I remember still the taste of Dairy Queen
ice cream. We always went to the one on the corner of Bloomfield
and Mt. Prospect Avenues. That creamy, sugary, delicious, pumped
ice cream elevated me several inches right off the pavement. It
was just magic what they could with that stuff.
And as you leaned inside that little window waiting for your order,
that delightful cold air would just flow out and nip at your skin.
It was like placing an order inside a refrigerator.
Just think about those steamy Newark summer nights, you know the
kind.......when the air was so heavy you could see blue haze. Maybe
some heat lightning or honest to goodness thunder would be rumbling
out a warning every now and then. That's when you headed for the
cold stuff at the local Dairy Queen to grab a little evening comfort.
This was rather important because when you got back home there
weren't any window air conditioners, just a few room fans and maybe
a big exhaust fan somewhere in the living room or dining room for
the whole house.
I simply adored those flavored toppings you could get on the cones....cherry,
chocolate, and butterscotch. As soon as that warm air hit those
stiff coatings, they would crack like an earthquake and out the
ice cream would begin to ooze. That's when you put your "licker"
into overdrive and made like the family dog.
Speaking of dogs, how many of you also took the dog along for
a cold treat? C'mon, don't be bashful, raise your hand. Hey, they
were part of the family.
Mom loved a cup of ice cream with some strawberry or pineapple
topping. Dad could go either way with a cone or a large cup. Mom
liked the sprinkles or jimmies too. And at DQ there were the round
wafer cones, not the traditional pointed sugar cones. One advantage
with the sugar cones was you could suck the ice cream through the
point of the cone if the ice cream melted through.
Dad would also stop by the local luncheonette on those hot days
and bring home some ice cream surprises like sundaes and or hard
packed quarts of the delicious stuff. I remember those maple walnut
sundaes quite well. Made you want to lick the container!
Or how about those Saturday or Sunday nights when Mom toasted
up some waffles and put a brick of ice cream between them and you
nibbled at the treat while staying up late to watch a special TV
show or enjoy a visit from your cousins.
My Dad and I used to go ga-ga for those half orange, half vanilla
cream-sicles. Remember those? I still love that combination today.
How about fudge-sicles, Eskimo Pies, Dixie Cups, and the ubiquitous
nickel double ice pops? My favorite ice pop flavors were grape,
root beer, blueberry, and cherry. How that paper wrapping stuck
to the ice. All these treats were there at the local corner store,
or from the ice cream vendors who roamed the streets. All you had
to do was listen for the bells they rang on the truck. And lest
I forget, there was lemon ice too, my favorite being Ting-a-Ling's,
the world's best in my opinion.
How many of you out there actually turned the crank of an old-fashioned
ice cream maker? Was it worth the effort?
Sometimes, we would head out to O’Dowd’s ice cream
place up in Pine Brook for a sit down dessert treat. Remember how
rural looking old Pine Brook seemed way back when? It’s all
built up now with stores, commercial building, and houses and condos
everywhere. Our daughter lives up that way. I remember the big tent
auctions they would hold there every Sunday. We would do a little
flea market shopping and then hit O’Dowd’s.
And then there was Bond’s in Montclair, home of the Awful,
Awful ice cream milk shake challenge. Those folks knew how to pack
a dish full of ice cream. Both O’Dowd’s and Bonds are
However, most of the times we enjoyed a Sunday outing, we seemed
to end up at Applegate’s Dairy Farms in Upper Montclair for
a smorgasbord of original home flavors. On hot summer nights, my
wife and I still enjoy a tasty cold treat, reminiscing in the same
parking lot. Just a few years ago, my niece Sarah “scooped
her way through college” working there.
How I remember those steamy Newark summer nights licking ice cream
and thinking how great we had it. I still cannot resist stopping
at the few remaining Dairy Queens I find along the roads. Spotted
one up on Route 10, out in Randolph. Mama and me will be hitting
the joint as soon as it warms up. We both love the cold stuff.
Ice cream, what an invention! By the way, the ice cream cone was
invented in New Jersey.