Years Later, These Antique Coca Cola Tray Ladies Still Give Me PTSD
My mom used to have Coca Cola trays like these hanging around our house.
Over the years, I've developed an appreciation for antiques and vintage items. My mom has always good taste in incorporating "old" items into our home that I've always admired. Now that my wife and I have our own home, we've been slowly doing the same with the placement of an antique chair here and an old coffee can there. I really do have a great deal of appreciation for pieces of history from decades past. There's one antique piece that's always creeped me out, however, and I recently had the misfortune of coming across a pair of them in an antique store -- the Coca Cola Ladies.
Growing up, our home had several of the vintage Coca Cola trays (I just called the trays Coca Cola Ladies). For whatever reason, my mom chose to hang them in a bathroom; in fact, at one time she had a Coca Cola-themed bathroom on the main floor complete with Coca Cola decor and even glass bottles for toothbrushes. Two of the trays hung from the wall next to the toilet. As a kid and even through my teenage years, I never felt comfortable using that bathroom because of the Coca Cola ladies -- they had the type of eyes that follow you around and always seem to be watching you, no matter where you are. It was especially eerie when using the toilet, and I often found myself getting stage fright, unable to do my business and only prolonging my time in the bathroom with those creepy ladies. All the while, those soft-drink sipping femme fatales watched me with sly Mona Lisa-like smiles. I honestly get a sick feeling in my stomach thinking about it now.
My wife and I were in an antique store near our house recently when I saw two trays on a top shelf. I immediately froze and got that sick feeling in my stomach again. My mom used to have the very one on the left. While certainly more faded than my mom's was, I have vivid memories of that Coca Cola Lady watching me; I used to wonder what she was thinking as she watched me wash my hands. Mustering my courage, I got close enough for a photo and sent it to my sisters, jokingly asking if I should get them as a Christmas gift for our mom. The answer -- to my relief -- was an adamant "no."
My mom eventually got rid of the Coca Cola Ladies. I don't know where they ended up, and I never asked. Probably, they're in some antique store somewhere, waiting for another poor soul to see them and have a PTSD-ridden flashback.
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