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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Remember the milkman?

This Day in History: April 8, 1879

Do you remember the milkman? I am going to date myself and answer, "Yes, I do!" Only my experience was not with a milkman but a milkWOMAN! Her name was Mary Emma Coachman, the decade 1950s. We will step back in time to 1879 in a moment but first...

Milk & Memories

Woman Milking a Cow by Harry H. Buckwalter

Miss Mary lived in a small house in town, not in the country as one might presume since thinking of milk brings to mind cows. Her house sat on probably less than one acre of land with a small fenced in area in the backyard. She did not have a herd of cows, not even cows in the plural. She had one. One cow. I don't recall if she ever named her cow so we will simply refer to the cow as Miss Bessie. Keep in mind this is deep South thus Bessie was not just Bessie, but Miss Bessie.
It did not matter if it was Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, Miss Mary would rise at the crack of dawn readying herself to hand-milk Miss Bessie and deliver the fresh milk all over town. Even though this was a small town (really small) where she lived, not everyone in town received Miss Mary's blessing. You had to be on her list. 

My memory is still vivid of waking up early in the morning, then, opening the front door to retrieve the glass bottles of fresh milk. Let me emphasize...FRESH milk. Before drinking, the bottle had to be shaken quite briskly because the heavy cream had risen to the top. Oh, my! Yum!
Even better was separating the cream from the fresh milk. It had not been refrigerated so when the warm cream was shaken (mixed well), the liquid turned into a soft solid. The liquid that remained (buttermilk, saved for baking) had to be drained off, then cool water added for solidification. The 'solid' was placed onto a cool surface and any remaining liquids then pressed out. With the addition of a little salt, voila... HOMEMADE BUTTER! Oh, my! Yum! Yum! Yum! Yummy!
History & Memories
 
Examples of milk bottles
from the late 19th century
Source: en.wikipedia.org
Miss Mary may have delivered her fresh milk in bottles in the 1940s - 1960s, but it was well before her time when the milk was first made deliverable (January 11, 1878) and later sold in glass bottles. On this day, April 8, 1879, The Milkman Cometh … With Glass Bottles. It was on this day milk was sold in glass bottles for the first time in the United States. Before this time, milk was sold in bulk, right from the cow into pails, buckets, kegs, jugs, whatever container was available. Some dairies even tried offering milk in fruit jars (Cohansey jar, Crystal jar, and Pet jar) brought in by customers. 

To this day, I still prefer the milk in the glass bottle. What can I say? It is just different. While I may no longer have it delivered to my front door, nor even purchase it in the glass bottle, I can surely store it my refrigerator and enjoy the coldness you can only get from the glass, not the paper or plastic carton. That is not negotiable!
  
 That's my story, what's yours?

OOPS! Got milk? My bottle's empty!