Notes from Immigrants to Their Jewish Milkman, 1939, Boyle Heights

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A Jewish Milkman and His Customers in 1930’s Boyle Heights as Recalled by his Son, Mel Roberts

 Arden Farms Pic

Victor Nathan Rosenberg, my dad, was born March 26, 1915, in New York City. He came to California on two different occasions—when he was about 6 and then about age 9.

On the last trip, he told me how he came out by train on his own. He got a stick and put his suit cases on both ends to allow him to carry them and walk home all the way to the Hollywood area.

Dad attended junior high in Hollywood. He skipped grades and later graduated Hollywood High at the age of 14, and then USC by age 18.

Dad worked in the markets in Hollywood to make money all of the way through school (junior high, high school, and USC).

Shortly after my dad married my mother, Aileene Norton (daughter of Marco and Beatrice Norton, granddaughter of Samuel Norton and Anna Landsberg Norton), my parents changed their last name to Roberts to avoid discrimination.

My parents went together from they time they were 13, and finally married at about age 23.

After graduation from USC, Dad went to work for Arden Farms about 1933 or 1934, while he attended Southwest Law School.

The work at Arden started at 2am each morning when he loaded his milk truck.

Then, all day long, he delivered milk in Boyle Heights until time for law school in the evening.

From these immigrants, he collected their milk notes written on backs of paper bags, scraps of paper, and backs of receipts.

The milk notes illustrate how these immigrants struggled to understand our language and culture.

In many cases the grammar made him and other readers laugh.

Dad saved them in a large manila envelope for us to enjoy today.

Below is a sampling of about 100 messages – all on brown paper bag scraps – from the mid-1930’s.

Enjoy!

Mel Roberts

==============================================================

1.    “A*BAT*EL*OF*BUTTERMILK. A*BATEL*OF*CREAM. A*BAX*OF*COTTAGE*CHEESE. ¼ SWEET*BUTTER.”

Milknote #1

Milknote #1

 

2.  “We had to much milk so we did not use this milk  please change it and give me a free boddle.”

Milknote #2

Milknote #2

 

3.  “This is your Buttermilk Bottle. Please leave another Bottle of Buttermilk at 2457.

The money for it is in this bottle.

My mother is ill and the nurse thinks Arden Buttermilk is the best there is.”

 

Milknote #3

Milknote #3

4.  “Mr Milkman, I’m awfully sorry we had to make you wait so long for your money.

I understand of how it is as Im a driver myself.

So Im just asking you to wait until the 16th which is my payday and you will get your money.

I was waiting to collect a few dollars some people owe me, but fail to get it.

They did to me what we done to you so Im sorry we make you wait so long.”

Milknote #4

Milknote #4

5.  “Mr Milkman please do not stop tomorrow for money for my husband didn’t get paid till tomorrow about 4:30 pm.

So please stop day after tomorrow or that is Saturday – morning”

Milknote #5

Milknote #5

6.  “2 qwarts milk please.

One Goldstein Cottage cheese too.

One sour cream.”

To enlarge each Milknote, Left Click on the Picture.

Milknote #6

Milknote #6

7. “Im sorry my boy doesn’t want milk.

He’s religion.”

Milknote #7

Milknote #7

 

8. “MiLK MAN Please LIAVE ME EVERY SATURDAY SOUR CREAM . BUTTERMILK.

Do that to day.”

Milknote #8

Milknote #8

9.  “LIV 2 BATELS OF MILK.”

Milknote #9

Milknote #9

 

10. “Please every leave a biddle bottle of milk please Roseleport.”

Milknote #10

Milknote #10

11.  “Mr milkman you had forgotten me when I called you.

Please do not leave milk at Mama’s house because she stays with me for a couple of days.

Please leave ¼ sweet butter.”

Milknote #11

Milknote #11

12. “Dear Milkman, Please leave me 1 pt. swt cream. (For Mrs Wagner)

Best regards to the family.”

Milknote #12

Milknote #12

13.  “LEV 2 BATEL, 1 RAT CAP, 1 PLANE.”

Milknote #13

Milknote #13

 

14.  “I quart Butter

II SOWERCREAM”

Milknote #14

Milknote #14

 

More information can be found in the following issue of Western States Jewish History:

  • Collection of a Boyl;e Heights Milkman, Mel Roberts,  Vol. 43, #3/4.

If you have an historical collection you would like to share with others in this museum, call us at: 818-225-9631

 

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