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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…