Jerry’s Journal: July 7, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

Who remembers getting their milk delivered right to the door? Who remembers the little milk box in the kitchen wall?

It had two doors; one opened into the kitchen, the other one opened to outside.

It was a neat concept: You put your empties on the shelf in between the doors and the milkman collected them when he put new bottles of milk on the handy shelf.

Then, and all you had to do was open the milk box door in the house to retrieve your fresh supply! (If you didn’t have a milk box in the house you probably had a free-standing one on the porch or stoop.)

Who remembers how the cream in the bottle of milk rose to the top? It could be mixed right in, or poured off and used for coffee or cooking, or drunk straight out of the glass bottle.

Who remembers sour milk in hot weather if you didn’t bring it in soon enough, or frozen milk because it was left out too long in the winter? Do you remember how the icy milk expanded and popped the small, round, waxed cardboard top right off the bottle?

Who remembers Triangle Dairy Farms, a huge spread of dairy cattle land out Granby Center way? And who remembers Gordon Stowell, the owner and operator of Triangle Dairy, which included a popular ice cream shop on Hannibal Street?

Well, I was pleasantly surprised the other day when he called me out of the blue. He was here in town for a visit with his daughter Valerie Demperio.

Gordon and his wife, Veronica — “Ronnie”  sponsored my Wednesday night bowling team for over twenty years until they closed up shop and moved to a little cabin in the Adirondacks.

The decision to move to the mountains and forests of northern New York, Gordon said, was because “it’s the closest thing to heaven. We just loved it there!”

Their eventual move to Florida, however, came from their need to escape our state’s cold winters. Sadly, only a few months there and Ronnie passed away.

Gordon said he remembers coming to our house to collect money for our milk bill. That’s how it worked back then. Someone came to collect, while someone else delivered the milk.

Freddie Bevacqua was our milkman for awhile as was George Weske.

I can hear those empty glass milk bottles now, clinking and rattling in the wee hours of the morning as they were gathered and the new bottles of milk were deposited on the landing of the stairs going up to our apartment on Porter Street, or on the cement stoop outside our West Third Street door.

Incidentally, I have one of those old glass bottles, filled with silk flowers now as a decoration, on my kitchen counter

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