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



Ann with an E

One of the prompts this week for the NaBloPoMo blogging challenge is:
If you had to switch your first name, what name would you choose and why?
I can remember starting my education at the local elementary school and finding a few other girls with the same first name as mine.  I was an extremely shy child and withdrawn in social settings but I do remember saying my name and adding that it began with “C” and not “K”.  It seemed the name Kathy was very popular in the 1950’s and most seemed to be spelled with a K-athy.  I knew back in Beginners that I wanted to be different.  In my upbringing there was little encouragement to be yourself so I muddled along trying my best to be their version of me. 
When I discovered that my grandmother referred to me as Catherine I was thrilled.  Every letter or card or comic subscription or birthday check was sent to Catherine, not Cathy.  My mother was livid.  She had named me Cathy Lynn NOT Catherine.  I wanted to be Catherine so bad because it was different and I wanted to be different.  I kept that secret desire to myself.  Most of my school mates who were called Kathy were Kathleen.  Catherine was different.
It was only about ten years ago my husband started calling me Cate.  I felt like I came alive.  That was me.  I wasn’t plain Cathy – I was adventurous and fun-loving Cate – with a “C”.
*** Please KNOW that I do not think of those named Cathy or Kathy as plain people.  I thought of me that way.***
Cate took off.  Most of my friends who truly knew me agreed that I was a Cate.  Some who just met me thought I was a Catherine.
I have always had to say to people it’s Cathy with a “C” because they automatically spelled it with a “K”.  I even looked on as they would hear me, but write it with a “K” after I said a “C”.  Now I have people actually say they thought my name was Catherine (with a C) but spell Cate with a “K”.  Why would they do that?  It makes no sense to me. 
I realize it really isn’t so very important that others get it right as long as I do.  Or is it?  I do think one’s name is important and spelling it correctly does mean a lot to the named.  My name is my label, so to speak.  Each name has a meaning and an origin.  They do say a lot.  Cathy means Pure (as does Catherine) and Lynn means of the Lake.  Pure Lake – that is lovely.  I like to think of myself as a Pure Lake or One of the Pure Lake…….
I relate so well to the character Anne in the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy M. Montgomery 
Anne: I’ve always imagined that my name was Cordelia – at least, I always have of late years. When I was young I used to imagine it was Geraldine, but I like Cordelia better now. But if you call me Anne, please call me Anne spelled with an e.
Marilla: What difference does it make how it’s spelled?
Anne: Oh, it makes such a difference. It looks so much nicer. When you hear a name pronounced can’t you always see it in your mind, just as if it was printed out? I can; and A-N-N looks dreadful, but A-N-N-E looks so much more distinguished. If you’ll only call me Anne spelled with an e I shall try to reconcile myself to not being called Cordelia.
Get happy with your name.  Look up the meaning and the origin.  It is very fascinating.  I really don’t think my mother looked it up prior to naming me.  I’ll never know.  But I like what she came up with – and my Grandmother’s help also 🙂
cate (with a “c”) b
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