COBWEB CORNERS: Old trucks and cars
By Mel McFarland
Growing up on the Westside, half a century ago, I remember some interesting sights. One is of the Ice Man. Because many did not have electric refrigeration, he was important. We had an ice box, and the Ice Man visited regularly with a big truck with many blocks of clear refreshment. As a child you might be able to get a chip off one of them! Then there were the dangers of spilling the pan at the bottom of the box.
This is in a similar vein, As a kid, I knew every kind of car to be seen, even what year it was. I also knew most trucks, but there was one whose real name I did not actually learn until I was a teenager. It was the Milk Truck. The Sinton and Meadow Gold men drove one. Sometimes the route man drove a Chevy or Ford, mainly the Meadow Gold man. The Sinton man almost always had a Milk Truck. You could recognize them from blocks away. The driver stood at the door, even while he motored at a walking pace up the street. Sometimes it seemed to drive itself. When he stopped for our house, you might get a present: ICE. In the front was a big bin with chunks of ice and cartons of milk. It was the ice that was important.
As for the truck, I did not learn until I was much older that it was a Divco. Not only that, but there were different sizes and models, so similar that you had to see one that was really different to figure that out. Most had the familiar bulbous nose. It was hard to figure what year they were, sort of like looking at an early Volkswagen Beetle. One of my buddies in high school even told me he saw some in Los Angeles that were front-wheel drive.
I did a story here a long time ago about things in your back yard. I like to roam the alleys in our part of town. Early on in my relationship with the Pioneer, I spotted a treasure in the neighborhood. I was pleased to find it had a familiar owner. It was a Divco, parked behind the newspaper's headquarters. Kenyon and I have had a couple of interesting chats about Divcos, which to me will always be "The Milk Truck." For today's kids, I guess it is the unique UPS truck.