Quiescently Frozen Treats #JusJoJan

Good Humor truck, 1966. Source: Wikipedia/GRUBBDXN CC BY-SA

The lovely and talented Sadje over at Keep It Alive submitted today’s prompt for Just Jot It January, "humor."

I decided I needed to take a different approach to the prompt, and Good Humor came immediately to mind. These days, they’re a part of the giant Unilever Corporation and the various ice cream delights are sold in your grocer’s freezer case, but when I was a kid, this was the way we bought our Good Humor bars, out of the back of one of their trucks.

Back in the ’60’s, air conditioning wasn’t the sine qua non it is today, and during the summer we needed ways to cool off. Going inside and standing in front of a window fan was one way to do it, unless your mother set the fan to blow outwards, thinking that the hot air would blow out of the house and be replaced by cooler air from outside, except that the hot air would blow out and more hot air would come in from outside. (My mother was a teacher; you’d think she’d know that.) If she managed to put the fan in front of a window that you could stand in front of outside, it would help a little.

But the best way you could cool off on a hot summer night was with ice cream or some other quiescently frozen confection (the words that were printed on a Popsicle wrapper) served from a truck or other vehicle. There were three different types of frozen treats you could get on a typical summer night:

  1. An ice cream cone from a Tastee-Freez truck. They served vanilla and chocolate ice cream soft-serve style, either on a cone or in a cup. If you wanted a cone, you could get a sugar cone or a wafer cone. The little kids liked the wafer cones, which were squared off at the bottom and could be set on a flat surface (say the sidewalk) and ostensibly remain upright.
  2. A Popsicle from a guy pedaling a bicycle with a freezer attached to the front. This also included other delights, such as Dreamsicles, Creamsicles, Fudgsicles, push-ups that were orange sherbet in a tube with a stick at the bottom you would use to push the sherbet out of the tube so you could lick it, freezer pops that were frozen flavored liquid in a plastic tube that you pushed from the bottom (like the push-ups but different), and, if you were lucky, Drumsticks, a vanilla ice cream one with a disk of chocolate frozen to the top. Those guys were usually by the beach and made a fortune off us.
  3. The aforementioned Good Humor truck. They sold ice cream bars in all different flavors, not just chocolate, and a wide variety of other frozen treats.

You’re probably asking "why didn’t you just buy the ice cream at the store and keep it in your freezer?" Nice idea, and the households that had a large freezer usually did that. Most of us had a tiny freezer compartment in the refrigerator that was usually filled with ice cube trays and boxes of vegetables. There wasn’t the real estate in the freezer to keep boxes of ice cream bars and Popsicles.

I think about it now, and we were really primitive back then.

Just Jot It January is brought to you every January by Linda Hill and this station. Now here’s William Fawcett and Bobby Diamond for Popsicles and Fudgsicles!

Fawcett and Diamond were in the TV show Fury, a Western about "a horse and the boy who loved him." And here’s something that I didn’t know: the products with "the red sicle ball" were once made by Borden. I’m a little surprised that the "red sicle ball" didn’t raise eyebrows during the early years of the Cold War…

30 thoughts on “Quiescently Frozen Treats #JusJoJan

  1. I’d never thought about the freezer bit. My mother’s mother had a tiny fridge from the 50s until she moved to assisted housing, and I thought it was the coolest, and John, she took me to DQ A LOT! lol
    I live for ice cream, and given the calories, choose Dreamsicles more often πŸ™‚


    1. Can you still get Dreamsicles? There are Creamsicles that have ice cream with sherbet outside, but the Dreamsicles were ice milk with sherbet. Same great taste, fewer calories. Not that I ever give any thought to calories when I’m dealing with ice cream…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Meijer sells Purple Cow, might be their brand, and they make Dreamsicles, not called that, but “Orange Cream Bars” — 80 calories a pop. ‘Lite vanilla covered in orange sherbet.’


  2. You absolutely made my day with this nostalgia.

    First the fan in the window. Which I only vaguely remember because we upgraded to a water cooler when I was about 7. A/C window unit came when I was about 12. How we survive the heat, I’ll never know. The water hose, sprinkler, and/or inflatable pool helped.

    Boy do I remember the ice cream truck. Ours was either Red Bird or Blue Bird. We’d hear the circus music and scream running inside to ask for money and running back outside waving for the driver to stop. I swear sometimes he kept going just a little piece on purpose. I ALWAYS got the Eskimo pie. Awesome memories.


    1. Just writing it took me back to Magnolia Avenue, which I think was the last place we lived where we played outside in front of the house. When we lived on Glenwood, we played in the alley between Glenwood and Wayne (in back of the house), and if we visited friends on the other side of Wayne, we played in the alley between Wayne and Lakewood. (I know, you have no idea what I’m talking about…)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Surprisingly I think I do. The only difference is my three streets were Howerton … that we lived on. The alley between Howerton and Poole or the alley between Poole and Sublett is where we played. Tag you’re it πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Alley play and the ice cream truck. I’m with you. Mine was the alley between Hurricane and Yandes and our ice cream truck was blue and the man who drove it looked like an older, skinnier, Santa Claus.


            1. Alleys were a great place to play. We used to play alley softball (“that pile of dog doo is third base”) and kick the can. A couple people had a basketball net hanging off their garages and they didn’t mind if the neighborhood played there. That was the big gathering place.

              Funny, I never noticed what the ice cream guy looked like…

              Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember the milkman leaving us milk on the porch and nothing beats stopping the ice cream man to get a treat, no matter how much ice cream was already in the freezer.


  4. Great take on the prompt, John! Back in the day, we had a milkman and an ice cream truck that frequented the neighborhood. At that time, my old house was on the outskirts of Orlando, FL. Now, my old house is close to everything and/or everything is close to it. I found it on Zillow and it had been totally renovated. Mind you, my parents built this house in 1945. How time flies!


  5. My suburban neighborhood didn’t see a lot of ice cream trucks, but my grandmother lived in an apartment, and when we visited, there was a different vendor every 20 minutes all evening …


  6. I remember this so well but we had the Milkman since we lived in the country. He had everything and my dad would always order pop cycles or ice cream sandwiches. I still see the man on the bicycle During the summer…not an easy job


    1. In the old neighborhood where Mary grew up (now mostly Mexican), there were guys that sold paletas (i.e. Popsicles) from pushcarts. Some of those guys would be out the whole day roaming the neighborhood, no matter how hot it was.


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