I grew up in Levittown, Long Island, the first planned suburb in America. Some will bad mouth it by saying it was bland, homogenous and sanitized, but to me it was heaven and the American Dream.
My family was able to buy a home and we had good public schools that prepared us for the future. We had friendly neighbors after some initial issues with being Cuban and all in all, things were wonderful.
The community had little village greens with community pools and we were just minutes away from Jones Beach. Summers were spent playing outdoors and going to the pool or beach. Summers were also spent waiting for the visit of Mr. Softee, today’s Throwback Thursday memory. Of course, that just made me remember that the Good Humor man would also visit on another day, but that’s for a future post. LOL!
My family wasn’t well off, after all, we were political refugees who’d been in America for less than nine years when my parents moved us to Levittown. How’d they do that? The old fashioned way: hard work.
But money was tight and it wasn’t unusual that dinner was fried eggs and rice and we ate cream cheese and jelly sandwiches for lunch. If we even ate lunch. I don’t really remember eating breakfast or lunch in the summer. We were too busy playing outside.
Anyway, having enough money for Mr. Softee was a big deal. A BIG DEAL. Back then, you could get an ice cream cone for about 15 cents, but I loved their sundaes, so I’d save up the 15 cents my grandfather would give us and wait until I had the 35 cents for a sundae!
My sister would always get the Brown Cow, an ice cream cone dipped into some kind of magic liquid that produced a hard shell on the cold ice cream. I sometimes opted for the Cherry Cow if I was really impatient.
After we bought our ice creams, we’d sit on the curb and talk as we ate our treats before heading off to play with our friends again.
Those were the good times and it’s nice to remember them on this Throwback Thursday.
“Mister Softee Truck 1” by Rjsswf8 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.