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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Daily At Your Door


How many of my blog readers in southern California remember the Helms Bakery delivery trucks in the 1950s and 60s?

Gone, like our Good Humor Ice Cream man, the Helms Bakery truck was a part of my growing up in a small suburb in So Cal.

I don't remember our Helms man's name...but I can still...50+ years later remember exactly how he looked. He was tall with olive colored skin and jet black hair...with a wide smile and sparkling eyes. And so kind to everyone.

Mr. Helms-Man would pull on a handle inside the truck that would sound the whistle announcing his arrival on Rex Road...and all the moms, children, and anyone else who was home that day would stop what they were doing and come outside to the truck. There the neighborhood people stood like a Norman Rockwell painting.

The 'magic' happened when Mr. Helms-Man leaped from the truck, swung open the double back doors and the deep drawers slid out filled with candy, donuts and freshly baked bread! Two of my favorite candies were the Pixie Sticks (paper straws filled with a Kool-Aid type powder like filling that would make your lips pucker and produce an instant sugar rush!), and the waxy bottle shape containers filled with a fruity juicy drink -- we would bite off a piece of the wax, drink the juice, then chew the waxy container!

What a healthy group of neighborhood kids we were..wired on sugar :)

When I was home from school sick (but not THAT sick) Mom would go out to the Helms truck and buy us each a chocolate donut to have as we watched I Love Lucy or Sheriff John's Lunch Brigade on television.

I would love to own a vintage Helms truck today...I would probably make it a traveling 'arts and crafts supply' truck...blowing my whistle and selling art supplies from the large wooden drawers ...Daily At Your Door...what at-home-artist wouldn't love that?! OK, and maybe Pixie Sticks! :-)

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16 Comments:

  • At 2:08 AM , Anonymous marita said...

    gone, like all the good stuff of our youth. but we're still hanging on to the memories that fill our hearts with tenderness of what once used to be...

     
  • At 7:05 AM , Anonymous Britt-Arnhild said...

    And when you were finished in your neighbourhood you could take it over to mine, in Norway.....

     
  • At 8:09 AM , Blogger Dagny said...

    Mmmmm. Pixie Sticks. I still used to buy those in college. Do you know how hard it is to feast upon a Pixie Stick while driving?

     
  • At 1:19 PM , Blogger ~jolene said...

    Marita...I suppose you can really tell I am aging when I recount these memories of my youth...

    britt-arnhild...ahhhh, if only I could DRIVE to Norway... ;-)

    dagny...LOL...I was never driving age when I ate Pixie Sticks!!! Too funny!

     
  • At 8:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "Laugh and be happy and the world will laugh with you...
    When people see you smiling, they can't help smiling too...
    Get rid of worry in a hurry chase those blues away...
    Just laugh and be happy allthe live-long day"

    I even saw Sheriff John at the Whittier Quad when I was about 5.

    Helms...I remember, but our Helms man blew a whistle instead of pulling a cord. He drove a pale yellow panel truck with hardwood drawers in the back and would take things out with tongs and wax paper. No better smell than that white bread...unless it was the fresh sliced bread at Shopping Bag !

    Ellen

     
  • At 9:08 PM , Blogger ~jolene said...

    Ellen, at age 57 I am envious you saw Sheriff John at the Quad! LOL!

    Our truck was pale yellow as well...but I could not find a photo of one that color!!!! As far as I remember the Helms man pulled on a cord that made the whistle blow! :)

    And you know something - as I was writing about it - I thought of our market Shopping Bag! (for those who didn't live in the 'hood where Ellen and I grew up...Shopping Bag was our local grocery market and a favorite of all the families who lived there!).

     
  • At 8:05 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    You know, there may still be an old yellow one in Pico Rivera. When my dad was alive (he died in 2000)but suffering from dementia he would walk out to the fence in the front yard and this bakery man would come by in what appeared to be a 50's Chevy panel truck with those same wooden drawers in the back and give him free doughnuts. My mother tried to pay the man but he would have none of it. He felt it was an honor to give to an old man. Probably gave his business away, doughnut by doughnut. But what a sweetheart.

    Ellen

     
  • At 12:33 PM , Blogger ~jolene said...

    Ellen, that is such a COOL story about your Dad!!! Thanks for sharing it here :)

     
  • At 6:19 PM , Blogger j-j said...

    Jolene, I am two years older than you and live in Newport Beach now but I grew up in Gardena which was a nice neighborbood then with lots of kids playing in the street, kick the can, etc. Yes I remember well the Helms man, but my favorite thing from those long drawers were the glazed donuts! Oh, I can still taste them. The Helms building in Culver City is still there and has an old truck inside. It is now the home of HD Buttercup which sells beautiful furniture and home accessories. They have preserved the beautiful building with the old signage still intact. www.hdbuttercup.com
    Thanks for the memory!

     
  • At 10:40 PM , Blogger ~jolene said...

    j-j...first of all..."Hi neighbor!" :) ...thanks for visiting.
    I LOVE all the info you provided...so cool! Thank YOU! I would have never known! I think those glazed donuts must have put me in a daze because I don't remember them, but everyone else does! I had to have my chocolate :)

     
  • At 2:33 PM , Blogger Garden Painter Art said...

    Jolene:

    I'm 43 and I still desperately miss the Helms Bakery Truck.

    Okay, here's my story: When I was, oh, about 4 or 5, I sent a drawing in to Sherrif John. I don't even remember what I drew, but I received a letter telling me that my drawing would be shown on the show on a certain day. On that day, I turned the TV on and flopped down on the floor with my pillow on a warm summer day. Now, I need to make it very clear that I was a hideous "momma's girl". Absolutely afraid to be in the house alone without mom. Soooo....just about the time Sherrif John begins to show the days art, the Helms truck comes by and my mom runs out to buy some goodies. I am so afraid to be in the house alone, I follow after her. By the time we got back in the house, I had missed my art!!! Holy Moly, what a big ol' baby I was. My one moment of fame and I missed it!

    I can still see the gorgeous honey colored wooden drawers in the back of the trucks. I can close my eyes and taste the sugary juice in the waxy bottles. I also loved the candy necklaces.

    What great great memories. Thanks for stirring them up Jolene.

    Kim
    Garden Painter Art

     
  • At 2:56 PM , Blogger ~jolene said...

    Garden Painter Art, Kim...

    I didn't even realize Sheriff John was still on tv when you were a kid!
    What a great memory you shared. I bet somewhere someone has that espisode with your art being shown on a tape!

    I didn't realize my Helms Bakery would stir up so many memories for people...how cool! Thanks for sharing yours!

     
  • At 3:38 PM , Blogger Garden Painter Art said...

    Yeah, he was on through 1970. My brother is 11 years older than I am and he watched Engineer Bill.

    What great days those were. Carefree and innocent. Now, instead of Sherrif John, kids are watching South Park and TRL.

    Kim
    Garden Painter Art

     
  • At 3:53 PM , Blogger ~jolene said...

    garden painter art Kim,
    I watched Engineer Bill too! When he played "Red Light, Green Light" I drank water because I didn't like milk! LOL! Great memories!!!

     
  • At 8:25 PM , Anonymous tongue in cheek said...

    What a darling truck. What a sweet memory to have.

     
  • At 11:39 PM , Blogger ~jolene said...

    tongue in cheek - Corey ...
    Yeah, those trucks were COOL! The memories ARE sweet - a much more simple time, for sure.

     

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