Posted by: notsofancynancy | July 3, 2012

Thankful Tuesday~ My Dad Was the Milkman

My Dad was the Milkman

Foothill Dairy 1950’s

If you follow my blog you know my father drove a truck in WWII.  Right after the War he drove a city bus down in El Monte, in the Los Angeles Basin.  I can remember seeing an article from a newspaper where he had gotten an award for being the “The Safest Driver.” He had gotten no tickets or had not had any accidents the whole time he was there.  I am not sure how long he drove a bus because it was before my time.

My Dad was the Milkman.   OK don’t laugh I have heard all the jokes about “The Milkman.”  When I was young it was the standing joke, Your dad was the milkman..hahaha… Really I did not get it until I was much older. For some of you who may not remember these jokes milkmen use to actually deliver milk to peoples houses. It was said that these and other delivery men were hit on by the lonely housewives producing children who were not the husbands.

That is right back in the old days you could have milk delivered right to your house.  That is how his career working for Foothill Dairy in Azusa Ca., started.  He went door to door delivering milk.  I am told he got up at 3am and worked really long days.  You could really tell what a compassionate man my Dad was when he befriended a little old lady on his route and she became our Aunt Pansy.  I don’t remember much about Aunt Pansy but I know that she had no other family, or she did not like her family, so she spent all the holidays with us. My sister told me she was mean and grumpy, I don’t remember. When she passed away she left all of her possessions to Dad.  I even heard that she had left him some money too.  He was always such a kind man and he would give you the shirt off his back.  I am sure he did a lot of things to help out this old lady as well as others on his route that was just the way he was. Come to think of it my husband has those same traits.

Many years down the road my father moved up in the company and became a wholesale driver.  This is the part of his career I remember.  He drove the same route for many years.  This route consisted of business’s, such as restaurants and liquor stores.  I can remember what a treat it was for me and my brother to go on his route with him.  We could never sleep the night before, we were so excited.

Dad, Late 40’s-early 50’s

We would have to go to the Dairy to pick up his order for the day.  The Dairy itself was a pretty cool place.  All the cows and milking machines were fascinating to the young girl who held her father’s hand as we toured the dairy.  There were men there where all they did all day was hook up cows to the milking machines.  In the loading dock of the dairy was a long conveyer belt that came out of the cooler and on to a platform so the drivers could get their order and put it on the truck.  My dad would hand over his order and like magic everything on his list started coming out on that conveyer belt. He would check the items against his order. We got to check it off the list as he shouted “24 quarts whole. 15 pounds ole” (butter), etc. Once the truck was loaded we were off down the road.  At Dad’s first stop we had to always wait for the store to open.  My Dad was always at least a half hour early.  So we always sat in the truck and slept until the owner came.  Well Dad slept I was just too excited.

My father was a genius when it came to the numbers part of the sale.  He could add those numbers in his head in a wiz.  He did keep a notebook with him and some of the bigger sales he made he might use it to add them up.  He taught me to always add everything twice to make sure you come up with the same numbers.  After all there were no calculators in those days.

As the sun came up it was my favorite time.  Going to see all his customers was a dream.  They all loved “Lefty” and always made such a fuss over us.  It seemed like our birthdays or Christmas when we went with him.  Everyone was always giving us stuff to eat.  It was like one of those progressive dinners.  You got a little something everywhere you went.   I will always remember those times spent with my father as some of the best days of my childhood

Mom, Dad, and my sister the clown, about 1955, notice the milk bottle in Mom’s hand

At Thanksgiving his bonus was a fresh turkey.  I still have one of the boxes they came in.  Although the box is not in great shape it holds memories, memories of a simpler time

With Christmas came the big party.  It was always held at the VFW hall across the street from the dairy.  It was right next to the trout farm.  I don’t remember much other than Santa came every year and it seemed like the more people drank those special drinks that the children couldn’t have, the happier they all got   I tasted one of those special drinks one time and I sure did not understand why these adults would want to drink something that burned your throat, make your eyes water and make you want to throw up.  The Christmas party was a big part of our Christmas festivities. It seems one year my sister, the clown had some of those special drinks because she kept falling off her chair.

Foothill Dairy itself was a big part of our life.  My Dad worked there for more than 30 years before he finally retired.  Foothill Dairy use to sit in North Azusa at the entrance to Azusa Canyon but it stands no more.  It has been gone for a very long time and in its place they have built condominiums. In my memory I will always be able to see Foothill Dairy. In my dreams I will revisit the dairy and hold my Dad’s hand once again.

Life moves on.

Yes, today on Thankful Tuesday I am glad “My Dad Was the Milkman.”

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Responses

  1. you’ve made my day. thanks for your wonderful posts.

    • Wow! What a great compliment. It means so much to me. God Bless

  2. Those are some of the best historic photos that I have seen in a while and I am an archivist. That is something to be thankful for. I loved getting fresh milk delivered when I was a little girl. There was a local dairy near my home. We would make buttons for our shirts (to wear as decorations) from the tops. Wonderful post and a wonderful site…

    • Thank you it means so much to get such great compliments. It helps me realize I am doing the right thing here! Thank you

  3. What a family treasure trove… All those fun memories of your father, delivery runs and even him being nicknamed Lefty. While Foothill Dairy is unfamiliar to me, I did buy from the Alta Dena Dairy – off Azusa Avenue as your father’s place was – but it was where the 60 Freeway now runs. I “fondly” recall the “heavy farm scent” at certain times of the day! 🙂

    • Awe yes the smell! Alta Dena was Foothill Dairy rival. hahaha

  4. So was mine! Well, he was a dairy farmer 😉 Lovely story and photos

  5. Great story!

  6. As always, another wonderful story!!!! Thanks for sharing and have a great 4th!!!!! and God Bless!!! 🙂

  7. Interesting and enjoyable read. I remember those milk bottles and when mild was delivered to our front door. Hugs

    • Thank you, It was certainly a long time ago. lol

  8. Wa’chu mean ‘old days’. Those were the good ole times.

    • Oh did I forget to put the “good” before the “old days?” You know how it is when we get this age. forget is my middle name! lol

  9. Love this! I wish I could have my milk delivered – it seems so quaint nowadays.

  10. What a beautiful story and beautiful memories, thanks for sharing that part of you and your dad. I remember those days of the milkman, living in large cities most of my life that was a treat to get farm fresh milk and eggs! Blessings~Patty

    • What beautiful words, thank you. I am really glad you enjoyed it and it brought back good memories.

      Have a blessed 4th

  11. What a beautiful blog, Nancy!! You are blessed to have these precious memories! I remember my father never being around and one of the reasons was softball league. But he did play for a team that was sponsored by a local Dairy and on rare occasions, my mother would have us at the Dairy and we would get this awesome little bottle of chocolate milk! lol I was so fascinated by that place! =) Thank you for sharing!

    • Thanks my friend! We loved the chocolate milk too!

  12. What a sweet heartwarming bit of history! Thanks for sharing your dad’s milkman days with us, Nancy.

    • thanks for reading it and taking the time to comment. It really means a lot!
      God Bless

  13. Let me tell you I was born in AZUSA CA in 1960 and there was nothing better then foothill dairys punch or milk I love that story

    • I was born in AZUSA in 1957! and my brother in 1961! My daughter still lives in my childhood home! We might know each other!

  14. My dad also worked at Foothill Dairy as a milkman. We lived in Azusa on N. Angelino Street from 1947 to 1959. I used to ride with him every now and then on his Saturday deliveries. That meant getting up really early, especially for a young boy. The Foothill Dairy was a regular field trip stop for the local elementary schools in Azusa. I never considered what my dad did at the dairy all that funny. It was just after WWII and jobs were hard to come by. Everyone in my elementary school class thought it was pretty cool having a milkman for a dad.

    • Wow Kieth! Did you ever go to the Christmas Parties? I am sure we would have seen you there. My father worked there until the 1980’s when he retired. I did not mean to give the impression I though his job was funny. It was that job that put food on our table too.

      • I worked for Foothill Dairy from 1980 until it was sold to Driftwood Dairy a couple of years later. I love the job. Thanks for posting.

      • Wow! thanks for stopping by! I sure do miss that dairy!

  15. Hello Nancy,
    I am also 50 something and my grandfather owned the dairy your dad worked at! It was wonderful seeing the photos. Please respond by email. I’d love to know more…

    • Awesome I sent you a note!

    • Marto, I worked at Foothill Dairy in the 80s doing home delivery and later as route supervisor until it was sold to Driftwood. I knew Wilfred and have very fond memories of my years there.

      • My dad retired from his wholesale route in the mid 80’s. Did you know him?

      • Well I was retail and your dad was wholesale from what you write. I don’t remember a “Lefty.” I also don’t recognize him by the photo you posted. What was his real name – maybe that would ring a bell. Also, the one posting as kenh is probably Ken Horton – I knew him well and I think I hired him. Ronald “Mac” MacDonald was a good friend from there, and I remember Charlie Schantz (?) tall and thin and loud from New York. I remember a lot of faces – I just can’t come up with that many names.

      • Our last name is Woodside, but Dad’s name that was on his uniform was Lefty. He worked there from about 1950 until the mid 80’s. It was a magical place for us kids.

  16. I remember that Foothill Dairy was awarded the cleanest dairy for 50 straight years in all of California. It was an honor to work for such an organization that cared to do things right the first time, everytime.

    • You have just described my father! lol

      I have a newspaper clipping of Dad and four other men including the chef of The Hafbrau Haus on Foothill. The chef presented the dairy with an award for outstanding service. Quite an honor since Dad was their milkman from the time they opened and until he retired. I will update this post soon with a copy of the article. Stay turned! lol

  17. I remember when bottles of milk were delivered to our door…that’s a long time ago! Our milkman was always smiling and whistling and he always had time for a quick chat. Pleasant memories. Thanks for the visiting my blog and for the follow!

    • Wow you just described my dad! lol I was a simpler time. Thanks for the return visit.

  18. My family is from Azusa. As a kid I remember our milkman hank he would always leave something special for us kids like chocolate milk. I am know 53 and it always seems like yesterday sitting on the porch looking down the street for that white snub nose milk truck. Our last name is Ortiz and lived on south louise st. My brother still lives at the family home and I in New Orleans La.

    • Hi Ted!

      I remember Hank! Aren’t they great memories of a simpler time? My daughter just sold the family home on Virginia. Now she lives on Sierra Madre. Boy things in Azusa sure have changed Except for the Wells Fargo Bank building and city hall not much is the same.

  19. My dad also worked for foothill dairy in 60s when I was young I would go with him delivering milk . I’ll never forget that

    • Hi Eric! Some of my fondest memories are of the dairy!

  20. This is to funny hearing the names Alta Dena and foothill dairy we lived in walnut but would go to Carmen’s bakery in lapuente he also cut hair I think there was a roller rink also around there

  21. I enjoyed reading the story of your Dad as a Foothill Dairy Milkman; it also brought back good memories for me. I lived across the street from the Dairy at the Hydro-Electric Power facility in the Mid-sixties, (I was born in 1958). My Dad maintained the power plant (do you remember the long Water Pipes that went down the hillside?). I was able to play at the dairy; because I was friends with the owner’s son (I think the owners name was Wilfred).

    When you mentioned the conveyor belt that rotated around the Milkman’s loading dock – it reminded me of time when there was a rash of stealing/vandalism with some food that was in the cartons, but the funny thing was is that the thief only ripped open the cottage cheese containers and would eat them right on the spot.
    So they asked if my brother Mike (he was a cow-hand at the dairy), if he would get up early morning and catch the thief. WELL HE CAUGHT THE THIEF ALRIGHT, it ended up being his trusty hunting dog (Red Dog), who would jump up on the platform and specifically wait for the containers that had cottage cheese, and then he would snatch it out of the container and enjoy an early breakfast. You could imagine his embarrassment when he had to tell the owner:-/.

    Take Care Tom

    • Thank you so much for your comment! What a great story about the bandit! My Grandfather worked at Morris Dam back about the time we were born in the 50’s. I remember the pipes and Yes the owner of the dairy was Wilfred Schlang. What great memories we have of that dairy. Such a simpler time.

  22. i enjoy reading All the comments and stories from Foothill Dairy. My Aunt lived right behind the Dairy. I was born in 1954 in The Great City of Azusa. Foothill Dairy always been part of our lives growing up here. My Mother born here too My whole family lived her. I still reside here, Thanks for the Great stories. God Bless you All.David Hooper and Family.

    • Hi David. I was born in 57 in Inter-Community hospital. Mom and Dad settled in Azusa after Dad returned from fighting in WWII. My blog is about a suitcase of letters Dad wrote to Mom starting in 1937 when they met at a barn dance in Nebraska and span through his time overseas.

      We lived off of Gladstone and Vernon. I have some great memories of Azusa. MY daughter owned my parents house until last year. It was really hard to let it go, but it was time. My daughter and grandchildren still live up off of Sierra Madre.

      Thanks for your comment. It is good to reconnect with someone from home.

  23. My dad was also a milkman for foothill dairy in the 60s I remember going with him to work fun time

    • Wow! Good to hear from you! Did you ever go to the Christmas parties across the street from the dairy? I think it was a VFW hall or something like that. I have some fun memories from those parties. Mom would get us all dressed up in our Sunday clothes, Santa would come, good times!

  24. Wow very emotional for me to read. I to was a milkman at foothill dairy in the 70s till the end when they divorced and the wife picked up the cattle with cattle trucks at 2 o’clock in the morning we sat at the curb and cried as our heritage of foothill Dairy disappeared before our eyes. I will forever be grateful to the slang family the owners of the dairy

    • Thank you for your comment. I grew up at that dairy and it was hard to hear it had closed. Such a big part of our lives. I can remember Dad talking about its closing but I did not remember about the cattle being picked up. The Slang family was well respected in our family. God bless you and your family.

  25. I remember your Dad well as being one of the nicest men to ever work at the dairy. He and Charlie Kimball really stick in my mind as kind and gracious. I am one of Wilfred and Shirley Schlange’s five kids that ran amok at the dairy while growing up. I worked there myself in both the office, and delivering milk as a young adult. Lefty was always kind and caring. I think I have pictures from the Christmas parties, I’ll have to dig through photos. I seem to remember one of all the kids playing together, maybe you’re in there.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I remember Charlie too! I also remember your dad. Oh those Christmas parties were the best. They are one of my favorite memories of my childhood. They were so fun for us kids. I could not wait to get that stocking from Santa. I wouldn’t trade my memories for a million buck. I would love to see some of those pictures. In case you want to email me a couple my email is notsofancynancy916@hotmail.com

      Thanks again.


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