Posted by: notsofancynancy | June 16, 2013

My Dad was the Milkman

My Dad was the Milkman

Footfill Dairy about 1955

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 that was as 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 said not to be the husbands, if you know what I mean.

That is right back in the old days you could have milk delivered right to your house.  That is how Dad’s 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, grocery stores, 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 and his Truck

First 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.  It certainly did not look comfortable for those cows but they did not seem to mind.

In the loading dock of the dairy was a long conveyer belt that came out of the cooler and on to a cold cement platform so the drivers could get their order and put it on the truck.  My dad would hand over his order in the double swinging doors 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 gallons whole, 10 quarts half and half, 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 one of my sisters, about 1956, 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 older sister had some of those special drinks because she kept falling off her chair. Really I did not understand why and now that I look back I still can’t believe she drank so much. It is one of those moments that is funny now.

The reason Dad got to be there with all the big wigs from the dairy was he was their milkman. From the time they opened to the time he retired.

The reason Dad got to be there with all the big wigs from the dairy was he was the milkman who delivered to this restaurant. From the time they opened to the time he retired.

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. Dad has been gone for twelve years now. My heart hurts for him but I will always keep him in my heart.

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Responses

  1. You should see if that condo complex has a newsletter. I’m sure some of the residents would enjoy reading about what stood there before.

  2. Great story! I look forward to Father’s day each year to read all the stories about dads, some happy, some sad.

    May all their memories be eternal.

    • Thank you so much for reblogging it! It really means a lot. God Bless!

  3. I loved the story, Lefty was one of the “good guys” like my father. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you he really was and they just don’t make em like that anymore.

  4. He has a place in my heart too – I love his letters and every thursday is a special day for me, when I can read your post.

    • OMGoodness you brought a tear to my eye this morning. I cannot begin to tell you how much that mean to me! Thank you

  5. Thanks for sharing your memories Nancy. So nice when we can think back on special times. Love, Carolyn

  6. I have sweet memories of my dad too. He worked for years at a meat packing company till he retired. He was a faithful dependable man who loved his family.

    • They were a great generation. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Very nicely done!

  8. This reminds me of the beautiful little video from either Sesame Street or Mr. Rodgers, where they follow milk from production all the way to the delivery. 🙂 I remember it started out with a little baby crying and needing milk. 🙂 I liked the music in the background too. I’ll have to look for it.

    • Awe sounds like a good one if you remember it even now! Thanks Patrick!

  9. I really enjoyed your nostalgic memories Nancy. I’m sure sorry you’re also without your Dad’s hand to hold today. When I was a kid we lived in a duplex that had a milk shoot. I remember we left money in there too. Can you imagine doing that today? I’d love to have one of those old milk trucks, they’re so cute. Working for the same company for 30 years is almost unheard of now. People are so much more transient and mobile. I laughed at you tasting Adult christmas drinks…ha, I think I did that once and say something like, “I’m NEVER drinking!”….that didn’t come true, LOL. My dad passed in 1999, so I can really understand your heart in this regard. Hugs and hope you enjoyed the day xk

    • Thank you so much Boomde! I miss him so much and even more so working on his letters.

  10. Nancy, what a wonderful memory of our past. I miss dad today and every day. I hope he is watching over us and liking what he sees. Thank you for the memories that brought a tear to my eye, a giggle to me and a warm feeling to my heart. Sharon

    • Thank you so much sister! I can’t even begin to tell you how much it means to me. I miss him too but I know he is watching and is proud of each and every one of us.
      Love you!

  11. What a lovely story and such sweet memories.

  12. Yep, I remember the milkman delivering milk to our door…we also had bread delivered and eggs fresh from the farm.Those were the good old days. No one seemed to be out of work back then and the only credit available was the kindness of the local grocer who would put it on your tab if you didn’t have the money to pay. It was a kinder, gentler life back then; so different from today. It would be interesting to know if people prefer the old way of life or the new computer age. Thanks for the memories!

    • We had the Helm’s man who came with his truck full of bread and fresh baked goodies! I loved those days!

  13. LIKE–the Like button won’t load. Great memories!

  14. Great Story I Grew up in the track of houses acrossed from the Dairy we moved in in 1958. So it too was a big part of my life growing up. it mite take a Blog for me to share all I remember also…lol. In the late 60’s and 70’s I used to ride my dirt bike up along the cows to the little corner that we rode our dirt bikes in right in the mouth of the Canyon and in the river bed. Almost always after riding on a hot summer day on the weekend I remember riding down for a Fruit Punch or a Ice Cream and something to eat. Then go back and ride till dark. So many memories that are either tied to this place or pass by it as a start to an adventure.

    • Thank you so much for sharing. Those WERE the good old days! lol

  15. I grew up in Azusa…My parents were friends with two of the milk men, Jerry whose last name escapes me now and Ray Grebing…My dad was also friends with Wilfred Schlang who was a customer at my dad’s auto repair shop, Russ Auto Repair…I had my photo taken in the advertisement section for Foothill Dairy three of the four years I went to high school at AHS (1964-1967). I liked your article and shared it on my Facebook timeline because there are a number of people who are friends on Facebook from Azusa. I am sure they will enjoy it.

    • Thank you so much! I am glad it brought back such good memories. I remember Jerry but as with you his last name escapes my memory too. I am actually friends with Wifred’s son Steve on Facebook which I found on “You know you grew up in Azusa if…..” page. It is a small world! They were certainly the “Good old days!”

  16. Hello my friend.. I enjoyed reading your story about your dad.. Those where the good old days!!! I do remember getting the milk left on the front porch… And I do remember the white truck pulling up too my grandmas house.. A white uniform the hat and of course the bottles of milk… I love those days I will never forget… I do remember the Helms man too with his glaze donuts and his sharp truck.. Thank you for sharing your story with us ( me)…your friend Christine.

    • Thanks Christine!!! Those certainly WERE the good old days!


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