Swiped Some Ice Cream

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, August 16, 1913:  Went out to Alma’s this morning on the train. We went to a festival over at California this evening. That was the first country festival I was ever to. We went up to the Hall this afternoon to tap the packers and then we swiped a dish of ice cream. When we finished it, we washed the dish and spoon in salt water.

Picture source: National Food Magazine (June, 1910)

At a festival an ice cream freezer larger than this one (and perhaps powered with a gasoline engine) may have been use to make the ice cream.(Picture source: National Food Magazine: June, 1910)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

California was a very small hamlet in western Montour County, and Alma was a cousin of Grandma’s.

Grandma would have taken the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick train from a whistle stop near her home to Montour County. It would have been about a 15 mile trip.

Grandma, you should have paid for the ice cream, and you shouldn’t have washed the dish and spoon in the salt water that was draining out of the ice cream maker—but whew, it sure sounds like you and Alma were having a lot of fun!

15 Responses

  1. This brings back a lot of memories of hand cranking ice cream :-). I won’t fault them for washing the dish and spoon in salt water, it may have been all they had.

  2. Kids will be kids no matter what the century, eh?

  3. What did she mean that she went to the Hall and tapped the packers??

  4. I love it that your grandma was full of mischief 100 years ago…. and that it is probably the same now. We have an ice cream social coming up and the county festival (like a big flea market). I will be watching for ice cream snatchers. :)

  5. !8 and her first country festival! Kids these days sure seem spoiled in comparison.

  6. I love that she recorded swiping ice cream in her diary. Pretty funny a hundred years later.

  7. Good for her, living it up! While her prank sounds harmless, it makes for a daring move back then. Sounds like Alma was a fun influence

  8. Yup, I think Helena needs more quality girl time with Alma. And I’m wondering if she wore her new dress and took her camera.

  9. Sheryl, here’s another blog post about old-fashioned ice cream (which my friend wrote): http://writersite.org/2013/08/15/real-frozen-custard/

  10. Who could resist? Ice cream from a cranked freezer is the best but I have not had any in years.

  11. Lovely to see her cheered up…

  12. I wonder if “tap and “swipe” were slang usages in that time and place? Could have just been a cute way of saying “get something [free] from.” So Hall? Packers? It’s funny that in one of Helena’s wordier entries, we have more questions! Also, was the salt water an accepted way to cut the sugar and fat and leave the dish and spoon clean? Bacteria won’t grow on salt, but it sure would on a surface with ice cream left on it.

  13. […] was Grandma’s cousin—as well as a friend. In August Grandma visited Alma for three […]

  14. […] previous summer Grandma spent several days at Alma’s. For example, on August  16, 1913 Grandma […]

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