Ice Cream Man

Pavlov would have been proud. A few rings of the bell could send any kid into a mad dash towards the nearest source of loose change, in a valiant attempt to soothe the scorching summer heat. Such was the power of the ice cream man, bearer of all things frozen and a common sight on Long Island in the 70s.

If you grew up in the era, you might remember such personalities as the Good Humor Man and Mr. Softee. The former carried such delicacies as the Strawberry Shortcake, Toasted Almond and candy-centered Crunch bar, while the latter specialized in soft-serve, ready to create any cone, sundae or shake your little heart desired.


Along with these familiar faces, there were also a plethora of independent ice cream men, who offered ice cream, Italian ices and a nice selection of candy. These were the go-to guys for such treasured items as the patriotic Bomb Pop.

First, you had to get the money though. If you had a well-stocked piggy bank, you were good to go. Otherwise, off to find one of the parental units and try your hand at begging. Some days it didn’t work, and you were left with a dejected look on your face while all your friends had ice cream dripping down their arms.


Every once in a while though, it turned out that your parents were craving a little frozen confection of their own. Perhaps they would peel off a couple of bucks and tell you to bring them a sno-cone and “be sure to get something for (insert sibling’s name) too!”

Soon, you were exercising all the math skills you could muster, as you tried to figure out how much would be left after you purchased everyone else’s treats. Then you would start having the “Hmm, what’s the cheapest thing I can get my little sister” thoughts. All was fair if it meant getting an extra treat for yourself, the one you ate before you returned home.

If you have fond memories of chasing the ice cream man for a block or two, or if you have a favorite ice cream truck treat that you fondly remember, I hope you’ll share all of your ice cream man memories in our comments section below.

You may also like...

6 Responses

  1. If I wasn’t playing with friends, I would wait in my driveway every summer afternoon for the Good Humor truck. It was a daily neighborhood event when it would stop. “Hurry, the Good Humor truck is here!” Why was it so much more exciting than buying the same thing from the supermarket? One year, a friend of my older cousin was the driver. I thought it was the coolest thing that I had only two degrees of separation from the Good Humor driver! And I made sure all the other kids knew about it.

  2. Samla says:

    A quarter in 1973 could get you a premium Chocolate Fudge Cake or Chocolate Éclair.

  3. Christopher Santoro says:

    Softer would stop at my house daily for 2 years and every day I would get a chocolate shake. Daughter gets me them at coldstone. Not as good as softer.

  4. Andrew A. Fernandez Jr. says:

    there was bungalow bar and howdy doody.

  5. Ken Vitoff says:

    I was a Good Humor Man for two summers. I had a great time. A lot of the others who did this job made it a career. Every year they came back and sold the life out of their routes. I made the time I spent fun and met a lot of people. The best routes I had were in Uniondale (summer of 1968) and Bohemia (near Ronkonkoma summer of 1969) both on Long Island, NY

  6. Our neighborhood Mr. Softee was the best hands down. He was this older Jamaican Man who loved kids. He always smiled and clearly loved his job. He had his own creations too like soft serve ice cream on Italian Ice and Mickey Mouse cones where he would use nonpareil cookies as ears and a nose. He made every kid’s day. Also if you didn’t have enough money, he would extend you credit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *