On writing: From marrow bones to lint brushes (Part 2)

Photo credit: Hammacher Schlemmer
Photo credit: Hammacher Schlemmer

So, where were we?

Ah, we were talking about finding inspiration for your writing by just paying attention to what is going on around you. I was telling you about the Kickball Ice Cream Maker in an earlier post. This is a rubberized ball that you can fill with ingredients, then hand the ball over to someone more energetic than myself to toss and kick it around for at least 20 minutes. Then you open it up and enjoy the ice cream.

The ad for it reminded me of my family’s hand-crank ice cream freezer and how it took all of us to make the ice cream. My mother would mix the ingredients into a custard, then my father would fold an old, brown wool Army blanket and place it on top of the freezer so that I could sit on it to hold the freezer steady while he turned the crank — a perfect division of labor.  I cannot see a wooden ice cream freezer without thinking about how it felt to sit on that scratchy wool blanket.

I read about the Kickball Ice Cream Maker in an e-mail from retailer Hammacher Schlemmer. The page also displayed thumbnail images of “Related Items”, which is where I spotted The Genuine Good Humor Ice Cream Cart, which you may remember from your childhood. One or two ice cream trucks or carts used to come through our neighborhood every summer evening, causing a swarm of children clutching coins and running to buy the frozen treats. (I think orange Dreamsicles were my favorites, followed by cherry or grape Popsicles or the occasional Drumstick.)

Since they seemed to arrive just as my mother was making dinner, she used to come into the living room and turn up the volume on the TV so that I couldn’t hear the jingling bells. She confessed this years later and I don’t seem to be psychologically scarred from the experience.

These carts are still in production and can be purchased for a mere $2500.00. I have to wonder who would purchase such an item? I have a friend who owns an ice cream parlor in a coastal New England town. I can see her buying one for advertising, having one of her young employees pedal through the narrow streets to reach new customers.

They would be great just as a food cart to be pedaled about or taken from summer festivals to concert venues. Two words of caution for any of you thinking about buying The Genuine Good Humor Ice Cream Cart: “Assembly required.” Don’t say you weren’t warned.

I also see some Serious Businessman buying a cart to set up his young children in a summer business. The attorneys could take care of incorporation papers and bribing the local health inspector. His children could print their names next to the X on the loan agreements that the attorneys drew up. All would agree that it’s too early to incorporate. First, let’s drive that cute little lemonade stand on the corner out of business. Then we can think about the IPO.

Hey, it’s just business, right? All’s fair in business.

I admit I don’t have any good experiences with the business world because I never had any fun. But I would have loved to had my very own Genuine Good Humor Ice Cream Cart when I was young.  That would have been nothing but fun.

Instead, my first experience with business was joining Junior Achievement (JA) in high school. Given the title of this post, you should not be surprised to hear that we manufactured and sold lint brushes in our little company.

Not to disappoint you, but it’s not as exciting as it might sound.


5 thoughts on “On writing: From marrow bones to lint brushes (Part 2)

  1. Yeah……lint brushes. Kate, I love your writing. Sam was our Good Humor man. And then Mr Softee appeared in the neighborhood…the battle of the men in white. Those were fun times, though.


    1. We also had a cranky man with a horse-drawn cart — Pony Treats. The boys named him (the man, not the horse) “Hog Jaw,” which did not exactly lessen his unhappy attitude. And yes, the pony left his own treats on the street. It was a very odd business model, but it was an interesting place to grow up.


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