One of my favorite childhood activities was going to Richard’s Dairy.
Some memories of Richards:
I was anemic as a child and needed routine iron shots. Mom would pick me up at West Park Elementary and take me to see Doctor Armstrong. After the visit, as an “oh poor little you” treat mom would take me for ice cream. Richard’s Dairy was on Elkton Road, quite near the doctor’s office. I hated the shots, but I loved chocolate ice cream. It would not have occurred to me to eat any other flavor. Nor would I have gotten anything but a flat bottom waffle cone. I ate it in the car while mom carted me back to school.
In junior high, our grandparents came to visit while mom and dad went to Quebec on vacation. Marilyn drove Grandpa and me to Richard’s in Fifi, our red three-speed Renault. He chose mint chocolate chip. He’d suffered a stroke. Holding and licking the melting cone made a sticky green mess all over his hands.
My high school boyfriend took me for an ice cream cone on a date. I was wearing my brand new white Villager pleated front dress. I ended up dripping chocolate all over the pleats and had to go home to change.
I was forever changing clothes. Mother spent one full day a week ironing our cotton shirts and blouses. She would set the ironing board up in the wide doorway between the family room and kitchen. Then she’d prop the front hall mirror on the sofa opposite, positioning it to reflect the television. It was the only time she ever watched daytime TV.
She sprinkled water on our shirts using a glass coke bottle with a sprinkler top stuck in the opening.
Marilyn and I loved ironing day. We’d come home from school to find our walk-in closets filled with clean, pressed blouses. I would immediately rip off whatever I’d worn that day, pull on a crisp shirt and head out with friends.
When Marilyn went to college Mother picked her laundry up weekly, washed it, and we went together to carry the ironed shirts up to her dorm room. Have I mentioned we were spoiled?
Richards delivered our milk to a galvanized metal box on the front porch. The milkman took out the empty bottles and replaced them with cold fresh ones sealed with cardboard discs. Sometimes mother got other stuff too. She’d leave a note in the box with her order. Whipping cream, cottage cheese, sour cream. But no cream cheese. I don’t know if they made it. Even so, I wouldn’t have eaten it. Only Philadelphia for me.
One day, when in elementary school, my friend Leslie and I were playing outside her College Park townhouse (I think they called them “row houses” then), racing up and down the neighbor’s stairs. We accidentally knocked over their milk delivery. There was shattered glass and spilled milk everywhere. I wonder why those people didn’t have a milk box?
When milk deliveries ended, Mom used that silver box to store potatoes in the garage.
Richard’s closed in the late 60’s. The property became High’s Dairy Store, followed by The Crab Trap Restaurant, The Trap and in around 2008 it was razed to make way for Amstel Square. I am floundering for a “…and that’s good because.”
Tearing down that old building seems sad to me.
I chose these somewhat related posts because they contain memories of growing up in Newark, Delaware: