Archive for February 2012

I was a teenage beer can collector…Part 1

February 3, 2012

Thirty-five years ago today I became a minor celebrity when this article appeared in The Patriot Ledger:


The high school senior stylin’ in his Wrangler Wranch outfit (20% employee discount, who wouldn’t?)

I had been collecting for two years, after my good friend Jim Horrigan introduced me to the hobby and gave me quite a few cans to start me off. Everyone in high school seemed to know us as “The Beer Can Collectors,” and friends and relatives would bring back empties from all over the country for us. We’d often go “dumping” around town; looking for cans in various teenage drinking spots around Dedham. One memorable cache of Narragansett cans from 1964 was found in the woods along the bottom of Sprague Street in the Manor. Another good spot to look was on Rte 135 at Wilson’s Mountain.

The newspaper article came about as a result of an exhibition of my collection in the Dedham Public Library. I’m still a little amazed that my teenaged self had the audicity to suggest displaying the cans, and even more amazed that library officials agreed to do it!


JP’s beer cans on display at the main branch of the Dedham Public Library in 1977

My “museum” was located in the basement of my parents’ house on Tower St., stacked up on two metal bookcases. I kept the stacks in alphabetical order, and whenever I got a new can I would try to insert it into the stack without having to take the whole thing down. This almost always resulted in an avalanche of several hundred metal cans crashing down on me followed by startled shouts from upstarirs.


The stack in the cellar

I would have to say that the most common question I’ve been asked at each of my Dedham High reunions has been “Do you still have your beer cans?” I’ll tell you all about that, and more, in:
I WAS A TEENAGE BEER CAN COLLECTOR- PART TWO!

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