Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Old School Ode #4 - The Ice Cream Truck

I don't mean to sound all Andy-Rooney with the Did you ever notice grumpster rant, but, seriously, has anyone noticed that all of the ice cream trucks are now 1970's conversion vans plasters with stickers? Perhaps I am only speaking of my neighborhood, but seriously, there is something disconcerning about the image of children running out to buy ice cream from the same place their uncle Gary used to get high...

Anyway. It got me thinking about ice cream weather, or, more specifically Bomp Pop weather. I know it's getting close to being consistently warm when I impulsively buy a box of Bomb Pops at the grocery. Nothing says summer than the taste of red, white, and blue (or cherry, rasberry, and...what flavor is white? kind of like "palette cleanser.")

As a kid I wasn't a big ice cream truck freak. To be honest, it can be a stressful exercise for a kid - hearing the distant refrain of Farmer in the Dell, running inside to find the closest parent, pleading an urgent case, running to get the agreeing parent's closest wallet, running back outside, trying to determine the actual location of the truck, all to find yourself too late, the bumper almost out of eye range, and no energy left to run. It was just easier to get on your bike and ride up to Haney's for a Pepsi and tube of Pringles.

But, I do have one glorious ice cream truck memory.

In third grade there was this brother and sister who were new to our school. David and Dina. I don't know where they came from or whatever happened to them (my mom would know this, she remembers all of my former classmates) but I only remember that my brother and I hung around them the summer between 3rd and 4th. Dina had an end-of-the-year slumber party. They lived in the only apartment complex at the edge of our neighborhood. They had no front or backyard and this was before video games, cable and VHS. We were bored, it was hot, and there was an hour and a half before Donny and Marie came on.

We were sitting on the front steps when we heard it, the lovely tinkling beacon of hope. Dina's mom was right inside. She handed Dina a five dollar bill and we waited. The truck pulled up into the parking lot of the apartment complex. For a minute there was no sound except that of the repitive strains of Pop Goes the Weasel. Then everything changed. Doors flew open and kids we never knew existed came from everywhere and swarmed the truck.

We were first in line but stuck around and watched everyone. We told people it was our friends birthday. People made a big deal. We held up traffic. It is what I think every experience at the ice cream truck should be. Which is why I just buy the Bomb Pops at the start of each spring and have one at the end of a hot day.

Oh, and last summer I saw the ice cream "van" parked in front of the Silver Fox Lounge. Twice.


  1. Heh. Great story! Myself, I have not had a positive relationship with the ice cream truck. For my sister and I, the answer was "no". If we required a iced treat, there were 2 racks of those tupperware popsicle thingies full of frozen chocolate milk in our freezer. It was best to just not bring it up.

  2. That just brought back so many memories of growing up on the Westside and running into grandma's for ice cream money hoping they wouldn't pass by too quickly...NICE on the Silver fox lounge reference!