The Ice Cream Man
By Joanna Calogero, 12
Illustrated by Hilary Carere, 10
The familiar song of "The Entertainer" is heard coming down the street. But it's not the song that makes you run to find money wherever you can, it's because the song means–the ice cream man!
You must know the round, jolly man, who's obviously eating more of his product than he's selling, who sells you cheap ice cream while he's playing the same song over, and over, and over. Or don't you?
I'm thirteen years old now, and it's five summers since Chuck was the ice cream man. In the three years that Chuck was our ice cream man, when I was four to seven, we had become great friends.
Chuck was very funny and friendly. He was on the short side, and on the fat side. And on the lovable side. He always looked the same, with short, regularly cut hair and a pudgy face. And he was always laughing and smiling.
"No," we'd giggle, "that one!"
"Oh!" he'd say, as if he'd just understood. He'd hesitate, then say, "You don't want that one."
"Uh huh, it's the best kind, I always get that kind," we'd say innocently.
"O.K.," he'd finally agree, but still a little reluctantly, and get it for us.
Once when I was seven I ran after Chuck for three blocks, following his song. When I finally got my ice cream, Chuck said, "Well, Sally, that's forty-five cents." Sally wasn't really my name. It's really Molly, but he called me Sally anyway.
I gave him the change my mom had given me, like I always had done, and ran off with my ice cream.
"Watch out!" I heard from the truck, too late, since I had already tripped over a branch on the sidewalk and fallen. I looked down, saw my scraped knee, and started crying. I heard footsteps behind me, and when I turned around to see who it was, I saw my dirty, melty ice cream on the sidewalk.
"Come on, let's get you home," Chuck said and picked me up. Once we got to the truck, he put me in the passenger seat and went around to the back of the truck. He came back to the driver seat with another ice cream bar, which he handed to me. He then started the truck and drove me back the three blocks to my house, trying to cheer me up the whole way, which he did.
"Now when you get inside, wash that off and put a bandaid on, O.K. ?" Chuck told me.
"O.K.," I said. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, Sally!" Chuck said, smiling. "And be careful next time," he warned me.
"Goodbye," I said after he had lifted me down from the seat, which had seemed very high at the time.
"'Bye, Sally!" Chuck said.
The next day, when I heard Chuck's song, I ran out to meet him.
"Hi!" I shouted before reaching the truck.
"What do you want?" I heard a deep voice say. That isn't Chuck, I thought. When I got to the truck, I saw a bearded man who seemed very scary to me at the time.
"You're not Chuck," I said, confused.
"Chuck was fired, for driving kids around on working hours," said the new ice cream man.
"But Chuck was my friend! I'm never buying ice cream from you!" I shouted and ran back home. When I got home, I told my mom all about what had happened.
"Well, why don't you write a letter to Chuck," my mom suggested.
So, in my messy handwriting with most of the letters backwards, I wrote this note to Chuck.
I miss you. I had lots of fun, and your ice cream was good. Please come back, the new man is mean.
A week later I got a letter back from Chuck.
Are you better now? I hope so. They didn't like me to give rides I guess. But now I've got a job as a mailman, on your street! That's all year, too. You'll see me soon, I'm sure. Bye!
And now I have to go because the mailman will be here soon!