Truck Vendors – My Memories of The Jersey Shore

We had moved to The Jersey Shore in the mid-1950’s.  Our neighborhood was simple ranch houses and barely any trees.  The land use to be an apple orchard – from what I remember.  We had two tiny crab apple trees in the backyard- maybe they were leftovers??

The neighbor across the street and about 3 houses down had a very large apple tree in their front yard.  They would hand out baskets of apples each year to the neighbors.  They were the kindest people.  In the winter the father would attach the snow plow to his truck and do our driveway.

I remember my older brother laying in the living room window with a flashlight and sending morse code to their son.  It just excited me to no end.

One of the fun things that would happen on our street in the summer were the vendors.  We had the year round milk man and the bread man deliveries.  I remember my mom staying up to watch Johnny Carson and grabbing the milk at about one in the morning from the milk box at the back door to prevent it from freezing.

I have early memories of two unique vending trucks.  One was a produce man who drove around the neighborhood with awnings on the back of his truck and a variety of fruit and vegetables to choose from.  This image isn’t the exact truck – but you get the idea.  I think this one is older.

Produce for Sale!
Produce for Sale!

The next guy was quite unique.  We would hear a loud bell ringing and run and tell mom that the knife sharpener was coming!  That was a fascination to me.  I could use one of them now.

Knife Sharpener
Knife Sharpener

The best and the one that lasted the longest was the Ice Cream Man.  We had two brands that came around. Carnival and Good Humor.  We loved the Good Humor truck the best and was disappointed when only the Carnival truck was seen that day.

Carnival Ice Cream
Carnival Ice Cream
Good Humor Ice Cream
Good Humor Ice Cream

I loved the gentle sound of the bells ringing (not like todays annoying “songs” playing over and over).  I loved the change thingy on his belt.  And I loved the sky blue popsicles and the lime ones!

Seems we never had to go anywhere to get treats.  Right to your door.

There were two things we did not like coming to our door or down our street.  One was the local farmer’s bull that seemed to get out now and then and pick our street to take a stroll.  I remember – not sure it really happened this way – but in my active mind I remember standing at the screen door with my brother and watching the bull coming down the street.  My brother was holding a box of Sugar Pops Cereal and began to shake it.  The bull turned and started to come toward our door only to be thwarted by our mom who promptly slammed the door shut.  Shortly after that the farmer was seen escorting his bull back up the street and home to greener pastures.

The second and most dreaded truck to be heard coming was the Mosquito Killing Truck!  No warning.  Just a sound of a motor and our mom yelling, “SHUT THE WINDOWS!  SHUT THE WINDOWS AND GET IN THE HOUSE!”


I can remember a cousin of mine – when we visited his family’s summer home – riding his bike behind the truck and getting covered with that stuff.  He is still alive today, thank goodness.  They no long do this type of spraying, I believe.  Where we last lived at the shore they would spray the storm drains and that did the trick.

Memories of simpler times and neighbors coming out their houses, saying hello, and catching up with the latest family news or gossip.  I have good neighbors now but no one talks to each other.  Just a wave and a hello and we all go our separate ways.  I do know that if I needed them or they needed me we would help each other.  At least that much still exists.


cate b



Author: Cate B

I'm a writer/blogger. I am in love with Creation and especially THE Creator. He is my best friend. I love to write and I love to bake – especially pie – and I love to crochet – among other creative things…….. I am passionate about the potential I see in others…….. I want to help them get there.

19 thoughts on “Truck Vendors – My Memories of The Jersey Shore”

  1. Oh, I do miss the ice cream truck! I can smell the freshly-cut grass and feel the heat in the air. ….. Looking at the photo of the Good Humour truck guy……that change maker he’s wearing, I remember when gas station attendants would wear those…..where did all the attendants go, huh? Miss them doing the windshield, checking the oil, etc.

    1. well, in NJ they still have them – more modern – it is against the law to pump your own gas. I love that law. It saves me getting out of car and getting messy and it gives people jobs. I have a sticker on my fridge – Jersey Girls Don’t Pump Gas! Ha. And I haven’t since I moved to mid-west – hubby always does it. I’m not a princess…….

  2. You opened a can of memories for me – when I was a child the vans all called – the grocer, the fish-monger, the bread man, and the Rawleighs man. I was always fascinated by them.

  3. ahhh, i can hear Barbara singing “Memories”….la la la la la….
    we still have the ice cream truck around here, but never ever see the Good Humor guy…wish we did, that was my fave!!! it’s the ice guy now…but the kids love him…they have nothing to compare him too….and you’re right, the dreaded songs over and over and over….i wonder if the driver goes nuts hearing those songs…YIKES…
    yep, the good ol’ days…we have lots to share with our g-kids…. i laugh and wonder somtimes, do you think they’ll believe the stories we’re gonna tell them???? lol….i think they’ll like this one!

  4. Oh, I remember, too; I was born in 1950, and I remember the ice cream truck (though don’t remember if it was Good Humor). I also recall the DDT truck – horrible stuff! We all had to run inside and shut the windows as well. UGH! I also loved having gas station attendants and truly miss the “wing windows” in automobiles. What the heck ever happened to those? I’ve got one for you. Do you remember the Burma Shave signs on the roadways? Used to love those, too!

    1. HAHAHA. Yes! Such fun times. I’m so glad you have the great memories also. I really hope our kids and grand kids have great memories also. 😄

  5. Ah, Cate, such sweet and wonderful memories you have. I really enjoy reading them, thanks for sharing.
    God’s Blessings, my friend.

  6. I’d almost forgotten this part of my life Cate! We used to buy from truck and bicycle vendors too!!! Vegetables, fish, baked breads with jams, local puff pastries filled with curried potatoes and of course ice cream! Thanks for this trip down memory lane 😀

      1. Singapore Cate. But it wasn’t as developed yet. It was a time where our toilets were bucket system. We are a very young nation 🙂

        1. That must be amazing to see the progress just in your short lifetime….. my husband grew up on a farm in Idaho with an outhouse – but he is older than you. 😉

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