That Girl’s Blog: Ice Cream Trucks – The Sound Of Summer

What sounds like summer to you?

Children laughing?  Waves crashing on the beach? Crickets and peepers at night?

For me, it will always be the ringing bell and calliope music that comes from a brightly colored truck ambling through a neighborhood delivering frozen treats to children of all ages. Who doesn’t love the sound of an ice cream truck?

As a child, I can remember dropping whatever game we were playing and dancing in the front yard as we waited for our favorite summertime treats: Italian Ice, Nutty Buddies, Good Humor Bars, Sno Cones, Screw Balls, Hoodsie Cups, Chipwiches, Choco-Tacos. It seemed like there were too many to choose from!

I would stand last in line, gazing at the collage of treats on the side of the truck with a fistful of coins, waiting to make my final decision until the last possible second! We knew the routes of our neighborhood ice cream truck and knew when to be outside with money in hand.

Modern day ice cream trucks have been around since the 1920s. The first trucks started rolling through towns in Ohio thanks to a candy maker named Harry Burt. Harry Burt is also credited with inventing the Good Humor Bar by covering a square of vanilla ice cream with chocolate and putting them on sticks to make eating the melting dessert less messy.

During the Great Depression, the popularity of ice cream trucks was perhaps boosted as they were an inexpensive alternative to ice cream parlors which had become considered a luxury.

In the beginning, ice cream trucks were outfitted with sleigh bells. Just like Santa’s sleigh, the sound of bells meant treats were on their way for children throughout their neighborhood. The bells were so successful, they let some ice cream men experiment with different types of music boxes and, eventually, the tinkley, calliope music emerged as one of the most recognizable sounds to Americans.

In fact, even today, the sound of tinkle rag-time music will transport most of us back in time. We will fish around our pockets for spare change and dollar bills and stand in line with our own children for a taste of our own childhood.

A few weeks ago, an ice cream truck made a special trip through my neighborhood. I witnessed children’s heads pop up like prairie dogs from their video games. Neighbors stepped outside in the sunshine to see if they were actually hearing a familiar melody. There were smiles on the faces of their parents and, in almost no time, there were bright blue tongues and chocolate smudged cheeks on children of all ages.

And, yes, I found myself standing in the middle of my front lawn with a crumple of money in my hand waiting patiently to order a Toasted Almond ice cream bar… (and a Choco-Taco for later).


Special thank you to Cape Cod Slush & Ice Cream Co., for the smiles! 

What’s your favorite Ice Cream Truck treat? Tell me about it! [email protected] 


About Cat Wilson

Cat Wilson is "That Girl" on Cape Country 104 – a Cape Cod native and longtime Cape radio personality. She is a passionate supporter of Military and Veteran causes on the Cape and also hosts local music spotlight program, “The Cheap Seats” on Ocean 104.7.
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
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