No milkmen is example of loss of simplicity

Published 9:55 am Monday, October 6, 2014

Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf

It was with a sad heart that I read the article in the Albert Lea Tribune recently that the milkman will be no more. Of course, I didn’t realize that the milkman still delivered to houses. Where were the ads, did I miss them? I might have had him stop by.

When I think of the milkman, I think of the dairy businesses that were in my community when I was young. Our milkman was Gordy Harpestad. He delivered the milk faithfully, along with stories and jokes that made his customers days better.

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Later on, after I was married and lived in another community, my milkman’s name was Bruce Berg. He, too, always had smile on his face and your day was always better after he left.

As a young mother, the milkman made my life easier. He brought milk to me so I didn’t always have to go out when my babies were little. I always had milk and a little ice cream and some frozen products.

You would know what day and time your milkman would be at your door delivering milk, juice, ice cream and more. He was dependable, and I never ran out of milk.

As a child, growing up in Wells, not only did we have Gordy, but we also had the West Side Dairy, at least I think that is what it was called. It was operated by the Nyflots. During the summer, we didn’t need an ice cream man because we could go to the dairy and pick up our treats. It’s funny the memories that stick with you when you are older.

The dairies and the milkmen were a big part of our community.

As I was reminiscing in my mind, I also remembered Gilbert Junge. He was a man with disabilities who had a truck that was handicap-equipped so that he could deliver groceries for the different grocery stores in my community. He would hire someone to help him.

For a few years my uncle worked for him and I was always excited to ride along to help. The customers always appreciated having their groceries delivered. It was a common site to see someone delivering groceries in the community.

I also remember the doctor coming to my house when I was sick so I didn’t have to go out and sit in a waiting room. Another little perk of medical facilities stilled owned by doctors.

It was with joy, when I visited my son in Ankeny, and we heard the chime of an ice cream truck. A little nudge from the past still exists today in our city streets, giving my grandchildren a little taste of the past.

We live in a world that moves fast. Packages are delivered overnight, food can be ordered on the Internet, yet we have frazzled parents running out of milk because they didn’t have time to get to the store. We have ignored the simple things that tried to exist in our ever-expanding world that we’re so simple we forgot about them.

There appears be no room for the milkman, the home town dairies, the local grocery delivery. Soon a drone may deliver your groceries from many miles away. I ask myself if that is progress.

The milkman delivery was simple. All we had to do was open the door and receive our milk or let him put it in the fridge if we were gone. All we had to do was make a list and phone it in, and our groceries would be delivered. The milkman and the grocery man became our friends.

There is no simple anymore. It has died, right along with the milkman and we let it.


Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at Her Facebook page is