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A Second Scoop of an Ice Cream Menu of Memories

July 30, 2020


NOTE: During this unusual, as well as unusually hot and busy summer of 2020, I have once again dipped into “Alice’s Archives from WORDWALK” to share with you one of my favorite personal essays–a memoir piece totally about one of my favorite summer treats–ice cream. I hope you enjoy these scoops from the past which I first served on WORDWALK in the summer of 2015.



An Ice Cream Menu of Memories


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



As this summer of 2015 is drawing to a close, I am thinking of ice cream. I could think of “My Life, According to Ice Cream.” Oh, yes, I do love ice cream. While I like all types of ice cream, my preference is the soft-serve variety.


Some of my earliest recollections of ice cream revolve around the myriad of frozen treats that were neatly arranged in open boxes inside the deep freezer at my grandmother and uncle’s grocery store in Blanford, Indiana. As one entered the large store building on Highway #71 and took a few steps on the wooden floor, the one freezer in the general store was immediately to the right. At countertop level, one could push to the right the glass-top door and feel the cold environs of the “land of plenty of ice cream.” (The other side of this white and silver freezer was for other foods, such as frozen fish–not nearly as appealing to my taste buds as the ice cream treats.) Fudgsicles (trademark), ice cream sandwiches, ice cream drumsticks, Eskimo Pies, and orange push-ups were among the array of frozen treats. On a regular basis, I reached into the deep freezer and selected something special–most frequently ice cream made by Meadow Gold.


In addition to these ice cream memories at my maternal grandmother’s store, my Aunt Zita’s well-known Italian restaurant offered on her Binole’s Restaurant menu a wonderfully refreshing lime sherbet and the signature spumoni pie. How I did love that spumoni pie! The ice cream pie (nine-inch, I imagine) was made by Wright’s Ice Cream Company of nearby Cayuga, Indiana. (Although Wright’s Ice Cream Company, which was established in 1939, is still in business, the Hoosier company no longer makes the spumoni pies, but does still make spumoni ice cream.) Served at my Aunt Zita’s restaurant, the spumoni pie had a chocolate crust, atop which was a chocolate layer of ice cream. The middle layer of ice cream was cherry, and the top layer was pistachio ice cream on which was sprinkled chocolate crumbs. What a pretty and delicious dessert! My family and I have never known of a similar spumoni pie served anywhere else. (NOTE: If you have had a similar spumoni pie at another location, please add your comment to this Wordwalk blog post.)


On hot, summer nights, my dad and I would take the “Trail of the Lonesome Pines” (the rural, country roads, instead of the highways) to nearby Clinton (seven miles from our Blanford home) to have a curly ice cream treat from the Dairy Queen–our favorite ice cream place for many years. In those earlier years at the original location on North Main Street in Clinton, the Dairy Queen was only open during the fair weather months and had no indoor seating. In later years, when we took my paternal grandmother for a ride with us, she never wavered: she always ordered, in Italian, a “little” cone. In those days, a “little” cone still existed; today’s ice cream cones of the smaller size seem much too large. These were pre-blizzard years at the DQ. More than three decades ago, a new Dairy Queen with ample indoor seating was built near Clinton’s Quattro Stagioni (Four Seasons) Fountain, on the banks of the Wabash River. Yes, I have enjoyed more than a few caramel or strawberry sundaes, as well as a few “small” ice cream cones with a curl when visiting my home “ice-cream-land.”


Another great spot for ice cream when I was young was Blake’s on Ninth Street, in Clinton. Besides a pharmacy, excellent candy counter, and a variety of other sales items, Blake’s had a delightful ice cream counter, which was the tallest which I have ever experienced. Of course, the stools were high enough to match the counter. In addition to ice cream cones of the one- or two-dip variety, Blake’s made delicious ice cream sodas in the traditionally tall soda glasses. One of the best parts of my weekly piano lessons was that my mother afterward took me to Blake’s where I most frequently ordered a small Jack-and-Jill sundae, served in a small tulip-type sundae glass and made of Borden’s ice cream . (Do you remember Borden’s Elsie, the cow?) At one of the tables in Blake’s, Mother and I sat, talked, and ate ice cream sundaes of special note. In my kitchen cupboard, I still have four tulip-type sundae glasses which I purchased for around two dollars from Horney’s Variety Store, on Main Street in Clinton, around 1972; and I still use these sundae glasses.


For a number of summers in the 1950s and the 1960s, we vacationed at Lake Shafer, in Monticello, Indiana. While I looked forward to swimming at Indiana Beach and eating the varieties of salt water taffy, my favorite treat at Lake Shafer was–you guessed it–the splendid frozen custard in a cone or in a dish.


In 1968 or 1969, I went to a mall for only the second time in my life. At this mall in New Jersey, we went to one of the multi-flavor ice cream stores–my family’s first time to visit such an establishment. Since we were spending our summer vacation with relatives in New Jersey, of course, my cousin Lisa (then, age nine or ten) was with us at the ice cream store. After reading through all the typical and imaginative flavors, Lisa wanted to order vanilla! I may have ordered burgundy cherry.


Moving along in my ice cream chronology, I remember going to another one of these multi-flavor ice cream stores in a mall in Bloomington, Indiana, where my sister lived for seven years. When the young man behind the counter asked me what flavor I wanted, the choice was easy–licorice voodoo! I have always loved licorice and anise flavor. Well, I thought he was not going to dip the deliciously flavored ice cream for me. Although he thought the licorice ice cream was quite distasteful, he finally did dip into the ice cream; and I, as usual, thoroughly enjoyed my licorice voodoo ice cream cone.


Throughout my years of going to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I enjoyed the frosty malt ice cream treat in a tall cup with a lid–especially on the sunnier and hotter days of May. Another fond ice cream remembrance from Indianapolis is the uniquely shaped ice cream bar from the Indiana State Fair. The elongated cube of creamy vanilla ice cream was coated with a hardened butterscotch topping which I fondly found to be unique and flavorful.


Although we did not make homemade ice cream often, when we did, the special treat was truly savored. Additionally, each year that we went to the Covered Bridge Festival in October, we always saved room for the persimmon ice cream, “homemade” by the Boy Scouts and sold on the Parke County Courthouse square, in Rockville, Indiana. When October comes, I always recall that wonderful ice cream.


During the 1980s, when my nephews were very young and we gathered together in Indiana, we took the boys to our family’s favorite ice cream shop in Paris–Illinois, not France. Bev’s Ice Cream not only had outstanding ice cream of many flavors, but also dipped the ice cream into homemade waffle cones, which gave a delightful aroma to the small shop.


Having lived in Milwaukee since 1991, I am a fan of Wisconsin’s frozen custard. I pass on the Cream City beer–just give me a Cream City frozen custard!


Oh, how we celebrate with ice cream! Ever since ice cream cakes were sold by Dairy Queen, my extended family has often chosen these specialties for birthdays and other occasions. During the Christmas season, I am always ready for peppermint candy ice cream and the gingerbread ice cream. With autumn just around the corner, bring on the pumpkin ice cream! Thus goes “My Life, According to Ice Cream.”


POST-SCRIPT: While the person who invented the ice cream social deserves scoops of praise, the ice cream social, according to my pleasant recollections, emphasized cake, pie, and socializing, as much as ice cream. Thus, perhaps, I will save the ice cream social for the topic of a future Wordwalk blog post.


Enjoy your favorite ice cream treat!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


First posted on WORDWALK: September 16, 2015, Wednesday

Re-posted on WORDWALK: July 29, 2020, Wednesday

NOTE: Due to problems with my internet connection last night, this piece will be posted at least one day later than usual.



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  1. Dear Alice,
    I’m writing this comment right after enjoying a delicious homemade banana split! Well, what else can I do with one overripe banana? Lanie and Caden, my Michigan grandchildren, just flew home yesterday after spending several days with us. The highlight of dinner each evening was ice cream for dessert! Lanie always chose chocolate with a bit of chocolate sauce and a good squirt of whipped cream on top.. Caden, on the other hand, preferred a big scoop of strawberry ice cream. On our last night together, we celebrated Lanie and Caden’s summer birthdays along with their Colorado cousins’ (Emmy, Tyson, and Trey) May birthdays. Of course, we had a Dairy Queen ice cream cake decorated with the words: “Happy Birthday, Kids!” Rest assured, your great nieces and nephews will carry on the family ice cream tradition very well!
    Love to you and Willow,

    • Mary–Good to know!  Thanks for adding to this post the ice cream tastes of your five grandchildren.

      Happy August!

      Alice and Willow

  2. Hi Alice, Thank you for this early morning visit to your small-town post office and your Mother as she worked as Post Master in Blanford, Indiana. What lovely memories you have as a child going to work with your Mother. It is easy to see that you are so much like your mother. I wonder if this post office still exists and if so, would it be in the same building that you remember? Lynda

    • Hi, Lynda–Thanks for reading and commenting on these two blog posts.  To answer your question, yes, the building, with a couple of remodels, still stands.  When I last checked, the post office was still in business–but with reduced hours of operation.  When I most recently was in Blanford, I met the current postmaster who told me about the historical clippings about the town which she had displayed very nicely in a glass-covered case.  I was delighted to know that the new postmaster had such an interest in the history of our little town.

      Take care, and happy August–Alice and Willow

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