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Good Old Days

Bud the Milkman

September 7, 2020


I grew up on Lemon Avenue in Arcadia, California, the epicenter of my good old days. The San Gabriel Valley is just up the Pasadena Freeway from downtown Los Angeles. In the 1960s no one in our neighborhood locked their doors at night. Maybe people were different then, more law abiding, more moral. But if we had locked our doors, Bud the Milkman couldn't have done his job.

Twice a week, early in the morning, Bud would walk in our back door, head to our refrigerator and check our milk, butter and eggs. He knew how many quarts of whole and non-fat milk we kept in the fridge, how many eggs and how much butter. Whatever was missing, he replaced and slipped out the back door. Then, on the back step, he'd stop to pick up the empty glass milk bottles. The clear ones, were whole milk, the brown glass was non-fat.

In the summer, Bud would come mid-mornings and my sister, Lori, and I would lie in wait for him, hiding in the front yard. You see, Bud's delivery truck was not refrigerated. He kept the dairy goods cold with burlap bags (gunny sacks) filled with crushed ice. These sacks of ice covered all the milk bottles and eggs in his truck.

So while Bud was feeding dog biscuits to our dogs, and in the kitchen, replenishing our fridge, my sister and I would sneak into Bud's truck, dive into those gunny sacks and make as many snowballs with the crushed ice as we could before Bud emerged from the back door.

Then we'd ambush him as he returned to his truck. Half the time though, Bud ambushed us! He'd have prepared his own snowballs in advance!

Looking back, what a golden time of life, what a wonderful era! We had no idea how special it was. Maybe because it was ordinary then? But from these days, those old days seem awfully good.

One way the good old days were different, Our milkman lived in the same town, pretty much the same neighborhood as his customers. He lived on 2nd Avenue close to where I went to junior high school. I ran into him again. in my twenties when he was having a garage sale. I can't remember his last name anymore, but I'll never forget Bud the Milkman.

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