My father was a delivery man. His service was dry cleaning and there isn’t much call for that anymore. If you do get dry cleaning done it is usually dropped at the plant or one of their pick up locations (if you live in a small town). Permanent press fabrics and washing machines have replaced the hours my Dad used to spend in his truck, driving to people’s homes and picking up little bundles of clothes and then returning them two days later.
The milk man may have been one of the all time favourites and those of us who grew up in prior to 1965 remember the little trap doors beside the back door where the milk was placed. It opened on the inside and the outside and you left a note in it if you wanted to change your order by adding more butter, some cream or an extra quart of milk. For those who didn’t have quite so much convenience the milk was left outside and if you didn’t get to it quickly enough in the winter the little paper cap on top of the bottle would be floating high above on a frozen popsicle of cream. My mom loved it when that happened because she could just slice off the cream and put it in a pitcher rather than trying to pour it off carefully without it mixing in to the milk.
Besides the convenience of not having the delivery man there is the lack of camaraderie and fun that used to come with his arrival. My Dad loved visiting with people and they always enjoyed his ready smile. The milk man stopped at almost every house and would always be followed around in summer months and on holidays by a swarm of school kids wanting to pass the time. I actually remember when he had a horse and it was fun for town kids to pet a horse.
In our neighbourhood we also had an ice man during the summer months. There were cottages in the neighbourhood and some of them were not equipped with refrigerators. That meant there was an ice box in the house and if we managed to get there at the right moment the corners of the block of ice would meet with his hatchet and find their way into our eager little hands. What delight to suck on the ice as it melted in our fingers and cooled our warm bodies.
I am sad this is something else younger generations will only read about. Jokes about kids looking like the milk man will escape their understanding. Everything comes from the store and the only throwback they will ever know to the deliver man is the UPS driver who shows up with their new electronics or the pizza delivery person.
Please share your memories of the delivery man.