• Bicentennial hydrant painted as a member of the "Colt 45's," a marching band group for Dubuque youth. Dubuque's hydrants were allowed painting by locals w/o permission or guidelines. Such freedom!

Ice Cream Man--Summer 1976

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"The ice cream man is here!"

Kids scrambled to parents for change. Moms dug in pockets and purses for a few coins, happy to see the kids being occupied for awhile. We stood in line, amazed at the fronds of steamy-cool air that curled from within that magical freezer door behind The Great One's head.

For the groups--

Note my two brothers' socks and tennis shoes, foreground. Both are wearing dark colors. The "brand" of tennis shoe was utterly unimportant back then. A shoe was a shoe.

The shorts were much more form-fitting than today's baggies. No belts nor pockets, either--not visible in the photo, but I attest to their absence. Cut-offs had them, of course, but the shorts on my brothers were the early "store-boughts." I don't remember shorts with pockets till 1983, at least in the Midwest.

That each boy had a printed t-shirt of some sort reminds me that it was in this era, and not much earlier in Dubuque, Iowa, at least, that "message shirts" became common.

I also note the stylelessness of their haircuts.

changoblanco, avilon1, communicatrix, and 19 other people added this photo to their favorites.

  1. KBlood 111 months ago | reply

    Make me want to break into song!

  2. IOWAPILOT 111 months ago | reply

    I was going to say---I know its been kind of warm this last week but not for the ice cream man. Great shot. Love the socks. Kind of reminds me what males look like when they turn about 70. They have the blue or black calf socks with shorts on. Always makes me laugh.

  3. Riverside Dreamer 111 months ago | reply

    I always got a blue coconut snow cone from the ice-cream man. They were perfect on a hot summer day in Oklahoma!

    I turned 8 years old the summer of 1976, and boy-o-boy does this bring the memories back!

    Thanks for sharing this photo!!!

    (Old Photos Group)

  4. lonely moose 111 months ago | reply

    Wasn't it great to grow up in Dubuque? Didn't seem like it at the time.... I spent my youth trying to leave and my adult years trying to get back.....

  5. Aquamelina 111 months ago | reply

    1976 was an awesome year to be alive! we still have an occasional ice cream man in some neighborhoods in north san diego county mostly owned/operated by hispanic families. i remember being with my step-mom and dad and family in san francisco, july 4, 1976, and them taking "bicentennial nips" from some bottle 'o booze sitting on the bumper of a black chrysler muscle car...dang, i can't remember the model of that car!

  6. Todd Ehlers 111 months ago | reply

    Thanks, fans of nostalgia!

    Yes, Dubuque was awfully nice, in retrospect. Some of the happiest years of my life were there but, were I to identify why, there wouldn't be a lot to say except to point at pictures like this.

    It's as though Dubuque still had a Mayberry lifestyle to it and forgot to "get with it."

  7. pdcvideo 111 months ago | reply

    That me on the left. The shirt is a Camp CS Klaus boy scout shirt and yes I still like bomb pops.

  8. IAAFOTS 104 months ago | reply

    very nice -thanks for adding to the Spirit of 76 pool!

    something that strikes me as sorta funny looking at this now is that in 1976 I would have considered you some Big City kid, living in Dubuque and all. My hometown of Ackley was only around 1,800 people, the only ice cream truck i'd ever seen was on TV. Well, there was a Schwann's truck that would drive around and take your order and then come back with ice cream and other treats a week later. Not quite the same. But you could go down to the dairy, which was never locked, and grab something from their freezer, leaving money for it in a little box they kept by the door.

    and it was pretty soon after this that the first modern-day Nike sneakers first started showing up, I remember them being a very cool shoe to be wearing by 5th or 6th grade (79-80).

    1976 was all about the introduction of Bubble Yum for Ackley youth, though.

  9. Todd Ehlers 104 months ago | reply

    I am therefore only a few years older than you. I graduated from the eighth grade in 1975. In the summer of '76 I was 15.

    Back then Dubuque still had a largely hometown feel to it.

  10. Rick Scadlock 92 months ago | reply

    I wish the ice cream trucks that came through my neighborhood still looked like this. It was an event in the 70's. Today's ice cream trucks are hideous. Thanks for sharing.

  11. VintageAngel 86 months ago | reply

    Oh, cool picture! I just love it! We used to yell, "Ice Cream, Ice Cream!". Until the ill fated day when my mother surely got sick of handing out money and told me that the ice-cream man picked his nose! :) I was so grossed out and never asked her for another cent for ice-cream again! :)

  12. Todd Ehlers 86 months ago | reply

    That rings a bell for me, too, Angel. In our neighborhood, the chant was most often, "The ice cream man!"

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