Ice Box

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Down Memory Lane
By Joyce Caughron Rhodes

This path down Memory Lane begins with one of my earliest memories. I guess it could be called ‘Antiques.’ I mentioned we moved to Obion in 1939. This was a small community and at that time, we didn’t have any modern conveniences.
Well, most people didn’t, because they hadn’t been invented. Everyone was trying to survive from the “Great Depression.”
I know my family, their families and friends were all in the same boat, so to speak.
I can barely remember, but people did not have electric refrigerators and depended on what was called, an ‘Icebox.’
An icebox was something we were really proud of. This would keep the perishables cool, during the humid heat, for a longer period, yet, not cold enough to freeze the food. I remember the walls of the icebox were really thick and so was the door. It had a heavy latch to keep it closed. Now, this icebox required ice, large blocks of ice. The iceman would come to our house to leave the ice in the icebox. We had a sign we placed in our window, to let the iceman know how much ice we wanted that day. Usually it was a diamond shaped sign and in each corner of the sign would be 25, 50, 75 or 100. We would stand the corner up, on the point that had 25 (if we wanted 25 pounds) of ice and etc. Now, the cost of ice was priced per pound and this could end up being costly, depending on how much we purchased.
The iceman would stop his truck in front of our home, check the sign, and get out his large ice tong and hook it on the block of ice. He then brought it into our house, with water dripping, and placed it in the top section of our icebox. Sometimes, if we needed more ice or failed to put out our sign, we had to go to the icehouse and make our purchase there. This really required a vehicle of some kind. If you had very far to travel, the ice was too heavy to carry, and melted real fast, even if you covered it with burlap or news papers.
During these times, in the early forties and even before, this seemed like a modern convenience. The main headache, with these iceboxes, was caused by the drip pan at the bottom of the icebox. On really hot days, and if the door was opened very much, the dripping water filled the drip pan. We had to be on our toes to remember to empty the pan, unless we didn’t mind mopping pretty often.
Now, another thing that was a necessity, we had to have a sharp icepick. When we got ready to have a glass of tea or cold water, we had to use our handy icepick and chip, chip away, until we had the mount of ice that was needed. Of course, sometimes, we chipped off more than could handle (Did you catch that phrase?).
Harry Lee remembers the first refrigerator his parents bought. These were just coming out. Dallas Hall asked Mr. Wayne, “Can I just leave one in your home, for a week?” This just shows what a great salesman Dallas Hall was. Needless to say, soon everyone was enjoying the luxury of owning an electric refrigerator. Now, this just proves, what was once a great item, is now an antique.
“Here today, gone tomorrow.”

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