Monday, October 12, 2009

Call for Memories: Ypsilanti Milk

Dusty D is planning an upcoming story about milk in Ypsilanti. During the 1930s, raw-milk and pasteurized-milk ads appeared side by side, battling it out, in the Ypsilanti Daily Press. Do you have memories of old-time milk?

If so I want to include your recollections and let others know of your experience. Do you remember old-time milk? Or one of the creameries that used to exist in Ypsi? How about home milk delivery? Maybe your mom had a thing about raw milk and didn't trust that new "pasteurization".

I'd love to hear from you. My goal with my articles is to write about the community and include community voices when I can. I can use your whole name, your first name, or quote you anonymously, just as you wish. You can email me at or you can email me your phone # and I can call you at a time convenient to you. Thanks!


Diane said...

Milk had a bad side, especially if it was raw milk. My mother, Rosena Kruger, contracted undulant fever from milk. Her name appeared in the Ypsilanti Press. She was among the three cases discovered by Dr. Bradley Harris. The article goes on to mention the difficulty in diagnosing the disease. The doctor was recommending federal inspections of dairy herds. My mother was young, so it was probably between 1929-1931.

Dusty D said...

Dear Diane: Thank you for sharing your experience. I have read about undulant fever--it's scary. Some people died from it. 1929-1931 was long before Michigan legally mandated pasteurization. If memory serves, Michigan was the first state to do so, and did so in (racks brain) 1948?

I included your wonderful memories of dog tags in my story in today's Courier. I was careful to use only your initial, to protect your privacy. Thank you for making the article so much better with your personal recollections.

Perhaps one day you might allow me to buy you lunch and do a little oral history interview in a quiet spot like the Archives? Which would consist of me asking you questions that probably seem obvious and somewhat silly to you while a tape recorder is on. That's all. I'd love to do that, and preserve your experience in the Archives.

Diane said...

Another memory popped up in regard to the subject of milk. How many people had a milk box? It was a medal box with two doors set into the side of our house. You opened the door from inside the house and placed your empty bottles of milk inside. When the milk man delivered your milk, he just opened the outside door and placed the bottles inside.

Our milk box had another purpose! When my mom or dad locked their keys in the house, I was lifted through the milk box to open the back door! It had to be when I was really young in order to slip through the box.

Dusty D said...

What a wonderful and funny image of scooting through the milk-box! It is the first I have heard of milk boxes; that's quite interesting. I've heard of ice boxes, which the ice man could open to put in ice from outside, and coal chutes, but not milk boxes.

You said you were lifted in to open the *back* door. Usually the kitchen is somewhat close to the back door. Was the milk box in the kitchen wall?

I bet a lot of cold air came in through the milk box in winter.

Are there still houses in Ypsilanti with milk boxes? Boy, I'd love to see one, and photograph it. Very interesting!