Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Waiting for the Ice Cream Man

As a child back in the 60's, my summers would not have been complete without the daily visit of the Good Humor truck and the musical jingles that announced his coming (I can see the row of bells, above the rear view mirror, that came to life with the pull of a cord). This was back in the days when:
-  we rode bikes without helmets on our heads
-  played barefoot at construction sites
-  used a key to adjust the roller skates we wore over our Converse sneakers
-  went trick-or-treating, with no parents, over the entire neighborhood and beyond (including strangers' houses) THEN came home and ate all the candy, including homemade candy apples and popcorn balls
-  went in roving packs from sunrise until sunset, playing the most imaginative outdoor games ever, and came inside to bathe only when our moms called it a day by popping out the screen door and bellowing our names to come home.

And the ice cream man wore a white shirt and white pants, with a jaunty white brimmed cap with a Good Humor logo. And he was a nice guy we all knew by name. And his truck was clean and obviously his pride and joy. And with popsicles or ice cream bars or cones in our dirty little hands, we lined up, sitting on the curb, thinking life couldn't get any better. It was summer, after all.

This picture is one that my mom took of me waiting for the ice cream man at my grandparents' house in Westminster, Maryland. I'm sitting on the bottom step, in a cloth diaper and a sleeveless undershirt (we always wore undershirts back then), with my Pap Pap, who smokes a pipe, and with his graying temples and horn-rimmed glasses was as handsome as any Mad Men executive out there. I love the neighborhood gals across the street coming out as well, their sleeveless Peter Pan collar shirts.

This makes me nostalgic as can be.

And so when Harleigh and her Poppy waited for the ice cream man, there was a picture to be taken. Granted, there was no Good Humor truck with a white uniformed man (rather, it was a van of sorts with some chap out to make a living and quick to dole out a treat and move on) . And Harleigh always wore a helmet when she rode her bike. She would wear hard-soled shoes IF I let her play at a construction site. You get the picture . . . Times changed, but something as simple as waiting for the ice cream truck with your grandfather is about as good as it gets.


Claudia said...

I have much the same childhood memories. I wish children today had the same sense of safety and freedom. Loved the Good Humor Man, as we called him - Strawberry Shortcake was my favorite.

Molly Hargather said...

I love this post!

karen said...

I just read this post and I too often become nostalgic for my childhood days. Such a wonderful time. The new commercials for the show "Pan Am" make me think back. I love the "good old days"! Thanks.

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