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...