I Scream, You Scream by
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(15 Stories)

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I’ve never considered myself much of a binger. Unless, of course, you’re referring to my addiction to very dark, bittersweet chocolate. Or to Hagan Daz Belgian chocolate or coffee ice cream. I guess you could call me a binger if you put a quart of that in front of me with a spoon.

My ice cream habit started with the Good Humor man. When he came around ringing his bell in his spiffy white uniform and shiny silver coin belt I would run in the house to get a quarter and run back out, waiting for him to climb out of his clean white truck with the dark brown ice cream pop-on-a-stick painted on its side. He’d open one of the little doors in the back, and I’d watch the cold mysterious steam escape. He’d reach his long arm inside and find– what?!– a fudge or coconut or toasted almond pop for one of the many kids who clamored, along with me, for this treat. When he rang his bell, it rang my bell. I can still feel the visceral charge of hearing the Good Humor man’s bell. It was foreplay. Though I was too young to recognize it. God how I looked forward to its arrival. I was Pavlov’s best dog.

On Friday nights Dad used to take us to Carvel where they filled my cone with that yummy soft swirl of vanilla and chocolate cream. I’d run my tongue around the cool, sweet dessert to keep it from dripping. Eventually I’d get down to the bottom of the cone where a tiny bit of ice cream remained in a tiny little cone. Good to the last drip. What a treat!

And then there was the thrill of Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors opening near my house on Long Island. I was a teenager by then. I could go into their store whenever I wanted, eye all the  flavors and inevitably walk out with a cone of Jamoca Almond Fudge. I was in heaven. I guess I’d outgrown the Good Humor man, or I was looking for a something different.

But now I think there’s no Good Humor man driving around in a spiffy white Chevy ringing a bell. You can find something called Good Humor ice cream in some Stop n Shops, maybe. But it doesn’t ring my bell. You may be able to find Carvel somewhere back East, but out here there’s just mediocre Dairy Queen, and I don’t even know if that exists anymore. And as for BRobbins, they closed the store near us a few years back. I don’t know if there are any left. But I know where to find Hagan Daz! RIght in my freezer! I’m gonna binge tonight!

 

Profile photo of Penny K Penny Righthand


Characterizations: been there, right on!, well written

Comments

  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    You’ve brought back wonderful memories, Penny. We used to run after the Good Humor truck in our neighborhood in Detroit too. I’m not sure I loved it quite as much as you did when I was a kid, but I did look forward to that yummy treat. My husband loves Dove Bars now, which are quite similar, without the truck and jangling bells.

    We have a Dairy Queen on Martha’s Vineyard, which at some point, forbade chain stores, so that got in under the wire. When we first started going to the island, more than a quarter century ago, with my in-laws and our little kids, going to DQ after dinner (which was always piled high with little kids) was a real treat. But I think COVID killed it this season. I read in the local paper that it’s for sale (as is the iconic ice cream store Mad Martha’s). They just couldn’t pack them in this summer.

    • So sad. Same thing happened to the ice cream store in New London, NH where I like to summer. Arctic Dreams…great ice cream. Closed down. But I have faith that ice cream and ice cream stores will ultimately survive Covid. I just hope we do!!

  2. Boy, do we speak the same language, Penny…and thanks for the memory! I was an ardent fan of a straightforward Good Humor vanilla ice cream bar; now I savor the rare treat of a Haagen Dazs chocolate ice cream bar, even when the shell drops off in chunks…just like the Good Humor bar. It just means I have to eat it a little faster.

    P.S. When I lived in Hawaii, I came across a shop called “Chocolate for Breakfast.” I thought, wow, there are others like me?! Only to discover it was a dress shop with a cute name. Still, permission granted, I eat two Hershey’s dark chocolate nuggets every morning. Because, you know, DARK chocolate is good for your health.

  3. Suzy says:

    I’m with you, Penny, bingeing on ice cream is the best. When I was a kid, we would always have at least one half gallon tub in the freezer, and my mother and I would sit at the kitchen table with two spoons and eat right out of the tub! Favorite flavor was Java Chip, which was coffee ice cream with big chunks of dark chocolate.

    Also, I love your clever paragraph about the Good Humor man. “I was Pavlov’s best dog.” Wonderful!

  4. Marian says:

    This brought back great memories, Penny, with the Good Humor truck driving down my block. My fav was Chocolate Cake for a dime. Alas, I haven’t been able to eat ice cream since I was 12 (severe dairy allergy), but the memories remain.

    • Marian, I’m glad you share those good memories, but sorry to hear you had to give up ice cream:-(
      I had fantasies of buying an old Chevy pickup and outfitting it like a Good Humor truck and driving around in my retirement, giving children ice cream. So far I haven’t done so;-)

  5. Glad to see another writer (besides me) found somthing besides TV and movies to be binge-able. And I really enjoyed your ending!

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    Ice cream is a binge I try to avoid, but if it’s in my freezer, it’s gone!

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