Friday Flashback #43

A few weeks ago in my ode to High Point Road, I tossed in a memory of Ray the Good Humor Man.

Every Saturday, he jingle-jangled his way up the street. Kids dropped their BB guns, hula hoops or the younger sibling they were dangling upside down by the ankles, and raced to his truck.

At some houses, Ray sold 1 or 2 toasted almonds. Others stocked up on ice cream for the week: a dozen or so popsicles, ice cream sandwiches and whatnot crammed into a cardboard box.

Several commenters claimed Ray as their own Good Humor Man too, on other streets in town. One recalled his magic tricks, like pulling a quarter out of someone’s ear.

Ray was also a fixture at Burying Hill beach. With a lot more sand than there is today, that was a great hangout for us Long Lots kids. There was no concession stand, so when we heard Ray cruising in — and we heard him well before we saw him — we knew we would not starve.

Jean Whitehead not only remembered Ray from those Burying Hill days — she had a photo.

Here — looking like it belongs in Life magazine — are Ray, Jean and her sisters (plus some random boy).

I have no idea what year this was taken.

That’s fine. The scene is timeless.

17 responses to “Friday Flashback #43

  1. Jack Backiel

    Ray used to stop at the golf range in the early evening hours. I loved the toasted almond ice cream. I guess we’d be talking in the mid to early 1960s.

  2. Jack Backiel

    After a bit more reflection, maybe Ray used to be a nightly fixture at the golf range between 1958 and 1964. He used to stop in and sit in the “shack” and talk a little to the workers. (We used to call the wooden, yellow building where we sold buckets of golf balls ‘The Shack.”

  3. Love the bow tie, cap and white uniform!

  4. Judging by the bathing suits — figure 1965-1966. Ray visited Roosevelt Road down at Compo — then we had Art who cruised Fairfield Beach Road as far back at 1953. If you missed him cruising south on Ffld Beach Rd you could always catch him on the way back since the beach road was a peninsula.

  5. Marc Sholes

    I lived for the good humor truck when I was a kid…..and that bell… it was as if everything stopped we would all run to the truck….

  6. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    I think it was the Toasted Almond that got me addicted to Amaretto over ice cream.

  7. Anne Currie Rowlands

    Oh this made my day. I remember Ray often, and was a Burying Hill denizen. He came to Tupelo Road where i grew up, and the beach, and seeing him again is wonderful (with his very spiffy uniform and little change thingy!)

  8. Nancy Powers Conklin

    That is Ray for sure! I remember him as if I just saw him yesterday! I too hung out at Burying Hill beach with my friends and hearing Ray approach was always a time to run to get into line. He was a great guy and such a big part of my childhood. He used to come down S. Maple and stop at the intersection of Quintard Place. We had about 17 kids who lived on Quintard and most of them would respond to his jingle. Such great childhood memories.

  9. Fred Cantor

    What’s bizarre is: I have clear memories of Good Humor from the first part of my childhood in Fresh Meadows, Queens but absolutely none from my time living in the Coleytown area of Westport. Is it possible Ray did not stop by Coleytown El or Silverbrook Road (and that perhaps he zeroed in on other sections of town)?

    • Jack Backiel

      Fred, I’m sure he went where there were crowds of people like the beach during the day, and the golf range around 8:30 pm. He used to get mobbed there at night.

    • Steve McCoy

      I think Ray stayed out of the Coleytown area—-bad neighborhood!!!!!

  10. Tom Duquette

    Agree with Ray definitely mid-60s. Used to come by our house and we usually weren’t fast enough to alert our dad to give us the money to catch him. But we could always sprint through the neighbor’s backyard and grab them on the next street. Usually toasted almonds all the way around. Glad to see some entrepreneurs bought the truck and are still offering the service in Westport.

  11. Geoff Hodgkinson

    I waited for him almost every day during the summer and when he appeared he’d do his little quarter tricks and then he flashed the biggest wad of cash this side of Goodfellas (in retrospect, similar to Tom Savarese Sr. at the Sunoco station on the Post Road) .

  12. I remember well how we waited for Ray’s trucks all those nights. Strawberry shortcake and chocolate eclair was my favorite. Love that old photo!

  13. Julia and Scott Broder

    Fantastic photo❗️👍🏼

  14. David Squires

    Great Pix…
    My Dad was so mean, he use to tell us when the Good Humor Man rang his bell, it meant he was OUT of ice cream!!!

    (that’s a joke borrowed from a comedian. My dad was actually very nice!)

  15. This photo really hit me. I grew up at Burying Hill beach, with Ray. We were there most days during the summer in the mid-60’s (I was born in 1960, attended Green’s Farms Elementary). Rocket pops were a nickel, the cheapest item on the menu. For me it was toasted almond. The diligent ones among us would search for dropped coins in the sand. Mr. Lockwood was the guard, checking for the windshield sticker. Summers with Matt Losak, Garret Vail and clan, Skip Garofolo and brothers, and the whole crew from school – Todd Keehan, Susan Doniger, Patch Eichner, fishing with David Hobbings.