October 13, 2010

With good humor, trucks delivered food and other products directly to our doors come rain or shine

Click on pictures to enlarge

By Frank Barning
Most moms were house bound in the early days of Levittown. As a rule, families had only one car and dad drove it to work.

It was a huge help to the homemaker, known as "the little woman" in those days, that trucks delivered food and other products directly to her door. John Kinstrey, class of 1961, remembers a truck selling produce. I recall vehicles (many from Renken) selling milk, cream and butter. Borden's did a lot of business from its trucks. Milk came in glass, returnable bottles. On extremely cold days, milk would freeze and pop out of the top of the bottle, through the paper cap.

Bakery goods were peddled by Dugan's and Krug trucks. My mother, who had an off-beat sense of humor, referred to the bakery trucks as Krugan's. One of them had wonderful cupcakes. I can remember peeling off and devouring the delicious icing before eating the glorious yellow cake. The Dugan's cupcakes came with either chocolate, vanilla or strawberry icing, and the jellyrolls and coffee cakes were real treats.

If she wanted Dugan's to stop, mom put a D in a front window. There even were Dugan's toy trucks for sale, which I do not remember, but have seen offered on the internet.

Fuller Brush men vigorously worked the thousand lanes of Levittown. According to Wikipedia, "During the 1940s and 1950s, the ubiquitous Fuller Brush salesman became a cultural icon, inspiring comedy and jokes, movies, and at least one song." There was a  1948 movie starring Red Skelton called 'The Fuller Brush Man." The company is still in business and has kept up with the times, offering environmentally safe cleaning products that are nontoxic and biodegradable. I have no idea if they still have salesmen trudging door to door.

Since our homes were heated by oil, trucks delivered our fuel. Meenan Oil seemed to have a virtual monopoly and its big green trucks appeared to be everywhere in the winter. I can still smell the stench emitted by the big hose that poured out the precious black gold. The company is still in business

And, of course, Levittown had a virtual parade of ice cream trucks in warm weather. Bungalow Bar was my favorite, many preferred Good Humor, and there were lesser known brands that made a profit primarily on the personality of the driver. Midge Bollinger, class of 1960, remembers the Blue Bell ice cream truck driven by Cosmo. He only drove on the north side of Levittown.

After all these years, just about nothing tastes better than those scrumptious  Dugan's cupcakes and Good Humor Toasted Almond bars. After a Google search, it was learned that Toasted Almond bars are still being manufactured by Good Humor. Walmart and other retailers stock them. Hey, it's time to go shopping.


susan weldon said...

yup, dugans
yup, meenan
i don't think our milkman was from borden's
we had seltzer delivered in real glass spritzer bottles
i named a cat after cosmo!!

Marilyn Monsrud Frese said...

Remember the glass milk bottles that had the top of the glass bottle shaped like a ball for the cream to rise into? My sister and I used to race for the new milk delivery to drink the cream out of the top of the bottle! UHG- sounds awful now...but we sure loved it! (but then again, I also LIKED the Cod Liver Oil my mom gave us every morning!- we called it Fish Oil, which of course was correct. )

Anonymous said...

We had Dugan's delivery and also dairy delivery.
I was a skinny kid and my mother would order "Golden Guernsey" milk that was thick with cream for me. I always loved milk and looked forward to the deliveries.
Like Marilyn, I never had a problem with cod liver oil.
I had a crush on the kid who delivered Good Humor in the summer and would buy ice cream at home and then run to my friend's house to buy more!

June Johnson said...

OOPS ! Somehow my comments were posted as "Anonymous"...that's me !
June Johnson

Larry Bory said...

There was also cleaners who picked up and delivered clothes and a guy who sharpened knives who had a really creepy bell, not like th friendly good humor jingle.

RoAnne Debbins said...

I still have a seltzer bottle delivered by Pinky! His name is on base of the spritzer.

renee said...

WOW! I remember Dugan's Bungalow Bar and Good Humor. And milk delivered to the side door, the Fuller Brush man and Beauty Counselor. Kids today don't know what they're missing!

Lilette Levy said...

I not only remember Good Humor and Bungalow Bar, but I also remember Howard Johnsons coming in a truck that looked like a little house but fancier than the Bungalow Bar Truck. Their ice cream had a special taste that was different than the others. I also remember Charlie Chips delivering potato chips. My mom always felt they were unhealthy but I used to eat them at other people's houses. They were so thin and delicious and fresh. Do they still come around? Lilette Levy Bagwin

bucket trucks said...

Yes the vans meant food in fact and even today however urbanization has reigned us still trucks and van are the root of business and goods delivery.Through hail and storm they have to deliver in time and make us happy.

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Anonymous said...

Very briefly, was a large vehicle, bigger than the travelling library, that we called the "travelling supermarket." It predatd the Greens' Sunrise markets and filled the niche needed by one car families- many-- and housewives who didn't drive. It had bread, eggs, butter etc., milk, ice cream and of course 5 cent candy bars at the check-out.

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Anonymous said...

Remember singing this little jingle. "Bungalow Bar, tastes like tar, the more you eat it, the sicker you are." Thanks for the walk down memory lane.