      2. Jim Grey Avatar

        Mmmmm, chocolate pudding!

      3. Steve Miller Avatar
        Steve Miller

        Nice for strong hooves, er, fingernails.

  2. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    I grew up in Chicago, until about 10, and then Milwaukee after. We never had Green River in Milwaukee, and I don’t remember it as a kid in Chicago, but when I moved back to Chicago for work, most people my age really remembered drinking a lot of it! It’s been considered a Chicago “thing” like the “Chicago Dog”. I guess it’s been around since 1919, brewed by the Schoenhofen brewery in Chicago, but for the life of me, I never remember it as a kid there.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Isn’t that odd! Maybe you just didn’t run in Green River circles.

      1. Steve Miller Avatar
        Steve Miller

        I connect it with Evansville, which also has a Green River Mall on — get this! — Green River Road. Another beverage hit in E’ville is Ski, which is what Mountain Dew should be.

  3. Nancy Stewart Avatar
    Nancy Stewart

    I sat at that same counter Jim. Only I would order a vanilla phosfate, It was a nice little neighborhood store.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That store is a great childhood memory for me!

  4. Bill Bussell Avatar
    Bill Bussell

    It is a Chicago thing. I recall vending machines in the 50’s (my childhood) in the subways that dispensed Green River in a paper cup. There were other soda choices as well. I bought Green River in cans when I attended a course at the Professional Photograpghers School (PPA). I brought it home, and my children thought it was great.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m just old enough to remember the last of those paper-cup soda dispensers! You got about five swallows, if I remember right. I also remember the machines that dispensed bottles and had bottle openers in them. The barber shop my dad used to take me to had one that opened like a chest freezer, and you snaked your soda through it to the exit.

      1. Steve Miller Avatar
        Steve Miller

        Better than the “coffee” machines, anyway. How’s that for damning with faint praise? Last place I worked had one of these, but at least it was free, hot, and wet.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          I’ve been known not to drink the company-supplied coffee when it’s crappy enough.

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