Summer Treats on Wheels!

Summer Memories

Along with camping and roller rinks, I associate summer with delivery trucks. Huh? Sure, delivery guys were there year-round; the proverbial off-color tease was to suggest a particular young and attractive mom’s kids looked “an awful lot like the milkman.”

But delivery trucks ramped up their rounds during the summer. Why? Because the kids were out of school. We’d be playing in the sprinklers or Slip-n-Sliding, see them coming, and run into the house, shouting, “Mom! The [insert-irresistible-treat-of-choice] truck is here!”

Baked goodies! The Helm’s Bakery truck would stop in front of our suburban SoCal house with a distinctive whistle. Then the bow-tied Helm’s Guy would stroll to the back, tip his hat, throw open the doors leading to the magical Kingdom of Baked Delights, and slide open those mystical drawers filled with cookies and pastries! I always–always–got a chocolate macaroon (two if Mom would let me).

Ice Cream! Believe it or not, ice-cream trucks didn’t begin with the Creation of the world (“And, behold, it was good!”). Rather, exactly one hundred years ago, a Youngstown, Ohio, confectioner invented the Good Humor Bar, the first chocolate-covered ice cream bar. But how to deliver it? “I know!” said his son. “Put it on a stick!” They also created the popsicle-on-a-stick (some had two sticks!). And, yes, they invented the ice cream truck, with its endlessly-repeating nursery rhyme blasting from a roof-top horn, drawing children like Pavlov’s puppies! And behold it was good!

Books! Books? Yep. What better thing to do while munching a macaroon or aspirating a push-up pop than to treat your mind, as well? I’m pretty sure Paperback Guy was self-employed. He didn’t wear a bow tie or a snappy cap, and he drove a rocket-finned Oldsmobile instead of a van. But it had a swimming pool-sized trunk, and every inch of that trunk was crammed with paperback books! He’d buy back our used-used paperbacks and sell us new-used paperbacks for 10 ¢ a piece! Paperback Guy introduced me to the steampunk worlds of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, the wistful Mississippi River of Tom and Huck, the swashbuckling France of The Three Musketeers, and the frozen Yukon of Call of the Wild. While others fed my stomach, he fed my imagination!

I still love summer, macaroons, ice cream bars (the gourmet type) and most of all, books!  So…

Thank you, Summer Treat Delivery Guys!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Books, Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Summer Treats on Wheels!

  1. Eliza Ayres says:

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal and commented:
    Chocolate malt ice cream!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I also associate summer with the memory of ice cream trucks! Nothing used to wake up all the grown ups from their Sunday afternoon naps like kids jumping and screaming at the sound of an ice cream truck. I saw one a few years ago when I was visiting my grandmother, I hope someone will keep that tradition alive. It’s a happy childhood memory 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. HAT says:

    OMGoodnesss Helms Bakery jelly donuts!! Next thing, you will begin waxing eloquent about Knudsen yogurt!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. revruss1220 says:

    Oh my gosh! What a delightful blast from the past. I remember the Good Humor and ice cream men (they were always men during my childhood), but I’ve never encountered any baked goods or paperback peddlers on wheels. Our little town had the Bookmobile which was always a special treat. Thanks for the memories, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nancy Ruegg says:

    My mother LOVED Good Humor bars, but they rarely drove through our suburban neighborhood. (Not enough kids maybe?) One Saturday our family was on a Chicago bus, heading to the train station after a day at the Museum of Science and Industry. A Good Humor truck pulled up at a stoplight next to our bus. In a flash, Dad had the bus window open, got the attention of the truck driver, and purchased an ice cream bar for Mom before the light turned green. I don’t remember my brother and me being upset that she got one and we didn’t. The sweet gesture was treat enough, I guess. (There was probably ice cream in the freezer at home anyway!)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Over here, we had ice cream Vans, but no paperback guy…. we did have a mobile library Service, books free to borrow, who used to park up for an hour on spare ground, you climbed up and inside were shelves full of all kinds of books, hard backs as well as paper. My favourites were probably history ones, but plenty of. Novels, stories and picture books everything you can find in a library building, you could even request a particular book if it wasn’t on the shelves that day. Thanks for the memory

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As much as I like books and ice cream, it’s that Slip ‘n’ Slide that will send me into squeals of delight!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What fun memories! For us, it was the Colonial Bakery truck with its musical horn. The gathering in our cul-de-sac in that moment, could have rivaled Pavlov’s! ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Such great memories! My older assisted for several summer on a bookmobile, which I thought was SO neat:)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sweet memories!

    Before the pandemic, we had an ice cream truck going around town. Hearing the old fashioned music really takes you back in time. I took a short video clip of the ice cream truck going by our house last year and downloaded it to my YouTube channel. So far, it has had a few thousand views:

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Isn’t this a great blog

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Geri Lawhon says:

    We just moved to the outskirts of Branson and were amazed the other day when an Ice Cream truck went through the neighborhood with it jingle going. It was a delightful blast from the past, especially since it was such a hot day. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I never had a book guy! I’m jealous! But we did have scholastic books at one of the schools I went to and I was allowed to get as many as I wanted. Loved that once or twice a year we got our little catalogs. I’d read every title and every summary trying to find my next escape!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Look at that ice cream van. We had similar looking ones.

    Liked by 1 person

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