The Coke that went to war
I’ve often been asked what my favourite story is in The Prisoner and The Penguin and this is the story that I cite
The day after Christmas 1944, Kevin Bell left this family’s Oaktown farm for the World War II battlefields of the Pacific.
In his duffel bag, along with his clothes and some personal things, he took six bottles of Coke. The first time he got homesick, he drank one as it reminded him of life back on the farm. He shared four more with fellow soldiers whilst in Burma.
And the last bottle?
Well, he never opened it. He carried it back to the farm, where it sat for more than 30 years on the mantelpiece in the living room.
When the farmhouse caught fire in 1990, Kevin, by then an old man, rescued it from the burning building – one of the only material possessions he fought to save.
Kevin has since passed away, but his daughter Iris Bell keeps the bottle on her kitchen counter. “Daddy always said it was a good-luck charm, so I keep it here and my daughters will get it when I’m gone.”
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