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 thoughts on “Swiped Some Ice Cream

  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. 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. 🙂

  3. 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.

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