A Tiny Taste of Childhood Summers in Philadelphia

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When we were young, the Mister Softee truck was always a welcome after-dinner summer treat for us city kids. We’d fill sweltering summer days playing kick the can, riding Big Wheels or “swimming” in round plastic pools from K-Mart in the shared driveways (or alleys – depending upon your preference 🙂 ) behind the mid-century row houses in Northeast Philadelphia, before grabbing dinner – and hopefully a Mister Softee – before heading back to the driveway to play Manhunt.

I always preferred Mister Softee to the standard popsicle purveyors. I mean, really, it’s no contest, right? Swirls of vanilla and chocolate soft serve so covered with with rainbow or chocolate jimmies that it’s quite possible to forget what flavor you ordered because you cannot see beneath them vs. corn-syrup-y, fake juice-y frozen shapes that mom can buy at the grocery store? Soft serve driving down the street wins hands-down for me. (Potentially controversial side note: “Sprinkles” are “jimmies” for non-Philadelphians, and potentially some Philadelphians, but this is a “jimmies” gal’s blog – haha.)

Honestly, I haven’t had an ice cream truck drive down my street in about 10 years.  Once we moved to the Philadelphia suburbs, and then to Portland, the tell-tale jingles touting approaching cool, sweet treats were no longer part of our summer.

In fact, technically, my kids have never really been exposed to the whole ice cream truck concept.

However, funny thing. This truck drove up our street, and Gavin darted toward it.

Portland ice cream truck

He knew. Apparently, you needn’t have had the experience before knowing this is definitely a good thing for kids in the hot summer weather. 🙂 Sadly, this was the popsicle kind of truck, but it still made me think about summers on Wellington Street in Mayfair and smile.

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