PRIME TIME: Locals reminisce about milkmen, mailmen of days past

Published on Sunday, 18 June 2017 22:22
Written by Bob Montgomery

Staff Writer

Bristol resident JoAnn Bacon read a recent column on local milkmen from decades ago and sent me a picture of Edmund Tassinari leaning on the back of his milk truck. She wrote, in part:

“I contacted my friends, Donald and Joan Tassinari, former Bristolites living in Florida. Don’s father was an indepe-ndent milkman in the 40s. Over the years he purchased milk from numerous dairies in Waterbury, Wolcott and the Freimuth Dairy. His day started at 3 a.m. loading up his milk truck and then delivering to customers in Bristol. It ended sometime in the afternoon after purchasing more milk for the following day’s delivery and storing it in coolers in his garage.

“The milk was pasteurized but not homogenized and he sold cottage cheese and chocolate milk along with the milk. He had Bill Anderson, Nunie Alderman and Bobby Loveland help him with the deliveries. The money from the sales was collected weekly.

“The downfall of the milkman was when refrigerators became available and the grocery stores started to carry half gallon and gallon containers of milk. Up until that time, milk was only sold in quarts as most people only had an icebox and the milk would not keep for a long period of time. Mr. Tassinari sold his business in 1958 to H.P. Hood and Sons.”

Mr. Bryce by Burlington resident Lucretia Fortier

“When I was a little girl, six or seven, I lived on my grandfather’s (George Merriman) farm on Black Walnut Lane in Burlington. The mailboxes were at the bottom of the hill on Burlington Avenue, Rt. 69. There were only two houses on Black Walnut Lane at the time. Mr. Bryce, our milkman, would leave a big rock on our mailbox to indicate mail. My mother would get out her binoculars at around four o’clock to see if there was mail or not. We loved Mr. Bryce, but he would not deliver for two houses. At the top of Black Walnut Road it was a dirt road also.”

The Brault mailmen

Karen (Brault) Pescarmona writes from Terryville/Plymouth:

“My grandfather was a mailman, retired after 42 years at the Bristol Post Office. My father was also a mailman. He died of polio at the age of 30 the day before the Flood of ‘55. He was buried the day after.”

Edward Brault’s funeral in The Bristol Press revealed that honorary pallbearers were members of the post office, postmaster Harry Polhill and the assistant, Joseph Coratola, and that the post office was closed during the funeral.

The Ward family milkmen

Art Ward writes:

“My family has a distinguished history with Roberge Dairy. My father, John ‘Jack’ Ward, was a retail deliveryman in the Wolcott/Waterbury area for over 20 years. My oldest brother, Mike Barzee, worked there through high school and then spent his entire working life as a commercial truck driver for Hood Milk Company, retiring a few years ago.

“My brother Charlie worked there part-time throughout high school. I helped my father deliver on weekends and summers for about nine years and then I worked part-time in the bottling plant and in making ice cream with my brother John spending time assisting on deliveries for Roberge.”

Mr. Green

Jan Skonord emailed me to say that her milkman growing up was Mr. Green. She didn’t have a story to tell about him, but recalled he delivered glass bottles with a paper and cardboard top to the metal insulated box by the family’s back door. She added that there was cream at the top of the bottle and you’d have to shake it well, otherwise you’d get an unwanted glob of cream in the milk.

Marty Parulski - milkman

Kathy Zaniewski writes about her uncle, Marty Parulski:

“He was a quiet guy and so polite and pleasant, but he liked to tease. My grandfather, Teofil Parulski, owned the farm on Stafford Road, known as the Stone Farm Dairy in Burlington, just over the Burlington line. Marty built the dairy business and had two routes, one in Bristol and the other in Lake Garda and the delivery was in the afternoon twice a week.

“When I was 12 and a tomboy, I helped him deliver at 4 a.m. When I think of walking up the dark street to the farm which was five minutes from home, back then safety was not an issue. When Marty finished his route he then pasteurized and bottled the milk for the next day delivery.

“The man never took a sick day or never had a vacation for 39 years. He sold the business to Guida’s Dairy and then worked for them for 10 years and retired in 1983. His daughter, Diane, told me that the day he sold the business to Guida she received a call from the Collins Road drug store that her father was not feeling well and could she pick him up. He had to sign papers for Guida’s first so his customers could get their delivery the next day before she could take him to the hospital - he was having a heart attack. Talk about dedication!

As for his daughter, Diane, she is also quiet and a very sweet and lovely person married to Peter Albertelli, and she has several grandchildren. The Old Stone milk house stills exists on Stafford Road.”

Write to Bob Montgomery, ℅ The Bristol Press, 188 Main St., Bristol, CT 06010. Call 860-973-1808, or email:

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, General Business, General News on Sunday, 18 June 2017 22:22. Updated: Sunday, 18 June 2017 22:25.