Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Memories of Summers Past: The Ice Cream Man

When I think of summer, I think of ice cream. Not that I only eat ice cream in the summer mind you, but in my mind it goes hand in hand with hot summer days and nights. Thinking back to summers when I was a kid, the "ice cream man" often comes to mind...

In our neighborhood, the "ice cream man" drove a Good Humor truck. He came around most every day, sometimes twice a day. I can clearly remember that white truck with decals of wonderful ice cream treats on the sides. The driver was dressed in white pants and a white shirt and sported a white hat with a black brim (police uniform type). The truck and the man looked just like the ones pictured here (sorry but I don't have permission to use the picture on my blog). He would drive very slowly down the street ringing his set of bell chimes... not blaring a recording like the ice cream trucks do these days.

My friends and I had very keen hearing and we could detect those bell chimes while the truck was still blocks away. That sound was our cue to go running home to get some money to buy a treat. And that's where my frustration began. You see, my mom was the Queen of Thrifty. "Why pay those outrageous prices when I can buy ice cream bars at the supermarket for less?" she would say. And to her credit, our house was always stocked with Popsicles and chocolate covered ice cream bars, sometimes fudgesicles too. I could have one pretty much any time I wanted. The thing was, I wanted to buy an ice cream treat with my friends. I wanted to look over the pictures of ice cream treats on the truck and choose something really scrumptious like a chocolate ├ęclair bar or a strawberry shortcake bar... the ones with the crunchies on the outside! :-) Unfortunately, they were also the most expensive ones. :-(

I had a deprived childhood because my mom and dad wouldn't give me money for those premium ice cream bars. (Don't you feel sorry for me? ;-) Instead I had to settle for one of the Popsicles or ice cream bars in our freezer.  On the rare occasions when my brothers and I ate all the frozen treats before my mom could get to the store to buy more, I was given only enough money to buy a Popsicle (the least expensive item of the Good Humor offerings) when the truck came around. In those cases, I never let on that I only had enough money for a Popsicle. Oh no, I'd stand there at the curb with my friends pretending to be weighing my choices, always allowing my friends to make their purchases first so that I could draw out the experience. And then I'd choose a Popsicle, happy to be having a treat from the truck (which was always better than one from the house) but wishing it was one of the premium ice cream bars!

Ah, summer...

11 comments:

  1. Loved this memory! I can still hum the tune. We do still get an ice cream truck in our neighborhood - now it plays "Fur Elise." My favorite was the one with the chocolate bar inside. Nuthin' better than ice cream with chocolate candy - nice and cold and hard - inside.

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  2. Back in the 50s and 60s I had to decide between the orangesicle or the ice cream sandwich....or the fudgebar....uhmmm! Life was full of tough decisions! :-D

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  3. We always called him the ding-a-ling man. Ours had only one bell that he rang but I still miss the sound when I hear the trucks today blasting music. Living in the country, this is an old summer tradition that most of my grandkids will miss out on.

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  4. I fondly remember the ice cream man also. We still have one in our neighborhood and it is an fun occasional treat for my kids. In a nearby "ritzy" neighborhood they passed a law prohibiting the ice cream truck--called it noise pollution. A couple streets away from me there was an incident of a parent threatening the ice cream man--because he was coming down the street at dinner time. Sad--would not have happened in the 60's.

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  5. Ah, those were the good ol' days, when the ice cream trucks jingled. Now they play electronic Turkey in the Straw... and I kinda wish I had a shotgun so I could shoot that turkey!

    Huh... I kinda wish I had an ice cream sandwich, too.

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  6. What a great memory! I, too, LOVED the ice-cream man! And you're right, we could hear the sound of those bells/chimes from far, far away. All of us would go running home to beg for change, and then meet back to wait for him. If anyone didn't have money, we'd all pitch in to get something "cheap" for that person.
    Thanks for sharing this memory. :)

    Renate

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  7. I have recollection of an ice cream truck in our neighborhood, we lived too far out. I remember seeing them at fairs and parades, because my Mom had a weakness for ice cream sandwiches and that's what Dad would buy everyone. We had no choice, but we didn't care! When we visit my husband's parents in Puerto Rico, the ice cream man pushes a handcart, and instead of ice cream it's shaved ice. My daughter thinks that is heaven on earth! The flavors are tropical- coconut, pineapple and mango...Yummmmm!

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  8. Great memory that most of us relate to. It was always disappointing when you got outside too late. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Thank you all for the great comments. I've enjoyed reading about your memories too!

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  10. Sounds so very familiar. I felt "rich" if we could have ice cream from the Good Humor man. Just a few weeks ago, I bought ice cream from the ice cream "woman" in front of our church. It was fun.

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  11. I wrote a post on my blog about the ice cream man as well. Nice memorieshttp://cherylmcnulty.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/jolly-joe-the-ice-cream-man-via-cherylmcnultys-blog/

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