Monday, January 18, 2016

Remembering Dad #9: Dad the Milkman

Dad was a milkman for the Borden Dairy Company. On his route he delivered milk and other products to people's homes.



The way this was done back in the 1950s is that Dad would leave the house early in the morning before anyone else was awake. When his milk truck was ready, he delivered the milk to the customers on his route. Milk was usually left at the customer's back door, and it was up to the customer to bring his or her milk inside before it got too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. The milk was delivered in glass bottles with a round piece of cardboard capping the top.

Milk came whole or homogenized. Whole milk had about a quarter cream which rose to and floated on top. People poured that off and used it for coffee or for whipped cream, or shook the bottle to mix it and then poured themselves a glass. Mmm-mmm! No one worried about milk fat back then. Skimmed milk was available, though. At the dairy, the fat rose to the top of the vat and was skimmed off before bottling. Now one rarely hears it called skim milk. Instead we say non-fat. As far as 1% and 2% milk, I never heard of it in my childhood.

Sometimes, if Dad had finished his milk route by the time I was leaving for school, he would give me a ride in the truck. This was pretty exciting for a little first grader. When I stepped off the truck and onto the playground, my friends gathered round. "How did you get a ride in that milk truck?" "My Dad's a milk man!" That usually resulted in words of approval or envy.

On a hot summer day, if Dad came by, my friends, brother John, sister Joan and I would beg him for a big chunk of ice. The trucks were not refrigerated then. So the milk, cream and butter were chilled inside crates (not plastic) on top of huge ice blocks. I must admit that the ice wasn't necessarily sanitary. Embedded in the ice there could be little insect creatures or parts thereof. So we weren't supposed to put it in our mouths. Mainly we just wanted to cool off. When Dad was gone, though, well.... Let's just say, if you couldn't see a critter in there, it tasted pretty good.

Here's some trivia about Borden's Milk. Elsie, the cow, was Borden's original mascot. Later she married Elmer. Elmer and Elsie begat Beulah, Beauregaard, and twins, Larabee and Lobelia. All these bovines were used in advertising with Elsie being the most popular. In our home we had an Elsie creamer on our kitchen table.

Today Elmer is still well-known. He is the mascot for Elmer's Glue, which was orignally produced by the Borden Chemical Division.
At some point, and I'm not sure when, Dad changed dairies and drove for the Wanzer Milk Company, a popular brand of milk in Chicago. They has a classy jingle: "Wanzer on milk is like sterling on silver." But, as a child I never understood what that meant. But we did drink lots of Wanzer Milk!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post! We were remenicing around the breakfast table this Mother's Day and couldn't remember which milk company used that "sterling on silver" slogan. I, too, didn't understand what it meant when I was a kid, but I never forgot it! I just couldn't remember the brand. I couldn't believe my google search found this great old memory. Thanks again!

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