We All Screamed For The Ice Cream Man


Summer afternoons with temps in the upper 90s. There is no air conditioning in your house, and you have a bad case of chiggers you picked up from the vacant lot down the street. Your front tooth is loose, and two toes on your left foot may be broken from being run over by your uncles’ station wagon. Life for kids in the 1950s was hard. But, the one thing that made it all worthwhile was the Ice Cream Man.

You could hear the cheesy music from two blocks away; plenty of time to make it home for some change. It didn’t matter if there was an entire half-gallon of Blue Bunny in the freezer, the Ice Cream Man was coming, and he had what we needed, the good stuff; Popsicles, Dreamsicles, Chocolate Cows, Rockets, Push Up Sherbert, Fudge Bars, and Eskimo Pies.

I thought selling ice cream from a white truck while dressed in a uniform was my career path. So I told my father that’s going to be me in a few years. But, yessir-ree-bob, it didn’t get any better than Mr. Good Humor pushing frozen sweets to kids. Of course, my father was concerned about my plans, but I was 7 years old and likely to change professional aspirations within a few hours. I also thought the Milk Man was a great gig. Half the kids on our block resembled him.

My pal Skipper and I once crawled into the back of the Vandorvorts Milk truck and rode for two blocks before being caught. We drank as much chocolate milk as we could hold before being discovered. It was freezing cold inside, but we did our best. It was worth the butt-busting.

There is nothing quite as funny as a bunch of kids with Popsicles stuck to their tongues running and screaming bloody murder. I always thought that ice cream man had a mean streak.

8 Replies to “We All Screamed For The Ice Cream Man”

  1. That brings back memories of being a kid–I can’t remember the last time I saw an ice cream man- I wonder if they still exist anywhere?

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      1. I remember you could hear the ice cream man coming a mile away it seemed- always enough time to get some money off of my mom and get out to the road when it stopped..

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  2. Last time I saw the ice cream man was in our apartment in Hancock Park (the bad part of the affluent neighborhood). He would come at a certain time EVERY STINKIN’ DAY! And would park right in front of our unit and play OUT LOUD the instermental beats of a little ditty, “It’s a Small World.” It was okay for the first couple of weeks, but I began to detest that song and cringed every time I heard it coming. In California, we hardly ever used the a/c, so our windows were wide open. We were on the second floor because, you know, crime and all. I would peer down and plot ways to keep that stupid truck from parking so close within my hearing. Maybe I could call the cops, or the city, or a nearby gang willing to have a talk with the driver. And there were about 400 kids in our neighborhood who wanted a cold sticky treat, so it sat there for a good 20 minutes, taunting me. I think, at 39 years old, was the first time I realized I didn’t like Disneyland anymore.

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    1. Yep, that would do it for me too. I don’t believe I ever saw one in Plano, but plenty of them in Fort Worth. I can’t imagine having to listen to that song every day. I also hate Disney.

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  3. One of the reasons I love raising my kids in the same small town I grew up in is the ice cream man. We grab our money and go running outside as soon as we hear “La Cucaracha” playing.

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