Thursday, November 29, 2007

Home Deliveries

Back in the 50's, you could get many services via home delivery and never leave your house. I'm not sure if there were delivery charges attached, or if it was just included in the cost of doing business (as I was too young to pay bills back then :-)).

Our most common delivery was milk. We used Sealtest. The Sealtest truck was a grayish mauve color with a reddish/cranberry Sealtest logo, as I recall. The driver always stood up to drive (which I found very weird). We had a milkbox at the side step. Our standard order was three quarts of white milk and one quart of chocolate (for Barb - she wouldn't drink milk at all unless it was chocolate). Every once in awhile mom would get cottage cheese. They had specials in pretty containers of different types - I remember one that came in sparkly plastic glasses that you could keep for drinking glasses when the cottage cheese was gone. My Grandma Schick got her milk from Driggs. It never tasted the same. The Driggs truck was yellow with a cow on it. They did have really good ice cream, though.

We also had the Nickles breadman. I'm not sure how often he came - I think it was a couple of times a week. We always got Nickles bread and the glazed doughnuts were absolutely wonderful!

We had a Charles Chip man for a short time. Charles Chips, which are still available at Kazmaiers (and not as good as I remember them to be) came in a big can, which you recycles when it was empty. They also had Charles Pretzels, too. I'm sure I'm still carrying some Charles Chip fat in my stomach :-(.

I mentioned the Fordham's Grocery deliveries before. We would walk down to the grocery store on occasion, but we mostly got groceries delivered. Grocery stores back then did NOT have all the fancy items they have now. The local store was famous for good meats and good basic services. I don't remember too much about the store itself, other than that was the first place I ever had Land-o-Lakes Cheese. It was really really good. Mom would get a triangular piece of cheddar wrapped in cellophane with the LOL logo on it every once in awhile. It was wonderful cheese.

Bobb's Cleaners also made pick-ups and deliveries. My dad had to wear suits to work so this was a necessary service. Back in those days people dressed up for work and to go downtown shopping. I'm sure dry cleaners were in their hey-day back in those days. Bobb's was located on S. Detroit near S. Byrne Rd. They closed a few years ago and the store is the site where the controversial carry-out is supposed to go in. There hasn't been anything in the Blade lately, so I don't know if the guy chickened out after all the neighborhood hoopla.

We also had a huckster, which is what my mom called Eddie the vegetable man. Eddie went to high school with my mom. He sold fruits and vegetables during the summer and drove a heating oil delivery truck in the winter time. He also let my mom run a tab and visited every other day during the summer. We got sweet corn, strawberries, apples, celery, carrots, and other fruits and veggies from him. He would go to the downtown farmer's market early in the morning to get his wares and then travel all over South Toledo in his old converted white truck that had a bell and a scale hanging on the back corner.

I think that about covers home deliveries. These seem like luxuries now, but in pre-supermarket days, they were necessities. Supermarkets really didn't come into their own until the late 50's and early 60's. This was still the time of corner and neighborhood stores with the local butcher putting the meat on the table. My grandmother (dad's mom) always used Buck's Grocery store on Glendale (used to be Lark's until it closed). She always had fancy rolled rib roasts for Christmas dinner. I haven't seen one of those since I was a kid. I can't imagine what they would cost now. A big standing rib costs over $50 or more. The rolled rib had the bones cut out and rolled up so you could slice it without worrying about the bones. They were delicious!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Yellow Kitchen

When I think back to what my earliest memories are, there are only snapshots in my mind - sort of like a picture with no dialog to go with it. I seem to have a very foggy memory of being in a yellow kitchen. I don't think our kitchen on Tully was ever yellow. I think I asked mom about this once and I _think_ she said that the kitchen on Federal St. was yellow. Since we moved from there onto Tully in June, 1950, I was only about a year old when this foggy memory was created.

My parents were married October 26, 1946 at Park Church. They moved in with dad's parents for a few months until the apartment on the east side became available. Post-war housing was tight and there was just nothing available for the deluge of men coming back from the war. My great grandmother passed away, supposedly from over-anesthetization for a cholescystectomy (gall bladder removal). Anesthesiology wasn't the science then that it is now. She was a big woman and they probably weren't sure how much to give her. She was living in the east side apartment.

My grandma, mom's mom, inherited the house after great grandma's death along with her two siblings. She bought them out and that's how south enders ended up on the east side. It was a duplex. Grandma and Grandpa lived downstairs and mom and dad lived upstairs. My mother has told me a few things about their life in that apartment. They used to entertain and have parties. Their friends Ty and Doris came over. Mom had a pretty little coffee table with some sort of flowers on the top. Apparently Doris left her cigarette in an ashtray and it fell off and burned a spot on the top of this table, which was then there forever. The table came over to Tully and mom fumed about it every time she saw it.

They were one of the first ones in the neighborhood to get a television set. Dad had to have it to watch baseball games. Please remember that not much was ON TV in 1947-48. It was very expensive but mom sucked it up and dad got his television. Anyone that actually knew my dad would NOT be surprised at this revelation, as he really liked new electronic things.

Mom cooked her first chicken in the oven there. Apparently she took the timing in the cookbook very strictly, pulled it out to serve it, and it wasn't done. I think we've ALL done that number at some point in time.

Grandma had a small store attached to their apartment downstairs. My great grandparents had run it as a grocery, but grandma changed it to a variety store. I'll talk about the store some other time.

I came along in February, 1949. Mom quit working to stay home with me. There was no question about this decision back in those days. My dad was working, I believe, as a bookkeeper for a grain company and was learning the ropes to be a broker in the future. He had started out working as a board marker at Collin Norton downtown. Back in those days the futures quotes and cash grain prices came through on a ticker tape. There were no electronic boards then. Dad learned to mark board before he went into the service.

There are existing pictures of me in my baby carriage on the porch. I was six weeks old. There are also pics of my dad with Bunny, the cat. We always had a cat, because dad always had a cat. Bunny was named after Bunny Berrigan, the jazz trumpeter, I believe. I'll have to check with mom about that. Apparently they had to get rid of Bunny when I was starting to walk because I tried to sit on her, and she almost scratched me.

I'm not sure how they ended up on Tully. I know a realtor showed them around various south end neighborhoods, and mom said they looked in Heatherdowns also, but didn't like the cookie cutter look of those houses over there. I do know the apartment became too small, and my dad was doing better. I think they both wanted to be in the south end again. At the time, Beverly School was located at the end of Tully on the corner of S. Detroit and Glanzman. The "new" Beverly wasn't built until 1952. Mom thought I'd only have a half a block to walk to school. We did not have a car then.

S. Detroit was U.S. Route 25 back then, and was a major truck route. It was still only a two lane road, and there was lots of traffic going by. At the end of the street was an underground tunnel that the school kids used to cross the street. There were little brick houses built at the tunnel entrances. The squares where these were are still in existence near the corners. The Anthony Wayne Trail was built, but there were no expressways or the Ohio Turnpike until 1955.

The house was a one and a half story frame with two bedrooms. The front door opened right into the small living room. The bathroom was straight back. One bedroom was in the front (mom and dad), and one was in the back (mine, and later on both of us). The kitchen was off to the right. There was a full basement. The attic was unfinished. There was a huge gravity furnace in the basement. The kitchen was incredibly small by today's standards. We had a drop leaf table in the kitchen - the same table grandma has in her apartment now. That was on the right side of the kitchen. The left side consisted of the stove, a bit of counter, the sink, and another bit of counter space. The refrigerator made up the bottom of the "L" layout and was next to the stove. There was a small storage space next to it in the chimney corner between the fridge and the stove.

The fridge was a Philco and had only one door. It had a tiny freezer which was good for an ice tray and a couple of pieces of meat for the week. There was a meat tray and a couple of shelves. There were no door shelves. Refrigerators didn't have those until much later.

This terrible picture shows how the front looked and has a handle on the left exactly like ours! - this is an eBay listing and shows OUR refrigerator. Barb, do you remember it? Not sure how long this will stay up.

Our groceries were delivered by Fordham's market, which was located on Rugby Dr. next to where "Piece of Cake" is now. It was in the space which is currently empty and displayed "for rent." They delivered the groceries in a black truck, I think. Mom would call in an order and they would deliver. She could run a tab. I'm not sure how often they had to pay the tab. The drug store was a couple of doors down and they let them run a tab also. People were very trusting in those days.

As I type this, I find that I could just run on forever, and that is not what I want to do. I could like to explore this in further detail, but it's late. I will take this up again soon.


A new start for my blog with a new title

I have decided to start my blog afresh, as a "ranting" format was not working for me. I have received word recently that my cousin is in hospice. She is only three weeks older than I. I have decided there are many things I want to tell Oliver and any future grandchildren that I have and time could be a-wasting. I don't have any time line in mind. I just want to impart my memories as well as I can remember them so that my grand kids have some idea of who I am now and who I might become as I, hopefully, age. As the stories of grandparents are sometimes boring and repetitive to children and grandchildren, this blog can be accessed whenever anyone would like to read it, or not.

Some entries may be long, some very short. They are snapshots in my mind that I would like to put out there for perusal. They don't necessarily have to mean anything to the reader. They will just BE there.

I have left my previous postings under "Rantings of a Microbiologist" mostly intact. There were a couple that I deleted as they really didn't serve any purpose. However, for historical purposes I left them in there, as they do reflect my thoughts at the time.

I will begin under another header.