April 27, 2010

Ice Cream Memories.

As the days grow warmer, the small stands scattered all around the town open for a new season of ice cream business.
Who doesn't love these cold delights, that taste so good on a hot summer day. I recall times when ice cream could only be ordered in ice cream parlors, candy stores or cafes. This was before the presence of large supermarkets and stores that carry frozen groceries year around.

I have a lot of fond memories tied to ice cream. Most of them include delightful moments in my childhood, such as buying my very first scoops when I was six years old or walking home with my father after purchasing a multi-coloured ice cream and singing a home made rhyme about it. And later from my teens, enjoying a vanilla soft ice cream, dipped in chocolate, on the way home from a day at the beach with my family.
Nevertheless, the first significant memory takes me back to my early childhood and to my grandparents in the grand old city of Prague. Every summer, when the school was over, I stayed in this picturesque city with the parents of my father during a few weeks. The recollection of this time is one of the most precious memories that I carry with me today.

Much of the days were spend in the company of my sister and my grandfather (or děda, as he was called), who was an avid photographer. It is through his eyes, and that of his lens, that I saw the city and learned much about its majestic history on long walks we often took. The highlight of many of these strolls was a stop in a small cafe, just below the stairs to the Prague Castle. Here my grandfather would buy us a soft pistachio ice cream in a waffle cone. Not a chocolate or vanilla, or any fruity taste, but pistachio, which one might assume to a be strange flavour for a child. But it was not. At that time in my life I had no idea that this flavour came from pistachio nuts, which I did not get to taste until much later in life. Even today as I write this, the memories come streaming back so freely and I can recollect with such an ease the scents and sounds of the old city and the way the green coloured cream would melt on my tongue.

Unfortunately, I did not get to experience my grandparents, none of them, as an adult. Today all I have are snippets of vivid memories, that I cherish, as I revisit them in my mind. Often I wish I would be granted a chance to spend just a day with my grandfather, who I have been told I very much resemble. Many of his traits and interests reflect my own.

Perhaps even my love for nature and interests in photography are passed on from him. The longing to see and capture the world around me through a camera lens might very well have been born on those long summer walks in Prague. During those precious moments in time, while I strolled along side my "děda" on the old cobbled stone streets, with a pistachio ice cream in my hand.


About this photograph: Unfortunately, I do not own one single picture of my grandfather, even though I know some exist in my family's keeping. He loved being the photographer, thus rarely appears on any pictures himself. This one of me, my sister and my cousin was taken by him in August 1972. I am the one on the left, my sister is that little one on the right. Even though my grandfather is not present in image, I know he is present in spirit, as he is the one standing behind the camera.

35 comments :

Sandy said...

What a cute childhood photo of you, your cousin and little sister! You were a blondie! Oh, my, I was married in 1974 just two years after this photo was taken. You are so young. I don't have many photos of my maternal grandfather and just one memory of him (sitting at his kitchen table eating black olives). LOL - what a child remembers. My Mother was his favorite (out of eight kids). He died of a heart attack at age 63 when I was just a small child. PS - I love ice cream - my first date with my to be hubby was going out for ice cream!

Teacup Lane (Sandy)

Alesa Warcan said...

What a great autobiographic post. Reminds me of Proust... Thanks for sharing that bit of your past.

Elizabeth said...

A lovely post filled with memories and a beautiful picture.

For me ice-cream is like flirting with life.

Have a lovely day.

Elizabeth

J Cosmo Newbery said...

It is very green...

GrandmaK said...

Oh my, the picture is so tempting. I remember the excitement we all experienced the first time we made homemade ice cream. Each of us taking a turn in cranking that old churn. What fun we had and OOHHHH how good it did taste! Thanks for the memories!!! Cathy

Realliveman said...

Wondeful post and photo!

I'm addicted to ice cream. Especailly in the summer. Mint Chocolate Chip. Mmmmmmmmmm.

It's a sad addition LOL

Brian Miller said...

what a cool pic and tale...i rememeber going to get elephant ears much the same way...fond memories...

Eternally Distracted said...

That photograph is precious...

You know, I live in one of the hottest places in the world and I have never seen an ice-cream van!!

steviewren said...

What sweet memories and such a cute picture! Too bad you don't have any of our grandfather's photographs, but I can't think of a better way to learn about a beautiful old city. I love pistachio ice cream too. I suddenly feel very old...I graduated from high school in 1972.

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Memories, sweet memories, very sweet words in your lovely text!

Betsy said...

What a sweet post...pun intended! :) I enjoyed reading about your memories. My earliest memory are Dilly Bars...soft vanilla dipped in chocolate that hardened on the outside. Yum. :)

Claus said...

When I read your blog title, I remembered "Arnold's" an ice cream parlor somewhere in zone 4 of Guatemala city. My dad used to take us there and ordered some ice cream. We rarely had any, as he is a dentist and did not think it was all that good (?!!) Even then, Arnold's seemed retro to me, yet the atmosphere of the place was one I really liked. I wonder if it is still open?
Lovely and touching story about your grandpa! and really beautiful picture.
have a lovely day!!

Kath said...

I was lucky enough to have my grandparents well into my adult life, only losing my Grandmother 18 months ago. I'm sure you hold his memory very close to your heart, he sounds as if he was a very special man.

LadyCat said...

That is a darling picture of you as a child. Your grandfather sounds very special.

Holly said...

I adore that photo!! Very sentimental and touching.

I love ice cream! It is one of my biggest weeknesses. Especially any sort of chocolate ice cream with raw almonds sprinkled over it. mmmmmm :):)

Rosezilla said...

oh, I loved this post! My grandmother always had ice cream in GALLON buckets! Such riches! She'd slip me what she called "ice cream" money sometimes. I love the picture of you with your bangs crooked. I had many haircuts like that when I was little! Yes, I can just picture your grandfather behind the camera, recording his love for his little ones. I remember once going out for ice cream, which was a rare treat. I ordered peanut butter and jelly ice cream! It was AWFUL!!! makes me laugh to think about it now, although I wasn't too pleased then.

Jill said...

What a wonderful memory! I love this kind of post. Your grandfather sounds like the most wonderful man. I so want you to have a photo of him!
Darling photo of your family.

I enjoy pistachio ice cream!

Cottage Garden said...

This is such a poignant autobiographical post Zuzana - your grandfather sounds like a wonderful man with a zest for life, just like you! Lovely photo too.

I love ice-cream and it was in Italy that I tasted my very first pistachio ice-cream - delicious!

When we were children, the ice-cream man used to come down our street playing his tune over the loud-speaker and all us children would suddenly appear as if we were following the pied piper!

I was thinking of Batcat today for some reason Zuzana ... how is your lovely boy ... hugs to you both!

Jeanne
xx

Hilary said...

What a lovely tribute to your děda. I have no doubt he passed much of who he was along to you. Pistachio was and still is my absolute favourite ice cream flavour. I just never find that it lives up to my memories of how it used to taste these days. But as soon as I saw the image, that wonderful taste came right back to me.

sprinkles said...

My brothers and I rarely got ice cream as a child so it was a real treat when we did. Sometimes my mother would make her own.

I never got to know any of my grandparents and have only very vague memories of them. Now they're all dead.

Paul C said...

Ice cream memories...wonderful post. I remember the vintage kind made with a hand churn, so natural in its flavour and rich goodness.

Rustique Gal said...

Zuzana, what a lovely post! I sure admire your writing style. This is a sweet memory. I also loved pistachio ice cream as a kid. The picture of you is adorable. Cherish those memories and have some ice cream!
Sherry

Bachelor said...

Zuzana,
I have the pleasure of going to Prague in 2007 with Willow's WT. He was there on business and invited me to go along. I fell in love with the city. I love classical music and I was amazed to see how one could easily find a concert to attend each evening. The old churches were beautiful.

I'm so sorry you don't have a picture of your grandfather. However, I'm sure you carry much of him through your DNA structure. Its amazing what has been discovered through DNA.

Ice cream.. one of my weaknesses!

Hope you have a great day!

:) The Bach

TechnoBabe said...

Prague is a wonderful city to see through someones camera lens. Your growing up years sound like lots of family and lots of experiences to grow on.

Reasons said...

I love the way you have a never ending capacity of ideas to write about. i love ice cream on a sunny day.

Vagabonde said...

We were away in Tennessee so now I am catching up. I read your last few posts, always interesting with great photos. Now about Claudine Longet, her voice is sweet but I do not like her accent. I have been in the USA for years and still have a French accent, which I do not like – I think it sounds terrible. I met a blogging friend last Sunday and she said “Oh I did not realize you had such an heavy French accent” and that made me so sad. I like your picture in black and white of when you were a child. It is a sweet picture. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a message, Zuzana, I appreciate it a lot.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Such a beautiful legacy, however, despite the brevity of your time with him...your memories are rich and lovely...you write so well and so vividly that I too can see the Prague and taste the Pistachio...Yes, your grandfather lives on in YOU! That is without a doubt...The photograph is wonderful...you were a blond as a child as well? Isn't it interesting the way our hair turned dark as we grew...I loved this post, dear Zuzana...it enveloped me like a favorite blanket! Love, Janine XO

Jacki said...

What great memories...I would so love to be able to eat an ice cream at the steps to the Prague Castle! Not many people can say they did that as a child.

Zuzana said...

Sandy, Alesa, Elizabeth, Cosmo, Cathy, Realliveman, Brian, Eternally…, Stevie, Philip, Betsy, Claudia, Kath, LadyCat, Holly, Rosezilla, Jill, Jeanne, Hilary, PaulC (welcome), Sherry, The Bach, TechnoBabe, Joanne, Vagabonde, Janine and Jacki – thank you so much for your very kind and touching words on this sentimental walk down the memory lane. It was delightful to read your own ice cream recollections and sentiments as well.

I truly always appreciate your time and your kind comments.

Xoxo
Zuzana

jeannette said...

That pic is my favorite ice-cream: pistachio!

young-ecletic-encounters said...

It always amazes me how much small memories can have such a large impact on our later life

Gal Friday said...

A beautiful entry to read--thanks for sharing your grandfather, Prague and ice cream memories here!

BTW, Pistachio was always my favorite as child and the flavor I still usually pick at an ice cream stand or shop even now as an adult.

CherylK said...

I love this post, Zuzana...the photo is precious. Ice cream is a universal love, don't you think? Jack has a bowl of ice cream every single night! Sometimes I join him but I'd rather spend the calories with a glass of wine!

Zuzana said...

jeannette, Johnina, Tina and Cheryl; thank you so much ladies for your very kind comments and for taking the time to read my childhood recollection.;)
Xoxo

Nezzy said...

I just adored readin' about your ice-cream memories and seein' your cute young self in the picture. Ice cream is often involved in makin' memories!!!

God bless ya and have the most incredible day sweetie!!!