by Margie Senechal
Yesterday, I had a killer headache. And that got me thinking about ice cream and the role it played in my childhood.
The first thing you should know is my Dad loved ice cream. Often at night, he had a small bowl--as he was diabetic--before he went to bed. He ate mostly vanilla but there were times when he'd have me or one of my sisters run down to the nearest DQ. Peanut Buster Parfaits all around.
My first actual memory of ice cream was when I was around six and we lived in Norfolk, VA. My dad was in town and we walked to an ice cream place. And I say my dad was in town because for the two years we lived in Norfolk, he spent more time at sea than actually being stationed on base.
I ordered a strawberry cone. It was probably the first time I'd had anything other than chocolate or vanilla. And remember, I'm old so this was before Ben and Jerry's. When I bit into that cone, I bit into the biggest frozen strawberry ever. And from that moment on, strawberry ice cream was my favorite. However, I never relived that experience and no other strawberry ice cream ever lived up to the memory of my first cone.
After Virginia, we moved to Iceland and I don't remember ice cream at all there. Oranges with sugar, yes. Icelandic pancakes--aka crepes--yes. Fish, yes. Lobster for the first time, yes. But, no ice cream.
Two years later we returned to the states and settled in Washington State following my dad's retirement from the Navy. I was nine and a half when we moved to Vancouver, sandwiched between my great, great aunt Marge, and my maternal grandparents. Ice cream for us was the common denominator.
If we wanted to get Aunt Marge a treat, it was a banana split. Grandma and Grandpa almost always had ice cream in their freezer--however, you wanted to get to it before it developed the "protective ice coating". In the summer, Dad broke out the cranking ice cream churner and made homemade ice cream.
During awards season, Dad made us chocolate malts with Breyers Ice Cream--after their debut--and Carnation Chocolate Malt mix. I still do that with my girls. It's tradition, after all.
And the ice cream truck. My sister, Debbie, and I spent our summers outside. There were times we--and our neighbor and bf, Louise--were at the top of the cherry tree and we'd hear that beautiful song. We'd send Deb to stop the truck while Louise and I went to our respective houses to grab coins. Eighty percent of the time we'd come up empty as our families didn't have a lot of spare change lying around. By the end of the summer, Popsicle Joe sped down our road going about eighty to avoid being stopped for nothing.
And now finally, I come to the Ice Cream Cure. I don't remember how this actually started, but sometime during our childhood, Dad told us that ice cream cured headaches.
So, whenever we wanted ice cream--especially if we were in the vicinity of O'Brady's or Travel Burger--both now defunct, but back then they had the best and biggest twist cones--someone came down with a head ache.
And yesterday, as I was leaving to take Jordan to the Humane Society where she volunteers, Mike told me to grab an ice cream sandwich for my headache as it was the only ice cream in the house. Dad would be so proud.