There were times when food actually came right to your front door and I’m not talking back in the time of Ben Franklin either. When I was little, my mom and I lived with my grandparents and their house was on a main street here in Charleston, WV. It was a thing of wonder to see a truck pull up into the driveway at their house and see a man get out and open up the back of it—the wonders of every kind of bakery item you could imagine was right there! That truck belonged to Blubaugh Bakery which was located downtown; they had many truck drivers on lots of routes. To me, it was heaven to see all of those pastries. And my grandmother would select what was needed and the truck would come back the next week—bringing delight all over again.
But that was not the only thing that came to the house. Every week a man pulling a vegetable cart would stop in front of the house. All of the neighbors would flock to this cart and pick out fresh produce; there was nothing wrong with it at all. It was all perfectly chosen and fresh. My favorite was tomatoes and to this day, guess it still is. Oh the joys of eating a tomato sandwich with just mayonnaise and salt and pepper was one of my childhood joys.
Another truck that came to the house weekly was The Jewel Tea truck. The driver would get out and open up the back to wonders upon wonders of things for house cleaning, things like beautiful teapots, dishes, aluminum glasses in every color of the rainbow, window cleaning liquid in a tin jar, furniture polish and you name it was in that truck. I was tempted som nay times to get in there with that man and just stay and look till I could look no more.
Another truck that came by weekly was a man that delivered fresh eggs and butter. To this day, I can still picture that man: He was old [probably in his forties but to a kid?,] wore a wrinkled white shirt and had on suspenders. He always seemed to be burning up and come to think of it, it was summer and he probably had hundreds of people on his route. This man was friends with my grandparents and I well remember my grandmother inviting him inside the house to get a glass of ice cold water. He needed it. As for the eggs and butter, they were top notch and always fresh—not like in today’s world.
Perhaps my favorite truck that came to my grandparent’s house and the neighborhood was the ice cream truck. What a wonder to see a man all dressed in white riding a bicycle of sorts with a big white box on the back. When he stopped, he would open up the white box and white smoke would fill the air. It was dry ice but as a kid, I had no idea what it was. It was mysterious. The ice cream, popsicles and other dairy treats were grabbed by every kid that stood around this man and his strange vehicle. Of course, grandparents or parents had the say so as to what was bought. I’m pretty sure that what I got didn’t survive to the front door as I had eaten it.
The last truck that came by weekly was one driven by a man that sold potato chips in huge metal containers. Oh my, those chips were fresh, crunchy and the metal container was taken into my grandparents’ house about every week. The tins were saved for storage of whatever but the chips certainly weren’t saved.
I miss these things of the past that will never be again. Mass grocery stores took over the jobs that these men had although there were grocery stores then trust me. It was a wonderful time in which to be a kid and no doubt to be an adult with such service right at the front door or driveway. No one ever got sick from eating the fresh produce or eggs as they do in today’s world with mass production and contamination. And when I think of the dinners that my grandmother cooked with all of these fresh vegetables, butter and eggs I am taken back to a wonderful time when real was real. As for the Jewel Tea man, I suppose he saw my wonderment when he opened the back of that truck.
Still have a Jewel Tea pitcher that my grandmother had bought: The pattern is Autumn Leaf. Saw a bunch of these dishes and a teapot at a garage sale but passed upon buying them. One reminder is fine for me of a blessed past when food and needed things came to houses. There was no crime then which was another factor that led to the downfall of such splendid home service. It’s such a shame that today’s generation knows nothing about what I wrote about—they’d think I was making it all up. But I wasn’t at all. It happened and it was miraculous.
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