The Eastern Market on Wheels

Most mornings I woke up to the clanking of glass bottles being delivered to our front porch.

It was Twin Pines dropping off our two half gallons of milk. Every other week they’d deliver a half gallon of papaya juice, which was my treat when I was good. We heard that Milky the Clown sometimes rode in trucks in the suburbs, but that he was afraid to come to the hood. So we got our milk from guys in bow ties, green trousers and jackets.

Then later in the morning men screamed across the neighborhood: “Fresh fish!!. Fresh fish!”

They spent the night on the banks of the Detroit River and sold their catch the next morning. There were perch, walleye, white fish and cat fish.

They carried the fish on big chains slung over their shoulders. And if you wanted to examine the catch they laid them down on the ground on newspaper. The only problem is they had to fight off the flies to show off the catch. But the flies did not hurt sales.

They sold out every day.

Later that day the fruit and vegetable man road slowly down the street selling collard greens, carrots, peaches and apples off the sides of trucks. And finally in late afternoon came the Good Humor truck or Mr. Softie selling ice cream.

We’d hear the bells jingling or a song playing and had about three or four minutes to run into the house and beg for money to get our treat.

FYI. My favorite Good Humor bar was toasted almond or strawberry shortcake.

It was like the Eastern Market on wheels back in the day. It was a different world.

Today, we have expansive and beautiful super markets. My neighborhood had small markets. We did not have few fruit and vegetable options so this foot and truck traffic meant the world to us.

I do not see these people any more. We don’t even get the ice cream man where I live.

Today, the only deliveries we get are from Amazon, UPS and Fed Ex.

Did anybody else experience this slice of Americana?

Did anybody else get to experience this old school slice of Detroit?

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Published by terryfoster8

I am a 58 year old retired sports journalist, husband and father of two living outside of Detroit in search of his next big adventure in life.

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