Seltzer Nostalgia

seltzer bottlesWalter the Seltzer Man took me on a sentimental journey this week. He is a featured interview in National Public Radio’s Driveway Moments, Volume II.
          Walter is the third generation of his family delivering bottled seltzer on a New York City route. But, Walter is a dying breed in a dying occupation. He notes that seltzer bottles, as antiques, are now more valuable than the product. Most people buy pre-carbonated beverages in the grocery store cartons. Walter’s loyal customers profess to prefer mixing their own. For many of these senior citizens, Walter’s visit is a welcome familiarity. The Seltzer Man is one stable connection to a rapidly disappearing way of life.
          Walter’s story triggered my own memories of delivery men who brought goods and services to our rural home–Barney the postman, Pete the milkman, Art the dry cleaner man, Marvin the newspaper man, Don the propane man.
          These men were known by occupations rather than last names. But they were regulars who held the same jobs for years and became fixtures in our lives during the mid 1900s. They were never too rushed to “pass the time of day” with customers. For a few years, we had only one car and Dad, a travelling salesman, was sometimes gone two or three days. Delivery was important to us. Every year Mom wrapped a Christmas gift for each delivery man – a block of Wisconsin cheddar cheese straight from the little factory where Dad once worked. 
          Home delivery still occurs, but in a more impersonal way today.     
          Occasionally, the FedEx truck stops on our street. The driver drops a package on the front porch, rings the bell, and rushes away to keep on schedule. We catch only a glimpse of the anonymous driver.
          The men who hoist our trash into the monster truck that rumbles down the alley every Wednesday have time only for an occasional wave. New faces appear every few weeks.
          Times change but memories last.

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Published in: on December 24, 2012 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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