Milk in a Bag 12/16/2007

One of the memories that stands out from visiting my Grandma and Grandpa is the "milk in a bag".

In that brick house, in the small redone kitchen, smelling the smell that you only smelled at Grandma's house, I enjoyed many a glass of milk. But not just any glass or any milk.

There were two glasses we grandchildren were allowed to drink out of. Both of them rather smallish in our large eyes. No matter how much it was stated that in fact, we could drink much more than just the small amount of milk the glasses would hold, we had two choices: 1. Drink out of one of those or 2. go thirsty. 2nd's and 3rds were always allowed in Grandma's kitchen, but not bigger glasses. The rules were simple, yet were always challenged.
Grandma (and it was always grandma, none of us grandchildren had a nickname for her, grandma just seemed perfect) always bought milk in a bag. And she didn't buy it at a grocery store. Nope, she bought it at the gas station a block down from the corner grocery store. Now for those of you who don't know what milk in a bag is, let me explain. Milk in a bag is milk, in a heavy plastic bag. Simple, huh?
I was the only grandchild who didn't live within a 20 mile radius of my grandparents house. I didn't get milk in a bag in the metropolis where I lived and because of that I always found the milk intriguing. I am almost positive my cousins thought I was crazy for making such a big deal about milk. They were used to milk in a bag though. They didn't understand that where I came from milk came in a jug. It had a handle and a lid. They didn't understand that my mom bought her milk in a grocery store on the same night every week. Their mom bought milk at the gas station too. Living in the rural farm area afforded you luxuries like milk in a bag that I just wasn't able to get living in the city.
I would examine the bag upon each and every milk pouring. I can still see the bag sitting in Grandma's gold colored Tupperware 2 quart pitcher, in the refrigerator section of her side by side refrigerator/freezer. I can hear the freezer door open and shut (whoosh) the way it always did when the refrigerator door was opened. I can see the white glass bowls of leftover peaches sitting on the shelf with cool whip lids covering them. She didn't put the left overs in the actual cool whip bowl, just covered her white and gold corning bowls with the lids. I found that intriguing too.
When I would get thirsty after doing important kid things like playing tennis on the school wall or climbing on the school roof to retrieved the lost tennis ball, I would take the milk out of the fridge (listening for that whoosh from the freezer) and put it on the yellowish island next the the basket that always had half a grapefruit and half a banana in it. Grandma would hand me the appropriate glass and I would pour the milk from the 1/4" slit in the corner of the bag. I would lift the glass to my lips and drink. Oh that wonderful bagged milk! Often times I would pour a second or a third. Whoosh, I would put the milk back to await my next thirsty spell.
In 1999 my Grandma died. There was no more bagged milk to be had. And the sad truth is I had completely forgotten about it until last weekend. On the way to see Geppetto I saw a gas station out of the corner of my eye as I turned a corner. Could it be? was THE gas station. The milk in a bag gas station. I told mom we had to stop there on the way home. Confused, she agreed but asked me why. I told her the whole story of milk in a bag. The wonderful, calcium filled memories. The dreaded glasses, the gold pitcher, EVERYTHING. She had no idea I had such memories. It seems Grandma deprived her of milk in a bag. Ha! I always knew she loved me more!


So, on the way home I bought milk in a bag (from a gas station). Now they have handy little pitchers to put the bag in and a slit in the plastic to close the milk up. I cannot tell you the rush I had. It was pure exhilaration! I bought skim white milk, chocolate milk AND orange juice.

I put the bags in the refrigerator and there they sat. Each day this week the picklets would ask, "when can we drink that milk mommy?" Each day I would answer, "Later honey." I didn't want to open it. I didn't want to drink it. It was a comfort to have it in my side by side refrigerator/freezer. I just wasn't ready.

This morning I decided today was the day. I took the chocolate milk (my grandma would NEVER have bought chocolate milk, "you can make your own much cheaper at home"), put it in the pitcher (that came FREE with the milk), cut a 1/4" slit in the corner and poured it into the wonderful milk glasses that I was given from Grandma's house. I swear she was standing there telling me to take care and not spill.


My picklets and I shared a glass of calcium enriched milk and a wonderful memory that was started in a brick house, in a small kitchen, with my Grandma handing me a glass. And just for a moment I thought I smelled that smell that only my Grandma's house had.





Tue, 18 Dec 2007 22:37:52

Hey there. Pretty blog.

I was just looking things over and saw this and had to comment again. We are getting a new convenience store -- the one that sells milk in a bag. So when it opens, I'm going to do a blog entry about milk in a bag, too. We didn't have milk in a bag out west, and I thought it was so cool!


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