FRESNO, California (KGPE) – Christmas is almost here and some folks put up their outdoor holiday decorations. In Clovis, there is one house on Ashlan Avenue that’s decorated year round, and the décor is all about Coca-Cola.
In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, cars whiz by a tribute to all things Coca-Cola. The Coca-Cola signs, banners, chairs and memorabilia are everywhere.
Meet John Torres, he’s got the demeanor, spirit and the beard of Old St. Nick. His expansive Coca-Cola collection brings back sweet childhood memories.
From mini cars to mini Cokes, he was hooked. Tiny bottles to a special big one tucked in a corner shelf.
And overlooking it all, is Coca-Cola Santa. John says, “That’s a late 1940s Santa right there.”
Over the years, John’s dressed up as Santa hundreds of times, handing out candy canes to children. “This is my grandson’s first Christmas,” he said. He also spreads holiday cheer at retirement homes for senior citizens.
“Not that many go visit them, a lot of them would cry and be all happy,” he says.
John had so much in his collection, it began to spill outside.
“I just came out one day and I put one whole side up and the following day I put all that side up,” he said, referencing his decorations. His secret was out to neighbors and passersby noticed.
The memorabilia is everywhere.
“And another one and another one and another one. But I’ve got plenty of room for more though,” John said.
John says sometimes people will pull into his driveway to pose for pictures. The Santa in him sees at as nice.
Sometimes he’ll wake up in the morning to find someone has secretly drop off some Pepsi. The Santa in him sees that as naughty. “There’s a two liter Pepsi outside a couple of cans of Pepsi. So people are letting me know that there’s Pepsi too.” But John doesn’t mind. He loves it all.
In fact, he shared a secret about his own daughter. She likes Pepsi.
John’s strictly a classic Coke guy. He remembers back in 1985 when Coca-Cola came out with “New Coke.”
Green or clear bottles? He says as long as it’s good Coca-Cola, it doesn’t mater.
So why the fascination with Coca Cola? “When you grow older, you want things that you didn’t have when you were a kid.” Childhood memories live on at John’s house.
Priceless memories wrapped up in a Coca Cola collection and a spirit of joy that runs all year long, not just during the holidays. “Makes me feel good.”
One day John plans to retire and move to a smaller house with his wife.
So what will he do with all the memorabilia? “I was going to give it to one of my kids. But I’m not sure which one would want all this stuff.” But probably not the daughter that drinks Pepsi.
In the meantime, you might see John out and about this holiday season, and when you do, you’ll know the story behind the man, the beard, the house and the holiday cheer that lives on all year long at this home in Clovis.