I had driven by De Luca’s General Store for 17 years without ever noticing its existence. It was not until our good friend, Jacqueline Goossens told us about this little hardware store in Rosebank where the proprietor, John De Luca, has airplanes made out of soda cans on display in his store front window.
I’ve always been partial to things made out of other things, so this summer I finally got around to noticing what had been there all along.
There in the window were a Canada Dry rocket, a large Foster’s Beer airplane, a small Diet Pepsi airplane, another Diet Pepsi item that, at first, I thought was a lighting fixture, but instead turned out to be a flying saucer, and a Spanish galleon — also made out of diet Pepsi cans (the only non-flying vehicle on display).
I quite coveted the flying saucer (when I thought it was a light fixture), but none of the items are for sale. John says it’s important to keep busy and has a number of other nicely re-purposed objects: a pull chain lighting fixture from a coffee can and a bird cage made out of shish kebab skewers.
(more to read after the jump)
John’s penchant for flying packaging triggered something deep in my subconscious and I was able to recover two deeply-repressed, packaging memories…
The earliest of these 2 packaging memories was from 1960–1962.
Having been shown how the Kellogg’s “Snack-Pak” box enabled one to eat directly from the box (by dissecting its belly along convenient perforations and pouring the milk directly into the box) that became my preference. I remember playing with these boxes after breakfast as if they were toy planes. Not particularly aerodynamic planes, I’ll grant you—more like stubby, little Grumman F4F Wildcats.
The second recovered packaging memory took place at my grandmother’s house on Long Island. I think this must have been the time we went to The World’s Fair so I’m guessing it was around 1965. I was making various kinds of flying models there at that time. I remember attaching a Dixie Cup gondola to a helium balloon with thread and sending it
aloft with a plastic soldier as a passenger and a thread as a sort of kite string.
Unfortunately, the ‘kite string‘ got fouled in my grandmother pear tree and my balloon ascended while I cried. But that is not my repressed memory.
My repressed memory involves a rocket I made from cardboard tubes that I found in a bathroom waste basket. Taping off one end of the larger tube to make it air tight and using the smaller tube as a launcher, I fashioned a rocket that worked brilliantly when you blew into the smaller tube. I remember being puzzled when my grandmother got so agitated about my new toy, shrieking to my mother, “He’s putting it in his mouth!”