Our generation which grew up in the era of World War II, ten cent movies, five cent cokes, one-speed bicycles, and radio programs, remember ice boxes. Our grandparents and some of our parents owned ice boxes; they kept perishable food cool before the modern replacement, the refrigerator. Most ice boxes were smaller than the refrigerators of today. They generally had one or two doors in front, a compartment on top in which to place the ice, and a couple of shelves inside. Milk, eggs, butter, and a small variety of other foods requiring a cool environment to avoid spoiling were placed on the shelves inside.
Large shining blocks of crystal clear ice of 10, 20, or 30 pounds were delivered from the ice factories to the homes by the "real" ice man. He wore a long, thick, leather apron to protect himself from the cold, hard, ice, and he used super-sized tongs to heave the blocks of ice from his truck to their final resting places. The size of the ice block needed by his customers was indicated on the colored cardboard signs placed in the front windows of homes during delivery day. I clearly remember draping myself over the back of the big over stuffed club chair by the front window, as I eagerly watched for the dirty, noisy, ice truck to arrive at my grandparents' house. I was enthralled at the sight of the glistening block being toted to our door by the ever faithful ice man. He brought the super chunk into the house and placed it in the compartment in the top of the ice box, where it remained until it gradually melted into a pan at the bottom. The liquid left by the melted ice was poured out into the sink or outside in the yard. Once the ice was almost melted delivery day was near and I once again draped myself over the chair and wait expectantly for the ice truck.
One evening my husband and I were engaged in a game of Scrabble with our children and young grandchildren and enjoying snacks and cold drinks. Some leftovers needed to be refrigerated so I asked our 7- year old grandson to put them in the ice box.
We resumed playing our game when I noticed our grandson, with a puzzled look on his face, feverishly weaving in and out the table legs and searching anxiously throughout the kitchen and dining areas. Just as I opened my mouth to ask him what in the world he was doing, it dawned on me he was searching for the ice box, which he interpreted as being the ice chest!
As the tables turned, our grandson, happy to know about some things we didn't, excitedly explained the terms IPod, UTube, and XBox, among other strange terms, to his rather out-of-date grandparents.
If our age doesn't give us away, our generation terms certainly do, but my husband and I now try to refer to our "ice box" as the refrigerator or fridge, especially in the presence of our young grandchildren.
Long live the ice box!
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Your article brought back teenage memories for me. We still had the 'ice box' while I was 15 yrs old. I remember it well. When I was much younger we were also privileged to go the "ICE HOUSE" to see how the ice was made. It also brought back memories of mother churning the milk and making butter. Oh, sweet memories.