Tuesday, May 11, 2010

the old days of home milk delivery

We were sitting here last evening and I got to thinking about the days as in my title "home milk delivery". Lets go way back to when I was a kid growing up in the prefabs in Liverpool Nova Scotia in the 1950's when our milk man arrived in our neighborhood each morning to seeing empty milk bottles with money in them on the doorsteps of each house . I don't recall ever hearing about any money being stolen. Not only did he deliver our milk but he did it in a horse drawn wagon. Each morning I would hear the horses tack ,a sound that if heard today floods my mind with visual memories, might even make my mouth water at the thought of those lovely little glass bottles full of the best chocolate milk any little chubby girl could ever want. And I see still the paper caps on the bottles . My birthday is in February and I remember every party I had Mom would order a case of this Chocolate milk for my friend's and I and we would suck up our delicious Chocolate treat with a straw.
Those memories I treasure but there is more I want to share with you regarding the milk wagon and that would be what the horse left behind to be scooped up fresh daily by many households , but one very dear lady "Pearl" a few doors up from us. She would run out every morning to collect the fresh still warm horse waste for her garden. But, something I don't remember is what happened to any waste that didn't get scooped up by gardeners, I don't ever recall stepping in any and I don't remember the town getting rid of it back then so I guess we just stepped around it. Those were the days my friends, those were the days. Try and leave an empty bottle with money in it on your doorstep and see what would happen today. Sad to say but the milk bottle would be broken probably into the street and the money would be gone. The sad thing is ,this act would most likely be done by young adults not children these days.
Now, let me share another fond memory from the early ,mid sixties again here in Liverpool, The "ice cream truck" owned by a family friend of ours back then. He had a gold mine with that rig, it played a tune as he drove along and we kid's would hear him coming and run to get our few pennies for ice cream, beaming with excitement as he turned the corner unto our street. The kid's would run along behind him with joy and laughter, oh so good and tasty those treats were as well yummy memories.
When we moved to Charleston in 1985 I was thrilled to see that we had home milk delivery from a truck not horse drawn wagon, but it was still the same in the way we would leave a note and money for him, this milk man became a friend of ours ,we bought our first cow from him and I am thankful our son got to see a world when these simple little things like home milk delivery was a way of life. Of course when we got cows and goats ,we no longer needed our milk man ,we would then instead go to the barn and get our own to then make cheese ,yogurt all that good stuff as well as homemade ice cream. I remember there was a gentleman who dug graves when needed up the road in the cemetery which the land was once owned and donated to the community by our Tom ,he today has a place of honor there, to rest near his homestead.This grave digger use to stop by our house and ask for a jar of fresh milk for his lunch break, so I guess we were kind of milk men ourselves.
I remember we went to see Tom many times when he lived in the nursing home in Middlefield after he had to leave his homestead because of his health, he thought the world of us and we of him. I often would say to him that the old house and farm was still his to visit and stay whenever he liked and that we were just kind of looking after it for him. The Nursing home he lived in would at times take the residents on a road trip to see the sites and what they would do is drop Tom off at our/his house to spend the day with us and he would lie on the sofa when he got tired and pet the dog and tell us wonderful stories about when he was a boy living there on our /his farm. Stories referring to his Mom as "Mother" Tom was the baby and stayed unmarried on the farm and took care of his Mom and Dad until their death to remain there for years by himself. He told us about his memory of two black men who came ,slept in the barn for a couple days while they plastered the walls in the house,his sister ,Mom and Dad slept in the L-chamber while the work was being done. His sister lived just down the road around the corner from us and we use to visit her a lot to hear great stories from her as well. We were putting our bathroom in upstairs ,in fact we found out this room was her bedroom, we had to take up a few floor boards and to our surprise we found pieces of a little tea set, yes I took this little tea set to her , she teared and told me the story of how her tea set went missing during the plastering of the walls, the tea set was missing for all those years to be found by us then to be returned to it's elderly owner. She was thrilled. Over the years we found a few interesting things in and around this 20 acre property but another special item I remember is one day Chuck was down in the cellar where there were stone walls and dirt floor. He was down there working when he came to me with a very dirty something ,after washing it off I discovered a wonderful tortoise shell hair pin, it was absolutely beautiful and was real tortoise shell and very old . I took this treasure down to "Alwilda" what a beautiful name she had. I heard about the day that "Mother and Father" were in the cellar digging it out and "Mother" lost her hair pin in the dirt. Alwilda was tickled pink to be given her Mother's hair pin back, but sadly I believe her returned treasures may have not been kept by anyone after her death, I didn't have the heart to ask for these things back after she died thinking and hoping that someone very close to her might want to keep them and their memories but I don't believe it was the case.I am heart broken to have lost these things but well things happen and I do still have my memories to take the place of the physical things. One day Chuck and our son Clay were in the cellar doing something and they came up with a gleam in their eyes and what they found were two very old American pennies dated 1854 , we still have them ,they were buried in the dirt near the stone walls. Tom then told us how he remembered two men who were hired to put the stone walls up, I believe these pennies may have been lost from one of their pockets . I laughed and I told Clay and Chuck to go back down and stay until they found the rest of the money , but , they only found two cents .Funny you know ,how things happen, when we moved into the farm there was not a lot left behind, an old organ which we tried to keep but it simply took up too much room and a couple of old trunks that I still have today. It seemed whenever we were working around and needed something ...sure enough that something we needed would mysteriously appear somewhere hanging in the barn , which we must have overlooked before. One day we were putting up cattle fence and Chuck needed something to put his nails in and wow!!in the far shop was hanging an old white canvas carpenters apron filled with nails, where did this come from we asked? We had never seen it before, a lot of times stuff like this would happen. We believe River Bend Farm was there waiting for us with it's toilet in the kitchen because Tom did not want to spend too much money putting it anywhere else only a cold water tape in the kitchen, he had a drilled well put in a couple years before we came but before that he carried water from the dug well across the road from the house. We had a great 23 years there in that community to then in 2007 sell it to people we believe were sent to us by maybe Tom and Alwilda , for the people who bought from us are perfect for our old homestead and Love it as much as we did and do still. Over those years all that we found in and around the property ,old tools anything connected to the farm that was there waiting for us ,we left for the new owners. You know we were for sale for three years ,that is a long time but I believe we were waiting for our new third owners . I wrote a long letter to them ,telling them where Tom was buried and all the history we knew about the property, the four little graves on blueberry hill for instance where you can still see the old picket fence which surrounded it half buried amongst the blueberry bushes. Our new owner's have been up to the Charleston Cemetery to visit with our Tom, how sweet of them, I told you they were meant to own our little piece of Heaven. They are very spiritual people.
My goodness,back to the blueberries , I would pick and pick and one day I was cleaning my berries on my back deck when a bird flew over my head and dropped believe it or not...dropped blueberry droppings on my head, I think i was being told that day to save some berries for them. Tom use to make his living by cutting pulp wood from his at that time couple hundred acres and we actually found the remains of his old wooden wheel barrow in the woods on the side of the barn., too broken up to save unfortunately.
But the memories live on.


  1. Remember when we had the hairy 8 legged visitor come up from the stone cellar? I saw it on the drapes and first we tried to suck it up in the vacuum...... biggest freaking spider I've ever seen! You called Daddy at work and he just laughed so you called Alfie our neighbor. When he came in we were both standing on the table and when you saw he only had a fly swatter in his hand you said he'd need a baseball bat! He got rid of the spider and even he said it was the biggest he'd ever seen and he was in his 80's!

    Daddy never did believe the size of that spider -as big as my hand! Maybe he was guarding those pennies and came up because he was bored!

  2. Oh My God "Sissy"...yes I do remember that. It was a huge river spider and over the years I believe I did see another..but that boy was big enough to have us for dinner.And I remember like you said Alfie thinking we were too scared city chicks and he ended up jumping about when he first hit it and it fellto the floor and took off near his feet.