Growing up on a farm during the 1940’s was an enchanting time but could also be perilous.

One day of the week was extra special to us because it was the day the ice man came to the Weld road. Us kids, as we called ourselves, waited  by the well pump for the truck to rattle up the road and stop beside the gravel driveway. The iceman would roll back the heavy canvas covering the big blocks of ice, He grabbed curved tongs with both hands and with a loud screechy crunch stabbed a block  and heaved it onto his shoulders. We followed him up the stairs to the bare kitchen, Mom always stood next to the ice box and held the top open as he dropped the ice in with a chilly bang, We scurried after him because the best was yet to come.

Back to his truck he would feel around the blocks for pieces of ice which he placed in each of the little outstretched hands.I loved the feel of the cold ice as it shattered in my mouth and made my tongue feel numb and made talk funny,

One day we watched as Grampa backed his truck up to the shed door,and he and dad hoisted a large white box up the stairs. We were told it was a refrigerator. Dad plugged a black cord into the newly installed electric outlet and much to our amazement a light lit up the inside when the door opened .

The old wooden ice box was discarded outside by the shed door. The next morning, my little brother Hunky and I went outside to play,, I turned to see Hunky climb into the box,I climbed in beside him and closed the door.  It was dark,I pushed on the door with my shoulder, nothing happened it did not move. I shoved harder, nothing, I scrunch my body around with my knees next to my ears and kicked the door, my feet hit the solid wood with a bang, again I kicked, bang, bang,bang. The metal that lined the small box moved slightly as I slammed my feet against the unyielding door, “Let me Out!”  “Let me out!” I screamed over and over. Hunky was wedged against my side hot and sticky. I could feel his body tremble as he whimpered softly .”Let me out!” I screamed as I pumped my legs faster and faster bruising my ears as my knees flew past them in the tiny box.

The sound in the box was deafening, I didn’t hear the metallic click, but I felt the blast of cool air hit my tear-stained face as I fell forward and I gasped as my cheek skidded on the damp grass. I looked up into the handsome face of George, Grandpa’s 16-year-old Hired Hand. He nodded, turned and walked toward the barn. I felt Hunky’s small damp hand on my back as he struggled to stand on his wobbly baby legs. He stood and toddled down the path after George.

Mom lifted her hands from the overflowing dishpan as I rushed to her side. In my urgency to tell her what had happened my words came out garbled and all ran together. She sat me down and placed a glass of cool water in front of me and turned back to the mountain of dirty dishes.

Later that morning I crept down the stairs and peeked around the shed door, a flattened square of grass was in the place where the ice box had stood with it’s gaping door. I never saw that ice box again and no one ever mentioned the ice box in my presence.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: