“You can find your way across this country using burger joints the way a navigator uses stars.”

I tried to keep the doors and windows open this morning, but the house temperature rose 3˚ in about a half hour. I gave in, shut everything and turned on the air conditioner. The house is quite comfortable now.

Last night was a toss and turn night. I went to bed around 12:30 but was still awake close to 3, but that’s the last clock watching I remember. I crawled out of bed at 10:15.

When I checked the weather report on line, there was no mention of rain. The Cape Times, however, did predict rain so I’m going with local. Some clouds have appeared so I’m a bit hopeful.

When I was a kid, rain never hampered a summer day. Heavy rain, even a deluge, was the most fun of all. We ran barefooted. Our clothes got soaked. We splashed puddles and the rivers running along the street next to the curb. We laughed in sheer joy.

My mother was a genius at extending ingredients especially hamburger, her medium of choice. We loved American chop suey. That the name was a misnomer never occurred to us because we hadn’t ever tasted real chop suey. My mother also made another pseudo-Chinese dish with hamburger. This one had chow mein noodles, the slurpy kind, and crispy chow mein noodles on top. It also had water chestnuts, Chun King from the can.  The ingredients seemed exotic to us. She made a sort of hamburger stroganoff long before Hamburger Helper. There were also dishes where the hamburger wasn’t disguised like meat loaf, spaghetti and meatballs and regular hamburgers on the grill.

The milkman came every few days leaving bottles of milk on the back step. Besides regular white milk, my mother had one bottle of chocolate milk delivered. We couldn’t drink just chocolate milk. We had to mix the white milk with the chocolate. It didn’t matter though as the chocolate milk disappeared quickly. We then had to mix Nesquik powder with our milk. I still remember the clink of spoon to glass when I stirred to mix. It is one of the fun sounds of childhood.

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20 Comments on ““You can find your way across this country using burger joints the way a navigator uses stars.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    In post war Britain we were delivered and universally detested school milk – A third of a pint a day in a glass bottle that was freezing cold or too hot with a shiny silver bottle top – a dietary supplement to be consumed each day in the school yard/playground

    “Drink it all up” …….UUUUUURRRGGGHHHHHH…disgusting.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      We bought milk in school to go with our lunches. They were kept downstairs in fridges and were delivered to our classrooms. They were always cold.

      I am not a milk drinker though I was as a kid. I don’t mind the left over milk in the cereal bowl, but that is about as much as I drink.

  2. minicapt Says:

    You had milk? Luxury! We had to scrape plaster off the walls into a glass of tepid water and stir it. Like a milkshake, it was.


    • katry Says:

      My parents paid for the milk, and back then it was quite inexpensive.

      You have the most vivid imagination!

      • im6 Says:

        If I remember correctly, the little half-pint containers of milk we bought at school to go with our lunches were 3¢ each. I always bought chocolate. Still do as a matter of fact; it’s just a bit more expensive now. Of course, Obama is in the White House now — Lincoln was in the White House then (or at least that’s what it feels like) 🙂

      • katry Says:

        I don’t think we had the choice of white or chocolate or I would have chosen chocolate every day. 3 cents sounds about right.

  3. Bob Says:

    My mother had milk delivered to our apartment when we moved to Texas in 1953. Because it was so hot in the summer we would leave the back door unlocked so the milkman could come into the kitchen and put the milk in our refrigerator if we were still asleep or not at home. A truly more trusting era. I remember the glass bottles were tinted brown so that the sunlight didn’t ruin the vitamin D in the milk. There were also bread men who delivered bread and bakery products to your door.

    When I moved in with my aunt in Queens NY in 1961 the milkman left the milk in an aluminum box next to the front door. My aunt had a friend who retired from a milkman job and made a middle class living while putting his kids through college driving a milk truck. I guess the super market put all those milk men and bread men out of work.

    The chocolate milk was the best poured from a glass bottle.

    • katry Says:

      We had a milk container box on the back step which kept the milk cool though it wasn’t necessary much as my mother was usually home. The milkman later also delivered all sorts of stuff including bread.

      Okay, I just read paragraph 2 and that’s what was on our step, the aluminum box. Around here you can still choose to have your milk delivered. He is independent of the milk company but does deliver Hood milk which is what we always had.

      • Caryn Says:

        We had the cork-lined metal box, too. Ours was galvanized zinc. Anyway, the milkman had ice blocks that he chopped chunks off in order to put in the box with the milk. We would beg for pieces of ice from the milkman and he would chip off big chunks, bigger than our hands. We’d walk around licking these big, clear chunks of dripping, melting ice and thought that was the best thing to have.

      • katry Says:

        I’m thinking this over as to what our tin box was made of. The only metal it wasn’t was tin. How funny!

        I don’t remember there being ice so I’m thinking there wasn’t any. I figure we’d also lick it so no ice for us.

  4. Hedley Says:


    ITS AUGUST 17th



    • katry Says:

      Thank you, my dear Hedley. I went to get my papers and there were balloons flying in the yard. Later it’s out to dinner with friends. It’s shaping up to be the best day!!

  5. im6 Says:

    I’ve enlisted the help of the good folks from Puddles Pity Party to serenade you, Kat. Grab a tissue and shed a tear as their 6’8″ lead singer, “Big” Mike Geier, croons my sentiments for the big day. Best wishes!

  6. Bob Says:

    Happy Birthday Kat and many happy returns.

  7. Birgit Says:

    Happy Birthday, dear Kat!
    Have a great day, delicious cake, nice presents…
    …and some lovely young men singing for you:

    • katry Says:

      They were perfect!! Thanks so much, Birgit. It was balloons this morning, phone calls including one from Africa and out to dinner tonight. A glorious day!!

  8. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Yes, it’s Wednesday. Happy Birthday!

    Re Tuesday’s blog: I want American chop suey. Good thing it’s Wednesday because there’s a restaurant downtown that does American chop suey on Wednesdays.

    Two reasons to celebrate! 🙂

    Enjoy your birthday day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Thanks for the birthday wishes!

      I love American chop suey. I haven’t ever heard of a restaurant serving it. Now you have me salivating.

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