There’s nothing quite like the sound of an ice cream van.
Ordinarily, it evokes memories of hazy childhood summers, where the grass was always brown and crispy, and the concrete was hot under foot. The jingle means paddling pools, racing for shade and gingham summer dresses.
It’s usually music to our ears – though perhaps, maybe not this year.
My latest piece for Dear Damsels – which is not, for once, a poem! – shares the story of the ice cream van that made me cry on a regular basis during lockdown, and the hope it eventually brought.
Here’s an exerpt:
“The innocent jingle – the one that would usually, in ordinary times, harmonise with excited children’s voices or eager orders from teens and adults – sounded like heartbreak. It was the score to the summer we wouldn’t have.
“Instead of long hot days by the beach or in the park, licking dripping 99s or sickening screwballs, my mind immediately went to the immense loss going on elsewhere, behind closed doors; the lives being cut short, the families being torn apart, and the sacrifices being made.”