Remembering the Ice Man and His Helper
In writing my first food history book Hog and Hominy, I interviewed my father Fred Opie Jr. Out of that conversation came a story about an ice cream related job he had as a boy growing up in the Hudson Valley’s Village of North Tarrytown (later renamed Sleepy Hollow) in New York. My father’s description of the job he had helping the town’s ice man make deliveries reminds me of an ice cream production and preservation system unknown to his two grandchildren.
Fred Opie Jr:
There were not too many black [owned] businesses [back when I was a boy growing up in North Tarrytown], I can almost count them on my hand. . . . most of the black businesses were moving businesses, moving companies. . . One company was operated by [Mr.] Grant [who also] had an ice business and sold coal by the bag. I actually worked for him when I was a boy . . . in the 40’s because back then everybody had ice boxes you know. And . . . there was a place where you would go and buy large chunks of ice [and he would haul it in his flatbed truck]. He had a real knack for cutting the ice . . . it was a real art to cutting whole pieces of ice . . . a real science. [We delivered ice to the Glovers, a family that operated a candy shop on Cortland Street that] sold . . . ice cream.