Milk Separator

Memories are strange things, they don’t flow like a river. They’re random, showing up when you least expect them, often when you least want them. This jog backwards in the story happened because Louie and I spent some time talking about his stories after he had finished the project. He then realized that he hadn’t talked about something that apparently made a difference in his life.

Louie describes a milk, or cream, separator. In the forties farmers separated cream from the milk right on the farm, before putting the milk into ten gallon cans to ship to town by train. Now farmers store whole raw milk on the farm and take it to the city in 10,000 gallon trucks. (OK, a trailer truck only carries 7,000 gallons, but to make the story sound good I said ten.) Everything is automated, there’s no need for a green horn teenage boy to run the machines and carry milk cans.

Louie describes the machine’s parts and that triggers my memories of taking apart alarm clocks when I was a kid, then memories from just last week when my grandson attempted to put a square toy into a round hole. Some things just don’t change.

Louie in 1959

Louie in 1959

Louie writes:

You asked me about the milk separator – it was, at one time, my alarm clock.

I worked on a few farms in my early teens during the harvest season – mostly shocking bundles of grain.

The farmer would be the first up to go and milk his cows – bring the milk back in bucketsfull to his wife who would pour it into the milk separator.

Then the fun began – you had to turn a large handle on the side to get about a million parts to the monstrosity into operation, The sound was a high pitched screaming which of course would wake up the dead – I usually slept in the attic and you could hear this all the way up there from the first floor. This let you know that the sun was about to come up and time to get into the fields.

I got stuck, once in a while, in helping to clean the parts to that machine and I swear there was a million parts to it. You don’t see any around any more but when I do it sure brings back some memories.

Louie Letter 102