Remember when: Doughnuts

A 1920’s-era photo shows a Clyde’s Delicious Donuts’ truck. Herman Seekamp opened his business just a few years after The Salvation Army’s Donut Lassies started making the treats in France. His goal was to serve high-quality donuts directly to coffee shops and restaurants throughout Chicago. By the 1930s, delivery trucks would leave the first location at 633 W. Webster St. daily, making stops throughout the downtown Chicago area.

In the 30’s, in West Los Angeles, many salesmen paraded up and down our street - the organ grinder and his dancing monkey; the man who would let you ride his pony and would take your picture sitting on the pony; bakery trucks; the scissor sharpener; the vegetable man; the vacuum cleaner salesman; and the list goes on and on. It was like the stores came to us.

Today, I am remembering the doughnut man. He drove an old, boxy, blue truck with pullout shelves.

He stopped, parked, and knocked on our door. My brother Willard and I (we were not in school yet) stood close to Mama, hoping she would buy something.

“Doughnuts for the children, ma’am?” he asked.

“Just one,” Mama answered. She gave us each half.

The doughnut man drove his truck down our street and honked his horn. Neighbors would go out to the truck to buy something.

The short Italian doughnut man slid down from his driver’s seat, hobbled to the back of his truck, and opened the tall blue doors. If someone wanted a pie, he slid out the pie shelf. If someone wanted sweet rolls, he pushed the pie shelf back in and pulled out the sweet roll shelf. Each shelf had a variety of pies, or cakes, or doughnuts, or sweet rolls.

Sometimes he would give us a free doughnut, and a smile went from ear to ear on his brown leathery face.

One time Mama ordered six doughnuts.

We reminded her, “There are seven of us. Who is not having one?”

The doughnut man said, “You pay for six, I give you seven.”

As long as he was able to drive his truck, we bought from him. He was kind and always smiled. He is one of my favorite memories.

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