Returning To Home Delivery, Bridgeport’s Milkman Goes National

When you’re the son of a milkman these stories hit home. In the 1960s and 70s my dad combined the dolci (sweet) formulas for Dairy Queen and McDonalds out of the Mitchell Dairy in Bridgeport and then Borden’s in Stratford. He knew every fat content of every soft serve/ice cream in the region, working out of the ice box, a smidgen above freezing. Cold? Oh my.

When his boss told him produce more to meet the demand or it’s your job, he’d bring me in to help during the summer. I complained about being there. My father never complained. No matter what, no matter the bone-chilling cold, it’s food on the table.

In his entire working life my father never reached $10 per hour, even working into the 1980s. But he shared knowledge.

Italians make Gelato, he’d say, we mix more milk than cream. He schooled me: Gelato has less fat than ice cream. Thus, he said, Dairy Queen’s soft serve isn’t technically ice cream. Yes, but it goes down so smooth. Why so good, dad?

“Izza abouta processa,” (process) he’d say, a Sicilian immigrant who had no formal education, no high school diploma, didn’t know anyone in the country except for a bookie uncle in Manhattan, who jumped aboard the passenger ship Andrea Doria, New York-bound for a better way of life, joining an American woman he married in Sicily in an arranged marriage to be legal in the United States.

In Trump’s immigration world my father would be illegal.

So what began as local interest has gone national for OIB friend Doug Wade (yes, his handle is Milkman on OIB). Doug Wade zoomed back to his family roots to provide for his employees and consumers, reintroducing home delivery.

There’s nothing like hearing “Athena Jones, CNN, Bridgeport, CT.”



  1. Hello Lennie,

    I never knew that we had so much in common. Thank you for sharing information about your father who worked locally in the dairy business. Wade’s Dairy is a survivor of a bygone era, the last of the Mohican’s (so to speak). There were close to 1,000 dairies in Ct at one time many decades ago. There are only a handful left today. We were a processing dairy plant up until 1987 when we shut down and morphed into a dairy distributor, but still retained our historical name of Wade’s Dairy in honor of the three previous generations of Wades that provided fresh milk to their customers (neighbors). The nostalgia of home delivery has always been relevant to me, hence the collection of milk bottles in my office. It’s been amazing to see how many people are now drawn to the past, bringing back the milkman (home delivery) and drive in movies. A simpler time and a better quality of life (in my opinion).

  2. Great, inspirational example for other small businesses trying to plot a survival course in these chaotic times… You provided an example of the nimble adaptability that the rest us need to follow in order to survive the economic craziness that we’ll be forced to navigate for the foreseeable future.

    To borrow (in context, and I believe appropriately, from the performing arts): Bravo! Break-a-leg!, Doug.

    1. Jeff
      Again. What restaurants did you personally see serving alcohol? Name names.
      What members of the BPD saw this happening and did nothing?
      These are serious problems. Name names.

          1. Just trying to start a rumor. If you got something to say then say it. Too busy to play silly games.

          2. Or maybe Jeff is referring to Eneida Martinez partnership in the Keystone. Tell us what you saw there

  3. They’re all essential workers.
    Wade’s Dairy serves nutrition, joy, happiness and protein to those who ask for it.
    Under these circumstances people might stand in line to get their stuff but not today when you can survey the milkman’s offerings, pick your favorites and await delivery.


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