Sibling Assignment #64: A Jug of Cold Root Beer

I gave the sibling assignment this week: " Taking in the strong fragrance of lilacs today reminded me of Spokane ' The Lilac City'. Write about a memorable time from childhood that was spent in Spokane. " You will find Raymond Pert's here and Silver Valley Girl's here.

There were many memorable times in Spokane growing up. Grandma Woolum lived there and we took frequent trips from Kellogg to stay at her house. I recalled memories of Northtown before it was enclosed, shopping at the ValuMart on Francis before it was Fred Meyer, and bowling around the corner on Division. I also remembered the A&W Root Beer stand on Hamilton. Every time we headed up the hill after passing Gonzaga I spotted that root beer stand, the landmark that we were close to Grandma's. I always hoped some time during our visit we would get to drive down with Mom and pick up a gallon of frosty, cold root beer. I don't remember eating at the A&W as much as I remember getting the root beer to go. Back then you couldn't buy this brand of root beer in the store, so it was a special treat to get in while in Spokane. I think we also made root beer floats with the Darigold ice cream Grandma kept in the freezer on hot, muggy days in August.I have a memory of saving the gallon jug and Grandma would have it waiting on the floor by the washing machine when we came back another time because I think you got a discount if you returned with a jug. Was there also some wooden tokens with the logo on them?It seems like we drank that whole gallon while it was cold because there was never room in the frig to hold it. I like remembering these rituals that repeated themselves in my childhood. There was comfort knowing the jug would be there and we could once again enjoy that cold, tasty root beer when Mom would drive down to the drive-in.

Later the A& W lost it's novelty when more restaurants cropped up and when the root beer was available in stores. At the age of ten it was a special treat and something we looked forward to. We didn't have the fancy mugs, but it didn't seem to matter that we drank it out of Grandma's Libby glassware.

When I head north on Hamilton today I always glance over there at that building when I head up to Bridgeport as Hamilton turns to Nevada. It has been a few different cafes since the A&W closed. I can still taste that cold root beer.


  1. Hi,
    I saw your blog and thought I'd write to you about a group on yahoo who has
    been studying the history of the Woolum family.
    Your welcome to check us out, we've been around for 10 years now and we have
    covered alot of family history.

    Thanks for reading and have a great day,


  2. Wow, did this post bring back memories! We had to cross the highway to get to our A&W and it became a rite of passage when we were old enough.
    Stop by for a visit, you've been tagged :O)

  3. A&W root beer was the best! I never lived in Spokane but we had our own little A&W drive in. I used to love to go there and get those frosted mugs of root beer. Gee I miss all of that..... Nice post!

  4. what a treat it was to stop in downtown Auburn (when I was a little one) and get a frosted mug. And they brought it out to our car.
    We had to drink it there because the mugs were glass --

    You really sparked my fizzy memory. (And how about a root beer float which my mom called a brown cow)

  5. I had forgotten how much I loved A & W root beer. The A & W where I lived in Malone, NY was a drive-in, where you would pull up under a canopy in one of the ten or 12 spaces, give a person your order through an intercom contraption, then a car hop would come to your car with your order on the tray. I remember trying to figure out a way of getting a mug home without paying for it. I also remember being able to chug the root beer without it fizzing the daylights out of your throat. Thanks for that nudge!!

  6. The A&W here is combined with the Long John Silver's so it's not the same, but up in Michigan where we go there is a more old-fashioned A&W place.

  7. Isn't is amazing how this could bring back so many memories?

  8. Russell7.2.09

    I was just telling my children about when I was a kid visiting my Grandparents in western Nebraska. I always looked forward to riding with Grandpa to get a gallon jug of ice cold A&W Rootbeer which we would take home and make into Rootbeer floats for all the family! What wonderful shared evenings those were. I guess I'm not the only one with found memories of ice cold A&W Rootbeer. I think it even tasted a little better than the current canned version.


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