April 10, 2011

Sharing Memories (Week 15 of 52): The Milkman Cometh

It's Week 15 of our Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey Follow along each Sunday as we write and share our memories of childhood. Your descendants will be so thankful that you did! Write here as a comment, or on your own blog, or in a private journal, but please write!



I found myself thinking about the milkman last week. Did you have milk delivery as a child? We did. I loved hearing the clang clang clang of the milk bottles (glass of course) hitting the edge of the wire basket as the milkman hurried up our driveway. He always drove standing up in a white truck which I'm guessing was refrigerated, but I don't recall the company name. He wore a white uniform with a little white hat or cap.

There was a little cubby-hole in the wall by the front door. It had two doors, one on the inside, one on the outside. My mother would leave money and a note saying how much milk she needed and the milkman would open the outside door and retrieve it. He left the full milk bottles on the front steps. What a great system!

During the week Mother would order a certain number of quarts of milk. Each bottle was covered with a cardboard "lid" that you pulled off. The cream was at the top, at least an inch thick. We wanted so badly to scoop that cream off and eat it but mother didn't allow that. She mixed it in with the milk in the bottle instead.

Every Saturday Mother ordered one quart of chocolate milk. Oh how we loved that special day! But with four children in the house, one quart didn't go far. I don't like chocolate but as a child I eagerly drank my share of chocolate milk. Mind you my gorging on that small glass of chocolate milk was always followed by a severe migraine!

Do you remember milk delivery? I think it ended in our village by the late 1950s.

9 comments:

Doc Rock said...

I grew up in South Jersey (New Jersey) in the 1940's. We lived in the upstairs (apartment) of a house in which our landlord lived downstairs. There was an outer door that led to a stairway up to our level and an inner door there. The milkman from Bishop's dairies would deliver right to our inner door. The quart milk bottles had paper tabs like you described, but they also had an overwrap, perhaps of cellophane (?) around the top and neck of the bottle. They offered "pasteurized" milk (with the cream on top), but they also had "homogenized" which had the cream mixed through. They also had other products such as heavy cream, cottage cheese, and orange ade. Our regular milkman was Mr. Johnson.

We lived in a small town that was something between rural and suburban. This was a small local dairy and I went to high school with the daughter of one of the owners.

We also had bread and pastries delivered to our door by Dugan's Bakeries and the Beverly Cleaners stopped by weekly to pick up and drop off our dry cleaning.

The New Genealogist said...

That's a really great, classic memory. I never had a milkman, but my mother used to tell me about the "iceman." My in-laws actually still have a milkman- he leaves the milk not on their front steps, but in a wooden box-area in front of their home.

pagenie said...

During my elementary years, our family lived in suburban Pittsburgh. What a convenience it was having fresh Harmony Dairy products delivered to our door! My mother would jot down her order and clip it onto the clothespin attached to the side of our metal milk box. Besides serving as the convenient place to get our morning milk, it also was just the right size for me to sit while watching for the mailman. My mother ordered milk, cream, butter, cottage cheese, and ice cream. My favorite request was for the occasional treats of chocolate milk and orangeade. Since we were a one-car family in the '50's, as most families were, milk delivery was an essential luxury. I don’t remember seeing the milk truck or the milkman because of the early hours he kept but I knew that the box would be full in time for breakfast.

Sara said...

I live in a suburb of Chicago - and we still have mild delivery. I believe that Oberweis delivers to most of the suburbs. It comes in glass bottles with the hand-hold indentations in the bottle - and they put the milk in a igloo type cooler on our front porch. It is more expensive, but I realized that we always ran out of milk when the stores were closed and we had to buy at the gas station. That milk never lasted long. This milk is VERY fresh! We started when the kids were still on bottles - last one is going off to college, so we'll probably stop this year. They also offer a bunch of other products too.

We also have dry cleaning pick-up and delivery. We also have lawn-mower or snow blower pick-up, serviced and returned service. I'm thinking that we are very spoiled! But I love it!

Marie said...

Lorine
I still have a milkman and still have milk delivered to my door almost every day - quantity and number of days depends on how many teengers are there!
I still love opening the door in the morning to see the milk delivery, although last week a bird got to one carton before we did! Haven't seen that in years!

Marie said...

We still have a milkman near Edinburgh, Scotland.
Quantity delivered depends on how many teenagers there are. Still love collecting the milk from the front door in the morning. Last week a bird got there before we did - haven't had that problem in years!

Mary June said...

From Golden, Colorado in the 50's we had milk delivery from a choice of dairies, one boasted a Guernsey herd,another a Holstein. The butterfat was richer in the Guernsey. The milk would often freeze on delivery, with up to a two inch column of expanded, frozen milk topping the bottles. The bottles had an indentation with a bulb top, and we had a special spoon that could be inserted to divert the top cream portion to be poured off and either whipped for desserts, or saved for coffee. Yum!!

Mary June said...

From Golden, Colorado in the 50's we had milk delivery from a choice of dairies, one boasted a Guernsey herd,another a Holstein. The butterfat was richer in the Guernsey. The milk would often freeze on delivery, with up to a two inch column of expanded, frozen milk topping the bottles. The bottles had an indentation with a bulb top, and we had a special spoon that could be inserted to divert the top cream portion to be poured off and either whipped for desserts, or saved for coffee. Yum!!

Deborah Crawford said...

My maternal grandfather was a deliveryman for Alewell's Dairy in Penetanguishene Ontario during the 1930's and 40's. I don't remember him as I wasn't born yet, but I've heard stories of his delivery days (with a team of horses) and many locals still remember my grandfather delivering milk back then. The horses knew the route by heart, and often, at the end of the rounds, my grandfather would have to run to keep up with the horses as they reached their last stops, knowing that the warm stable and a bucket of oats awaited them!