Childhood memories........

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Bob Wright

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 24, 2004
Messages
6,674
Location
Memphis, TN USA
Contrary to what some might expect, I was once a little boy. I grew up in Memphis, a large city with agricultural roots. And a very segregated city. I say that only as a fact of life, nothing to be proud of nor to brag about.

I remember in the summer time, and early morning hours, a mule drawn wagon creaking down our street. The mule's head hung sort of low, bobbing as he plodded down the street, his hoofs clopping on the street, the tire irons grating on the asphalt, and the creaking of the loaded wagon. An older black man sat on the seat box, while young black girls walked down the sidewalk on either side of the street. They were barefooted and balanced a round tray on their heads, the tray loaded with pint sized boxes of fruit or vegetables. As they walked, they shouted "Maaaaah-ket woman! Maaaaaah-ket woman." A housewife would come out to their porch and do business with one of the women, buying fresh vegetables for supper. To be business like, a produce scale swung at the back of the wagon.

On another morning, another wagon would come down the street, creaking and clattering. A lone black man drove the wagon. Next to him, on the seat, was a steel gong, and periodically he would strike three or four times, very loudly, with a steel rod. Clang,clang, clang! Then shout "Rag man! Rag man!" And folks would emerge from their homes and pile armfuls of rags onto his wagon. I didn't know until I was grown those rags went into making paper.

My favorite wagon was a small box-like wagon, pulled by a horse and rubber tired with automobile type tires. It made very little noise, so the driver jangled a set of bells set at the rein opening. The wagon looked like a small house on wheels, completely enclosed. It was the "popsicle man!" I would run out with my nickle, when I had one, and buy a grape popsicle. I would sit on the curb and lick on a double popsicle as purple juice flowed down my hand, the hot weather taking its toll.

Good, or not, those were the days!

Bob Wright
 

graygun

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Sep 24, 2008
Messages
4,050
Location
Junction,Tx
I remember an old black man selling strawberries as he walked the streets of Annapolis,Md in the early '60s. I heard him yelling from my seat in the classroom but could not discern what the word was. After school,I saw him on Church Circle and saw what he was selling.

My mother told us of the "rags,bottles and batteries" man in NH where she grew up. She said he had a heavy accent as he shouted "any d-rags,bottles..."
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2009
Messages
10,750
Location
Webster, MD.
I know the fellow, or one like him, that 'graygun' speaks of. I also remember the "a-rabs" in Baltimore selling produce and fruits from their horse drawn carts. You could hear them blocks off clip-clopping down the streets. There are still a few plying their trade there.
 

coach

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Joined
Aug 28, 2007
Messages
3,507
Location
Jacksonville, Maryland
You beat me to it Frank. I remember the A-rabbers and their horse drawn carts coming down the alley calling out the produce name with long drawn out calls.
The good humor man though was what I was interested in when those jingling bells were heard.
 

olcop

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Messages
224
We lived on a farm, about 7 miles from town, no electricity at that time, I remember the ice man coming and my grandmother buying ice for our icebox, it always amazed me how he could chip a block of ice into smaller blocks in no time at all---and, he was one of the kindest men I have ever seen, he made sure that every child got a chunk of ice, that ice was delicious in the hot Georgia sun in the 40's.
Thanks for the great memory.
olcop
 

Rancher Will

Blackhawk
Joined
Oct 10, 2010
Messages
748
Location
North Colorado
We all have many memories. Mine bring to mind my pre-teen and early teen years living on the Oklahoma Indian Reservation with neighbors as an orphan after my parents died when was 9 in 1939. I lived on a different farm each year, a year at a time, until I was 15, taken in by the kindness of our neighbors. Many are sad but many are happy.
 

RVN11B40

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jul 29, 2006
Messages
100
Location
Missouri, USA
Many of those memories are shared by my generation during the fifties in Muskogee Oklahoma.

Same sort of wagons, either mules or horses. Ice, produce, and happy happy days ICE CREAM!

LOL
 

JPGLSG

Blackhawk
Joined
Jul 27, 2013
Messages
932
Bob you just threw me in the way back machine. I do remember the produce wagon twice a week coming down Getwell Road just south of where the old VA Hospital there in Memphis. Me and my Brother could sometimes talk him out of an apple for a penny, but I think Mom always made of the difference.
 

Colonialgirl

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
7,988
Location
Wesley Chapel, Florida
When I was in the 6th grade, My Dad got stationed at Port Lyautey Morocco by the Navy. We lived an aprtment in the town on a nice shaded Avenue; Every day, an Moroccan would come down the street with a small two wheeled enclosed cart that had "fresh" French loafs of bread in it. The French/Moroccan housewives would come out and select a loaf; After pinching and squeezing several of them. Did I FORGET to mention these loaves were NOT wrapped in any fashion?
Almost as much fun as going down to the open air market where they had sides of Beef hanging by the butchers shop; pick what cut you wanted and wait while he sliced it off---Lookout for that dog nibbling at the bottom of it !! And THEN there was Buying eggs there, every egg merchant had a BIG stack of eggs, you had to make him drop them into a tub of water to see if they floated or sank; Fresh eggs SINK, Rotten eggs FLOAT. There were NO "Date stamps" on the eggs and every night, they all went back into a big crate and were NOT sorted by age. UM, Did I mention that there was NO refrigeration either?
 

RugerHound

Hunter
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Messages
2,289
Location
Casa Grande, Arizona
Grape popsicles! I haven't thought about a grape popsicle in 50+ years...

You know Bob, you just painted a picture of Meet Me In St Louis in my brain! :) Thanks for sharing that!
 

JPGLSG

Blackhawk
Joined
Jul 27, 2013
Messages
932
RugerHound said:
Grape popsicles! I haven't thought about a grape popsicle in 50+ years...

You know Bob, you just painted a picture of Meet Me In St Louis in my brain! :) Thanks for sharing that!

Grape popsicles...we would always compare who had the bluest tongue. Wonder what kind of food coloring was in those popsicles. It is a wonder how we survived our child hood, eating popsicles, riding our bikes to town, wading in the creeks and riding in open pickup truck beds.
 

caryc

Hawkeye
Joined
Jan 31, 2004
Messages
6,799
Location
Southern California
In my earliest memories there was a rag man too. He drove a horse drawn wagon. Then there were the coal deliveries. The truck pulled into the alley behind our house and he ran his chute (just like a cement truck) into our basement window and filled up our coal bin. A few years later my Dad finally got an oil burning furnace. Those were good old days.
 

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