Nancy Roman

Ice Cream Memories

My husband had to go pick up a part for his show car tonight. It’s an hour’s drive to the special store. (There’s a better name for this parts place, but I don’t know what the technical term is – “Expensive Shit Emporium”, maybe.)

Anyway, Hubby didn’t want to make the two-hour round trip by himself. So he asked me nicely to come along.

I asked him nicely for a bribe.

And he came up with a good one:  Frozen Yogurt.

So I daydreamed while we rode in the convertible through the sunset in Hartford. It was hazy and smoggy and pretty and I didn’t even have to hold a conversation, because the convertible on the highway is very noisy.

And while he discussed wires or knobs or what-the-hell with the guy at Ripoff City, I played Yahtzee on my cell phone – losing six games in a row to the “Bill”, my computerized opponent, who I think is sleeping with the computer who rolls the dice.

Hubby finally came out from Bend-Over Boutique, and off we went – finally winding up at Kiwi Spoon – the frozen yogurt bar we like. The fro-yo is refreshing, the fruit toppings are real, the store is spotless, and we can sit and have a wonderful view of the traffic whipping past. (But atmosphere is overrated.)

And it got me to thinking about how much I’ve loved ice cream over the years.

And yes, I wrote about ice cream just last week, but I didn’t do it justice.


When I was a kid, we would wait for the ice cream man. We’d play hide-and-seek in the waning light and listen for those magical bells.  I liked Good Humor better than Mister Softee – but whichever came first was what we’d take. None of the parents in the neighborhood could afford ice cream every night, but they seemed to coordinate it so that all the kids got ice cream the same night, and none on the same night. No jealousy allowed.

On special nights we’d walk over to Litchfield Farm Shoppe and have a cone. They had terrific maple walnut.

And on extra-extra special nights, my dad would say to my mother, “Get your purse. We are all going out for ice cream.”  We’d pile into the station wagon and drive to Roberge Dairy. Oh, their coffee ice cream was wondrous. And Dad would have one too – that was a big treat for me – to see him splurge on an ice cream cone for himself too.

I hated having sticky fingers and I learned to eat my ice cream really fast. No drips allowed. (Not to mention the danger of someone bigger than me – I won’t mention any names but they had the same Mom and Dad as me –  always offering to “neaten it up” and losing quite a bit of my ice cream in the  process. I still finish my fro-yo while my husband’s cup is still full.

Those dairies disappeared as I grew up, but there was always Guida’s in New Britain. And Baskin-Robbins came around right about the time I had to start watching my calories. But from my tiny first apartment, it was a little over a mile round-trip, and so I’d splurge as long as I walked there and back.

And now, there’s great fro-yo bars everywhere. So I can have my treat without feeling too guilty.

And when I am not worried about guilt – like last week after I finished my photo session – I go to Arethusa Dairy near my home. Arethusa Dairy is owned by the proprietors of Manolo Blahnik shoes. They have more money than they know what to do with, and so what they decided to do with it was build a dairy farm. They have some of the finest dairy cows in the country. They have a big fancy barn, with a sign over the door:

“Every cow in our barn is a lady, please treat her as such.”

And they do.

Arethusa’s cows have mattresses, massages, and special shampoo depending on hair color. They are very happy ladies. (Wouldn’t you be?) And they give amazing milk. I choose coffee ice cream still. It has little grains of ground coffee right in the ice cream. It is rich and flavorful, and I am transported back to Roberge dairy watching my dad enjoy his chocolate cone.

ice cream

Waiting for the ice cream truck.



  1. Ray G

    If you ever want an excellent (state’s best ?) ice cream without the silliness, come on down to Rich Farm in Oxford; you’ll never forget it (or the slight manure odor in the background).


  2. loved this! thanks, I think our husbands shop at the same places… different states, same type of car part shops!


  3. I’m reading this over breakfast and it makes me want to have ice cream right now, with my granola!
    So that’s exactly what I’m going to do 🙂


    • Good for you! They offer granola at the frozen yogurt bar, so it is obviously a great combination.


  4. Ice cream was such a treat when we were young. I remember how the the electronic rendering of “Greensleeves” would send kids running to get sixpence for a cone and how occasionally mum would buy a “family brick” in a cardboard wrapper to take home. My favourite ice cream treats now are Golden North honey ice cream made in South Australia or in summer an ice cream cone of Tasmanian made Valhalla ice cream topped with fresh berries.


    • I love all ice cream and permutations thereof.


  5. Waqar Ahmed

    Wanna be there one day.. 🙂


  6. Ice Cream! How I miss it.


    • A medical reason you have to avoid it? If not, indulge just a bit. It’s worth it.


      • Older I get the greater my intolerance to all things dairy. It is a terrible burden I bear. Once again I must say, Ice Cream! How I miss it.


  7. I loved waiting for the ice cream truck too so does my son although he enjoys the transaction way more than the actual ice cream.


    • My favorite was the cakey eclair bar from Good Humor.


  8. Christine

    We still have ice cream trucks in this neighborhood and they get a pretty good crowd. I remember how special it was to go to Roberge Dairy. Maybe that is why I still like to end a summer outing with a stop at a dairy bar for ice cream; it always seems better than what I have at home in the freezer.


    • I love going out for ice cream or a frozen yogurt. So delicious and such good memories.


  9. The ice cream truck was a pure joy, because in the old days supermarkets (what were they?) didn’t have huge freezers filled with bars. Bars came from a truck, and that was that. I also remember the “brick” quart, which you ran to the corner and bought after dinner because there certainly wasn’t room to store anything in a freezer compartment of one cubic foot–inside the refrigerator compartment–designed for ice cubes only.
    Nice post.


    • Years ago, my husband and I stayed at a bed and breakfast in the heart of Amish country in Pennsylvania. The Amish neighbors would churn their own ice cream and store it in the B&B’s freezer. In return, the B&B owners could have some and share it. It was amazing.


  10. Some story here only with guitar shops. It’s amazing how many stupid expensive gizmos it takes to make a guitar sound good! I always require a bribe. Ice cream would work!


  11. I couldn’t wait for the ice cream man either – the one who came around with the tingling tunes. And all the kids in the neighborhood ran out to meet him. Great story of your life through ice cream generations! Love it. 🙂


    • I did my student teaching in Puerto Rico, And when the ice cream man drove down the street all the kids would run out screaming, “Pare! Pare!” “Stop, Stop!” Some things transcend culture.


  12. Hearing the Mr. Softee truck outside one summer night is one of my earliest memories. I was supposed to be asleep … instead I got a wonderful treat.

    thanks for taking me back. Of course, now I want ice cream!


    • I liked Good Humor better, but every so often that creamy smooth Mr Softee was the perfect nighttime treat!


  13. Have you ever considered making your own? Spoil you, it will and you can make a batch in 20 minutes with any fresh fruit you like or other ingredients.
    I used to LOVE ice cream but quit because of the calories.


    • We have .. strawberry ice cream with fresh strawberries. It was perfect! (and I am very careful with calories, but everyone needs a treat now and then.)


      • When you make your own, you don’t need to worry about the calories. Don’t we wish. 🙂


  14. We got ice cream after church on Sundays, from Tony Bros the Italian family ice cream store in the London suburb of Acton. It almost made church worthwhile. ..


    • Almost. But you remind me of a sweet story. When my cousin was just a little kid, he was a Mass one Sunday with his family and the altar boy rang the bell for the consecration cerremony, And Dennis stood up and yelled, “Ice Cream Man!”


  15. Susan

    Roberge Dairy was always the best. Those great big trees you could sit under – always seemed to make it cooler, the only place Daddy would take us for that special ice cream treat. Strange that Lil and Lora lived on the same ground after the dairy was gone. Good Humor man came in a close second – even if we did have to run up the street where the second shift guys from New Departure where having lunch some nights. – almost always around 7:30, wasn’t it?


    • Your memory is the same as mine! Great trees at Roberge, and running up Valley Street to the Good Humor man.


  16. Did you have Bungalow Bar also?


  17. Ice cream vans. Such happy memories of the tinkling music as they came down our street all those years ago. Luigi was the favourite, as you got a free ice cream if it was your birthday. Our road had lots of birthdays every weekend, but he never refused a child. The vans of today just aren’t the same, and people like Luigi don’t exist anymore.


  18. Beth Soulier

    Roberge Dairy had the absolute best chocolate chip ice cream with the little teeny tiny chocolate bits of chips throughout. The closest thing I have found to date is Turkey hill mint chocolate chip. Now in Florida I can’t even find Turkey Hill ice cream.


    • Oh, I remember! It was tiny little chocolate slivers! Heavenly!


  19. Your “Bend Over Boutique” is the best. I may have to borrow it on occasion.
    Where I grew up, in the Niagara Peninsula, we had “Rainbow Dairies” that we would all pile into the car for a quick ice-cream and some penny candy. A drive into Niagara-On-The-Lake to visit the “Avondale” farm for their fresh ice-cream was our big special treat. The grownups even indulged in banana splits. Avondale Dairy is still where it use to be and people my age are now taking their grandchildren there. It is a family tradition.



  1. My Life – In Chocolate | notquiteold

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