The Green Bus

 

green bus
Picture stolen from Phys.org.

When I was a girl, a grocery bus passed in front of our house every Saturday. My memories are somewhat hazy, since the bus stopped its route in the early 70s or late 60s. I would have been maybe five or six when the bus quit coming down Bayou Blue. On Saturday, I remember waiting on the side of the road with my sisters, looking for the green school bus.

My childhood memory was that the bus was outfitted with wooden shelves filled with rows of candy from top to bottom. I remember Sugar Babies, Sweet Tarts, Now and Laters, Lemon Heads, and Hot Tamales. Making a choice of only one candy was a perplexing choice each week.

When I talked to my older sister about the green bus, she gently remonstrated me about the bus’ contents. According to her, and later confirmed by my mother, it was a bus filled with groceries and hardware items, too. Need a potato? Check the produce bins in the front of the bus. Want a step ladder? They were hung on the ceiling, parallel to the floor. Scrub brush? Near the back. Can of soup or bag of sugar? Middle aisles.

Every Saturday, Mr. Boudreaux drove from Thibodaux, Louisiana, down a rural route along Bayou Blue. He sold his wares to housewives and children who waited by the road. I suppose he had other routes on different days. I remember that our day was Saturday. In my mind, Saturday had to be the best day for a green bus full of candy to stop in front of my house.

In those days, home delivery wasn’t a novel concept. The milk came in bottles from a milkman in his truck. Fresh fruit came from Mr. Ledet’s customized pick-up truck. Of course, frozen confections were available from the ice cream truck, sounding its way down the road.

Today, Walmart allows for orders to be made at home, online, and then picked up in the parking lot. Instacart goes a step further, and online orders are delivered to your door. These ideas are not quite new. They are just new twists on an old theme. The green bus of my childhood lives on in new ways all over the place.

6 thoughts on “The Green Bus

  1. Sadly, there is no home delivery of groceries where I live. In the state capital of Morelia, yes, but not on my mountaintop. If you want to make groceries here, you gotta go to the grocery store. I feel like I live in 1955.

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    1. Are there not peddlers in the streets selling goods in your neck of the woods? When I was in Honduras, I lived in the capital, and before that, another large town. Both places had lots of people peddling all sorts of things in the street. It was almost like a walking parade of groceries and hardware needs.Between the small local corner shops and the peddlers, I didn’t always need the grocery store. If it were 1955 in my hometown in Louisiana, you would have the grocery bus, as well as all the others I mentioned carrying goods on wheels. Buen suerte, señor!

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  2. When we first moved to the countryside here in Mexico, about 10 years ago, there was a guy who came around in a pickup, offering all sorts of things, such as brooms, ladders and so on, but no more. He announced his presence via a beat-up speaker mounted on top of the cab of the truck. But no more.

    Now we have small stores all over the place, “tienditas”, that don’t offer that great a selection or particularly low prices, but they are convenient. We’re too far for Walmart to deliver anything.

    I guess you could say we’re completely out of the retail loop, except by getting in the car and going somewhere. That’s too bad. I wish there were a guy coming around with fresh fruits.

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  3. You stumped me with Now and Laters, but the other candies were readily available in Cousin Kennie’s grocery store — a two-block walk from our house in Powers in the mid-1950s. That was the advtanage of being town folk, even though the town had only 1500 of us. But Ken’s store did deliver. My grandmother (his aunt) had all of her groceries delivered to her house on the other side of the river.

    Maybe we have not come as far as we think we have.

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  4. I can only imagine my joy growing up with a grocery story just 2 blocks away, especially owned by a cousin who stocked it with candy. My grandmother had her groceries delivered in the 30s and 40s. Perhaps too in the 50s. I would have to ask my mother and aunt about that. In contrast we had the green bus which was good enough for me.

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