It's a wonder we survived

gandle(4 NE)June 24, 2012

Mr. Penkava would drive the team of horses around the small town near where we lived. He also had a country route and came by our place once a week. He was the ice man. The sign would be in the window for how many lbs. grandma thought we needed that week usually 50 lbs. for the ice box. The ice seemed to be in 100 lb. blocks and he knew just where to hit one of them with an ice pick and then the ice tongs would let him carry it to the house and put it in the ice box... Grandma would often put a big chunk of ice in a pitcher of lemonade, BUT I knew where that ice came from. They harvested it of the lake south of town where we used to swim and go fishing in it. It was just lake water and I imagine you could have found about every bacteria known to man in that ice. I am sure when we went swimming in it we probably pee'ed in it too. The fact that I knew all this about the ice sure didn't stop me from drinking the cold drinks. I wonder if the fact being that we had all ingested all these bugs for years meant we had some immunity to the water borne diseases it could have had in it. Grandma always said "it froze, that cleans it up". Even in my childhood mind I didn't quite believe that. Used it anyway.

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The lakes around a town were usually the source of the ice, around my hometown too. Of course we never had seen a chlorinated pool, swam in the brook (start of one of the big rivers in Germany) and who knew what ended up in there. Came 1945 and we were on one of the main treck routes from the East to Bavaria and with it came everything from dissentary to typhoid and typhus, with an almost daily changing population which just stayed overnight before moving on. There was not one of us who got sick. I am convinced that we got immunity from all that we swallowed and wallowed in.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 7:22PM
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I've read that those that grow up as part of the landscape are less affected by the allergy's and diseases that bother others that grew up sheltered from the world around them. Seems to hold true with you also.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 7:39PM
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As a child I did my share of eating ice and drinking melting snow from questionable sources (my grandfather told me not to eat yellow snow) but I survied.

Fast forward, some 40 years ago, when we moved to silicon valley, all the craze was to add "flouride" to the drinking water to stop caveties in children's teeth.Our children still got caveties and I wonder what else?

Whose idea was that anyway and who profited from that?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 9:05PM
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gandle, I most definitely believe there's something to your theory about building an immunity to all those cooties you ingested.

Back in another lifetime I worked the front desk for an allergist. I found it curious that the treatment for most patients (as you probably know) involved monthly injections that contained tiny bits of the very things to which they were allergic.

So to me, it stands to reason that kids who roll around in the dirt with their long-haired pets while eating PB&J sandwiches will grow up with fewer allergies, than children who are put in a plastic bubble by their helicopter parents.

Karen, who snuggles regularly with a cat and dog, and LOVES Reeses peanut butter cups

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 8:47AM
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At least that lake water wasn't likely to be filled with medications like today's water. Oy!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 9:31AM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

My grandmother also had the "ice card" with the numbers in the corners to put in the window....but I was not allowed to eat that ice. It came from the Passiac River which even (maybe especially!)in those days was polluted as it ran through the very industrialized town of Patterson with the silk mills and the paper mills.
However when we went to the shore I was allowed to eat that ice....which came from a different river.

Grandma had a square thing which sat on the ice block that sort of settled into the block and made squares that could be chiseled out for real ice cubes.

My mother's father, a grandfather I never met as he died before I was born, was the original health food nut. My mother and consequently I, was not allowed to eat any soft drink that was colored.....certainly not anything green like the popular Green River, no hot dogs, no baloney, no store cookies and nothing bought from a street vendor. We were however encouraged to eat raw clams and oysters from Barnegat Bay, and unwashed vegetables from the garden.....which was fertilized with chicken manure.
I had very severe allergies as a child to spinach raspberries, pineapple etc. Now that I am older, it's corn pollen and molds and rag weed.

Life at home was exciting in the late 30's and early 40's...the bread man came every other day, the milk man and his horse drawn wagon, the ice man came about once a week, the knife sharpener came, the rag man stopped, the egg man....and when the war ended and sugar was again available, the Good Humor man! And we had twice weekly garbage collection and daily paper delivery and twice a day mail.
For a kid that was a lot of entertainment!
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 3:54PM
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As a young child, I too remember the horse-drawn wagons of the ice man, the man who sold fruits and vegetables from the back of his wagon, and the man who shouted " Rags - old iron". I could see why the old iron was valuable, but never could understand what was done with the old rags. The horses wold leave their droppings and flies would swarm. Nowadays, I might follow the wagon to get that addition to the compost pile.

Just the other day, my dh and I were remembering the scissors man who walked down the street with a little bell announcing his arrival. We would quickly gather up all our dulled knives and scissors to catch him as he sometimes moved fast to get enough customers to make a living. It sure would be nice to have him come around now.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 10:53PM
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