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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Snail Mail Trail & other visitors to the home

Recently in the light of the morning sun beaming through one of our back windows we were treated to a design that at first we were puzzled about it's origin -- but not for long -- the trail was the meandering of a resident snail:


I think it mirrors the actual route of our current mail delivery . . . just kidding, though it got me to thinking about the other visitors that arrive at our doorstep on a random basis. From my vantage point at my desk I can usually spot visitors or delivery type folks before they even get to our door. Of course the mail does not arrive at our door -- it is put into the box at the street.  Only UPS, Fed Ex and folks like that actually make it to our door. The mailman "beeps" from the driveway if he has a package to deliver so that we'll go outside to pick it up (we have a dog, though he never is loose in the front).

Growing up I remember the mail being delivered right to our front door -- twice per day -- a morning delivery and an afternoon delivery. Also we received a morning daily newspaper and an afternoon daily paper. And there were many products that came via home delivery. Of course the most remembered delivery for me was the "milk man" who delivered all kinds of dairy products to the door and sometimes even brought them inside. Another home vendor was an "orangeade juice" vendor that came bringing absolutely delicious juices.

When I visited my Grandparents home in Chicago there were even more interesting vendors -- the "ragmen" who walked the streets yelling "rags for sale" and they usually had a variety of things to sell or to buy. Then there were the knife sharpeners -- who pushed a large stone-grinding wheel around and for a few cents would sharpen your knives and scissors.  The garbage in those days was picked up from the back of the houses -- it was not dragged by the homeowners to the front street. In the case of my Grandparent's home there was an alley for that purpose.

Back out in the suburbs where I lived -- there were many other vendors like -- the Fuller Brush men, Watson Sales People, Jewel Tea Truck Route Salespeople, magazine sellers and of course vacuum salesmen. So many door-to-door folks.  Many of the vendors I had no contact with -- but there were some that I really wanted to have contact with -- the Good Humor Truck -- whenever it played it's jingles it brought me and most of my friends running to buy ice cream:


I know that I spent a fair amount of my allowance and other accumulated funds for Good Humor treats. In the post World War II years with the explosion of growth in real estate and particularly in the suburbs I really remember another phenomenon that has changed our way of life so-to-speak and that is how we obtained dinner items sometimes. Besides the introduction of McDonalds which I remember came to our neighboring town in the 50s -- there was the ever popular ditty heard on the radio starting in the early afternoon of -- "Don't Cook Tonight -- Get Chicken Delight" and it had to do with calling up and ordering a tasty batch of fried chicken and having it delivered right to you door . . . kind of like some pizza still today:


The chicken arrived at your house delivered by a vehicle with a huge plastic chicken on it's roof -- for all the neighbors to see "who wasn't cooking that night" . . . it was good though and I believe that in some parts of the country it is still available.

I got to wondering how many of the folks in my family tree made their living via home delivered products -- and I'm sure that there are many -- but one in particular comes to mind -- my Uncle Frank -- who actually is my Grand Uncle Frank Johnson. He started his working career in the Midwest and then in the 40s moved to Ukiah, California. A town interestingly enough fairly close (within an hour's drive) from where I currently live in Healdsburg. Frank married my Grandmother's sister, Lillian, who went by the name of La La:


In Ukiah in the 1940s Uncle Frank bought the "Ukiah Valley Creamery" and he owned that into the 1970s. He and LaLa had an interesting life in Ukiah -- they were both active in the community (Frank ran for city councilman) and as hobby he grew Orchids in a greenhouse behind their home. But the creamery products were besides being carried by local stores  home-delivered by Frank:





The above shows an example of a newspaper ad for Ukiah Valley Creamery (Ukiah News 1954) and two of the milk caps from their line.


So there you have some of my recollections of home delivery from the past -- we still though get frequent home delivered products -- mostly from Amazon -- and some other catalog type ordering. We very seldom get solicited for other things though every once in a while somebody "slips" through -- if they are kids supporting a school cause we usually are susceptible . . .

Now if they could only deliver "White Castles" . . . but we look forward to some home prepared sliders tonight. See you in a few.

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