One of my earliest memories is from when I was a young boy and we lived in a three room apartment on the second floor of a row of flats. We were poor, or most certainly a lower income family, but my brother and I didn’t realize that. We lived on our father’s income as a laborer working at a factory that made asbestos shingles.
We didn’t have a refrigerator at the time but we had an ice box.
An ice box, as I recall, was a mostly wooden cabinet that had some metal shelves and tin interior that we kept our milk and a perishable foods in.
Ours wasn’t nearly as nice as the one shown here. It had a large boxed area in it that had room for one giant block of ice. A couple of times a week the iceman came and replenished our ice box with a new 25 pound block of ice.
My most vivid memory is of that iceman draping a piece of burlap, the kind that large sacks of potatoes used to come in, over his shoulder and then using a giant pair of tongs to grasp the large block of ice and then throw it over his shoulder. He would then climb the stairs to our little second floor apartment. I remember so vividly sitting on the stairs and the iceman had to either step over or walk around me as he maneuvered his way up the steep steps. I recall seeing large drops of water dripping form the ever melting block of ice he had flung over his shoulder. I would run my fingers or toy cars through the drops and could feel the coldness of the water.
The iceman would collect his small fee and be on his way to his next stop only to return again in a few days. I don’t ever remember him saying anything to me nor do I remember what he looked like but I think I’ll always remember those cold drops of melted ice on just about every one of the steps up to our home.