When I was in the 6th grade we moved to Florence Street. Pop had the house built there while we were living on Third Ave. We loved our new house. All the bedrooms (3) were in a row down one side of the house. And, the great thing was…….they all had their own bathroom!!! Not huge, but a bathroom, none the less. And, oh! how Joy and I loved having our own space! ‘Cause she was the little sister who always got into my stuff! 🙂

We moved next door to the Peacocks. They had 3 daughters…2 were older and one was right between Joy and I in age. Oh, the adventures we had. But, I’ll have to talk about those another day, this is about time shared with the families.

My Uncle Allison and Aunt Katherine were some of the finest people I have ever known. Aunt Katherine lives with Jesus now. She and Mom have probably started a WMU (Women’s Missionary Union…it’s a Baptist thing ) in Heaven. And, if those 2 decided they wanted to start a WMU in Heaven…you can bet it’s going strong! They were 2 very determined women! Uncle Allison is still going strong. I could say alot about him, but I’ll just say this…I think when I see Jesus, He will remind me of my Uncle Allison is many, many ways.

Our families became very close. Whenever Mom or Aunt Katherine cooked something special, they made another dish for the other. Why, neither would even think of cooking one pie…always 2. But, I think the most favorite was ice cream! Now, Aunt Katherine and Uncle Allison LOVED them some ‘cream’! They had some every night before bed. There was always several varieties in their freezer. But, none of that compared to their love of home made ice cream! I can still hear Uncle Allison sticking his head in the back door and saying, “Y’all leave room for some cream. It’ll be ready in about 30 minutes!”

He would haul out the old worn freezer, along with the ice and the rock salt. Aunt Katherine would have mixed up the ice cream recipe in the mean time. Then she would pour it into the tall silver cylinder and insert the ‘do-dah’ with the little ‘flapper thingys ‘on it, down inside the cylinder. This would then be handed off to Uncle Allison who would pack it into the big bucket, and pack ice and rock salt around it. Then the top would go on. And, the hard work would commence.

I have memories of many folks in my life making ice cream. We always had a freezer…and we used to have lots of ice cream suppers at our church. All manner of freezers would be lined up out under the bus awning…and each owner working feverishly to produce the best of the night! For a long while, this consisted of the men having to turn the crank themselves. They would try to get the sons to help, but they were too clever to come near while the cranking was going on. Occasionally, they would ask one of the kids to come and sit on top of the freezer. (I never knew if that was of any benefit or if it was just a joke to see how long the kid would sit on that freezer!) They would turn and turn and crank and crank…and then without warning they would say…”It’s ready”. The tables had been gotten out of the storeroom at the end of the fellowship hall and depending on the weather, set up inside or out. The ladies then covered the tables with white butcher paper. One by one all the freezers would be opened and brought into our old fellowship hall and put on the tables. Every third or fourth freezer or so, there would be a pound cake or some cookies. A long line of silver cylinders holding ice cream made by some of the finest! I never understood this either…almost always they would leave the’ flapper do-dah’ INSIDE the silver part. It made it so hard to dip down in there and get the ice cream out. Maybe there was some reason or maybe it was just always done that way! Anyway, it was always tasty and the perfect end to a Sunday spent at church!

I also remember there always being home made ice cream when we visited in NC. It would seem as if you could not be together without several ice cream freezers going at once. My Aunt Evelyn made a wonderful peach ice cream that was soooo good, I remember it still after all these years! And, I can recall many freezers made at my Aunt Della’s home.

But, oh how nice it was when they made the electric freezers. NO MORE CRANKING!!! They could just fill them up and turn them on. The men still watched them though. Walk by and pat them approvingly…maybe add a little ice…sometimes throw a towel across the top. I think it may have made the men a little sad that their muscles were not needed to make this frozen treat anymore. The freezers may have gone electric, but the keen eye of the man in charge was necessary to be sure all was going as it should.

Really, home made ice cream was just about everywhere we went in those days. ‘In those days’…lots of things were different. Whole families got together. And, the kids all ages and sizes would play outside, even after dark. Or we would go to the den or the living room…wherever the adults were not! And, we got along. Or we didn’t. But, we got over it quickly because we knew we were all going to be together again soon! We had no video games to play, but we would occasionally watch TV…but being together and talking and playing was much more fun. After the adults had gotten the ice cream they wanted, they would call the kids. We were free to have whatever we wanted…of what was left. Usually the best was already gone! But, none of it was bad, so we were good!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must now make a confession. I really do not like home made ice cream. I do not like how inconsistent the flavor is. I do not like having to dig it out of those cylinders full of flappers and cream. But, mostly, I do not like the texture. It is not smooth. It’s bumpy. It is grainy. There are rivers of milk running in it. It just doesn’t suit my palate. All through the years, I have pretended to like it, because I never met anyone else who didn’t. But, I figure I am old enough now not to care. ( The only exception being the peach that Aunt Evelyn made…it was smooth and creamy.)

I do not know much about the early life of my Granny and Granddaddy Townsend. But, I loved to hear my Granny T. talk about the first time she ever had ice cream. She was 16 years old! It used to delight her to tell us all about that day. And, as we become older and she become older still…..we knew it would be impolite to tell her that we had heard the story before. Instead, we learned to express our awe and amazement one more time…and we began to take the delight in waiting for the telling to come again. Here she is outside her home in Douglasville, GA.

When we are children, we can’t wait to grow up and do all the things that grown-ups do. And, know all the things that grown-ups know. What we don’t know is that the older we get, the more the ‘magic of childhood’ fades away. And, the more the cares and concerns of the world get heaped upon our shoulders. But, if we are wise, we keep just enough of that ‘magic’ hidden away, to share with the little ones in our lives. And, if we tell them the same stories over and over again…it’s OK…we were taught by the best!




  1. Your story is soo very familiar . . . I could have written that post word for word from my childhood, too . . . but, you write so beautifully and bring back such rich memories!

  2. I have many "sweet memories" of my family making ice cream when I was growing up, too. I always got to "crank it" first before it got too hard to turn the handle. My grandmother and my mama always cooked the vanilla custard before freezing it, and it was so rich and creamy, it makes my mouth water just to think about it. They always added peaches just before pouring it into the silver canister, and took great pains not to get any of the salt water in the ice cream when it was finally deemed "ready," and they opened the canister. Thank you for bringing back all those happy family memories, Tonja …

  3. Bananas, Eagle Brand, milk—every Sunday afternoon out under the shade of Papa and Grandmother's house. Served in wide soup bowls, cereal bowls, mugs, drinking glasses (Heaven must have been looking down to save that city cousin who got that perfect ice cream in a glass, then poured Co-Cola over it!) Papa like to have skint him head and ears.

    Our own recipe at our house was a cooked custard, exactly like the recipes for that fancy sauce creme Anglaise, with eggs, milk, vanilla, cooked to "leave a little track on the spoon when you drew your finger across it"—VERY creamy and rich.

    But of all the treats at the Grandparents' house and at Aunts and Uncles—the stories are the sweetest.

  4. What sweet memories. I too remember my grandmother making homemade ice cream. Loved it. Hmmmm….this makes me want to pull out mine and make some up. Maybe I will next week when my Mom and Aunt are here.


  5. Thank you for sharing you story. Very sweet. I never had home made ice cream. NEVER
    Our son bought us the soft serve a few Christmases ago and it's okay but way too much work! I have had 3 weeks of old stories that I have heard over and over again. It's actually rather sweet and comforting. As long as my dad is here I will listen patiently each time.

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