M – Milkman

This is my ninth year of blogging the A to Z Challenge. Everyday I will share something about my family’s life during 1950. This was a year that the USA federal census was taken and the first one that I appear in. At the end of each post I will share a book from my childhood collection.

Looking out of my bedroom window
early in the morning, I would 
watch the milk man with his
horse and wagon go down the street
I must have been two because
when my sister was born we moved, and
my bedroom was in the back of the house,
with no window on the street.

He left our milk in a gray tin box on
the back porch. That was in Springfield. Later,
when we moved to Detroit, we had
a milk chute on the side of the house.
It had a little door on the inside and a little door on the
outside so the milkman, who now drove a truck,
could put the milk in and we could get it
out on the other side. On cold winter
mornings, the frozen milk
rose up over the top of the brown bottle.
For years I saved milk caps in a kitchen
drawer. Just saved them, never did anything with them.

After the heroin epidemic came, everybody sealed up
those milk chutes so no skinny thieves could
climb in the house that way.
You can see the tin milk box behind me and my dolls.
Mr. Bear Squash-you-all-flat

24 thoughts on “M – Milkman

    1. It was pretty nice having it delivered. Sometimes skinny kids who forgot their house key would climb through the milk chute when they got home from school before their parents got home from work.

      1. Kris, that is one of the stories my husband tells – of the family being locked out of the house and sending their youngest and smallest through the chute! They were in Wyandotte.
        I remember milk deliveries in Miami. No chutes, just porch delivery in wire baskets. I also remember cream on top.

  1. I loved the picture of the horse and cart and the one of you on the step with your dolls all lined up. So sweet and such a good record for being able to see them now.
    We used to get the milk delivered too and of course there was the milkman who went along with it. I think we also got bread delivered and the garbage was also collected by people running up and down the street instead of having wheelie bins which are manually collected by trucks. Children don’t tend to play in the street much these days either. Putting all of that together now, makes me feel we’ve ost a bit in the process.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    1. My paternal grandmother used to get bread delivered. The bread man had big trays of all kinds of bread in his truck.

      Yes, we had alleys where the garbage cans sat and the garbage men drove trucks down the alleys to pick up the cans by hand. Of course there were rats back there too and sometimes the cans blew over. The wheelies don’t do that.

      I agree about the kids no longer being out there playing. Not sure if it’s because I live in an area where there are no kids because they’re grown up. We do see them walking down the street to the park and the pool during the summer break. I do think the electronics has stolen them. And of course there’s the pandemic.

  2. I remember climbing through the milk shoot when I locked myself out of the house in the 1980s. We didn’t call it a milk shoot or chute though – not sure if it had a name.

    We had milk delivered until the 2000s.

    1. Yes, it’s chute! I would just leave the back door unlocked when I misplaced my key. Luckily my mother never knew. She would not have been happy about it.

  3. I only know the other side – getting milk collected.
    One uncle and aunt had a few cows (3 or 4 ?) and they put the fresh milk into a big can which was wheeled from their house to the street, where it was collected by a dairy truck.

    1. And from there to the dairy and into my milk chute. No need for a milk chute there. Two of my uncles farmed in the 1940s and they also sold milk. Not sure how many they had. During the 1970s we lived in Mississippi and had milk goats. We used their milk, but didn’t sell any. Maybe a bottle or two here and there.

  4. Where I grew up in the 1970s milk delivery was unheard of. But now that I live in a fancier neighborhood (!) there are quite a few houses with milk boxes on the front porches again. On the other hand, where I lived as a kid had trash collection from the tree lawn every week, and where I live now you have to haul your own trash to the dump. (But the same people who get their milk delivered also hire someone to collect their trash, I think!)
    Love the picture of you with all your dolls. I’ve been enjoying seeing the young you never without a doll in your arms.
    M is for Magic and Mutant

  5. In India we get milk in polythene packs… in smaller towns or rural areas its common for milkmen to bring huge cans and give us the milk using measuring cans of half or one litre… he used to spare some daily for our neighborhood stray dog too… kind hearted person

  6. Love that photo of you with your dolls…so cute! The statement about the heroic epidemic sounds so shocking, and sad, to me. Our family always had the milk delivered to the door right up to when mum left the house c2012. I have a faint memory of deliveries with a horse back in the dark ages…but milk or bread? You have a good memory for when you were little…I’m quite hopeless.

  7. My daughter and her husband just bought a house in Santa Rosa, California, built in 1927. I will send this article to them to explain the hole/scuttle that leads into a cupboard in the kitchen!

    1. That’s really handy, to have it come right into the kitchen. We lived in an upstairs flat when we had the milk chute and had to go down the back stairs to the ground floor to get the milk. Of course in those days bouncing down the stairs was nothing to us with our young knees.

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