New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Tuesday, June 25, 2024
Search this site.View the site map.

4. To See the Iceman Cometh

Since camps usually had only one refrigerator but loads of people who wanted plenty of cold drinks during the long hot summers, the 'Iceman' would come every day carrying big blocks of ice.

He'd walk down the 'run' with these giant chunks of ice on one shoulder. In the other hand he'd carry another block of ice with these menacingly interesting ice tongs that looked like something out of a horror movie.

His name was Linus. Linus knew how much ice to bring into the camp because each morning you'd put out flags (really rags) of different colors. Linus knew that a red flag meant 10 pounds of ice and a blue flag meant 25 lbs.

Most of the camps had a large 'ice box' which was about the size and shape of a refrigerator turned on its side. Linus loaded down the 'ice box', accepted a cold drink with much appreciation, and left.

Then the kids got to watch one of the grown ups masterfully divide the big chunks of ice into smaller more manageable sizes. This required an 'ice pick'. You don't see many ice picks now a days. They looked sort of like screw drivers with long, skinny nails sticking out the handle. The grown up would start chopping a line down the block of ice. Then they would turn the block and continue the line around the entire chunk. And then, like magic, the block of ice would break in two. It was kind of fascinating.

A 'right of passage' at the camp (which means something you get to do which proves you're becoming an adult) was the honor of FINALLY getting to do this yourself.

Sounds corny, but it was fun and kind of cool--in more ways than one.
Check out where Linus got the ice! (just kidding)