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Milked Dry 

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From the Chicago Tribune:

Paul Galloway, February 9, 1998: "The reporter's pulse pounds. He is seeing something that has almost vanished from the American scene, witnessing a memory from his youth, one he never expected to see again, not in an area like this anyway....Here in the middle of the night, near the center of Chicago, [Jason] Ball is making his rounds, bringing bottles of milk and a lode of nostalgia to the residences of sleeping customers. Once again in parts of the city where he has long been extinct...the milkman cometh."

Lori Lessner, April 4, 1996: "It could be nostalgia for the days when awaiting the arrival of the milkman was a morning ritual. Or maybe families just prefer the convenience of home delivery to the late-night runs to the 7-Eleven. Whatever the reason, more and more Chicagoans are finding themselves drawn to a milkman's old-fashioned charm."

S.R. Carroll, January 9, 1994: "Many adults still recall the clip clop of the hooves of the horses drawing the milk wagon down the street. They would wait at the door anticipating the milkman who brought them fresh, rich-tasting whole milk....Carole Arliskas, general manager of Oberweis Dairy in Aurora, likes to tell the story of a woman who was married twice and couldn't remember the names of her two husbands. 'But she remembers the name of her milkman,' goes the punchline."

Steve Rhodes, August 5, 1993: "Oberweis delivery people wear the traditional white shirts, and that kind of nostalgia also plays to the Boomer market. 'People over 40 don't remember much about their childhood, but they remember their milkman,' Aliskas says."

Laurie Goering, March 12, 1992: "It's 2.50 a.m., so early that even the roosters aren't dreaming of the dawn, but at the Oberweis Dairy in Aurora, Ernie Wilson is performing an age-old ritual. In the fog-shrouded dark, he loads heavy wooden crates full of clinking milk bottles into his big white truck."

Jody Temkin, December 3, 1989: "The milkman is back. After years of buying milk in cardboard cartons or plastic jugs, it's becoming increasingly possible for suburban families to get a taste of what life was like, and what milk was like, when their parents drank milk from glass bottles left on front porches....Don [Tomaso] leaves his home in southern Wisconsin at 11 p.m. to begin his delivery rounds through the northern suburbs, leaving milk, other dairy products and even fresh-squeezed orange juice in blue boxes on back or front porches. When he's done with the deliveries, he heads for Oberweis Dairy in Aurora to pick up the products for the next day's deliveries."

Steve Johnson, October 25, 1987: "Les 'Skip' Paris has, quite frankly, come up a loser in his daily battle with liquid temptation. After 28 years steering a truck chock full of the stuff through Aurora's deserted early-morning streets, Paris, 55, has reached the point where he drinks at least a half-gallon of milk a day....In fact, it could be said that Paris--a dairy home companion to hundreds from his base at Oberweis Dairy--loves milk more than he loves peddling it."

Andrew Martin, June 17, 1987: "Grabbing three cold bottles of milk, he darts toward the front porch of a sleeping home, snatching the morning paper off the driveway in midstride and clenching it in his teeth. The milk and paper delivered, it's a quick drive down the street or around the corner, and the same routine is repeated--130 times each morning. By 6:30 a.m., [Terry] Guinn's face is dripping with sweat. 'Being a milkman is not an easy job,' he says between stops and gulps of coffee. 'It's hard to find people that are dependable and hard-working.'"

Leigh Behrens, September 17, 1986: "'Dear Mr. Milkman,' the note penned on crumpled yellow lined paper began. 'Please leave 5 1/2 gallons of milk today. We now have 12 puppies and one hungry mama dog to feed.' Another scrawled on a blue scrap has afforded an opportunity for the author to wax poetic: 'Roses are red, violets are blue, your milk is very good, but only leave two.'

"'It's short and to the point, I guess,' Marie Oberweis observes with a laugh."

--Michael Miner

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