“The Pony Boy’s coming!”
“The Pony Boy Miss B, what’s a pony boy?”
Well, today the “Pony Boy” was New Bedford’s own Richie Gomes, driver of a familiar boxy, white, cartoon-covered ice cream truck for the last 38 years. His beaming smile and ice cream slinging skills are a true testament to community service--Richie clearly loves making a child’s day! Thanks to our founder JoAnn Tschaen, Richie took a midday spin down Brock Ave. to greet our kids as they returned from biking around the peninsula. There is nothing quite like children's faces when they are surprised by ice cream!
One by one the kids eagerly grasped onto screwballs, Italian ices and big dippers, and made their way back to the Warming House with chocolate faces and blue smiles. As they bopped around from a sugar rush, JoAnn made her way in the crowd, gathering the kids for story time.
“So, Bernadette said that the pony boy was coming to bring ice cream… does anyone here know what a Pony Boy is?”
Do YOU?! Turns out the Pony Boy was the original ice cream man! JoAnn recounted to the kids her memories of a South End New Bedford childhood, where a horse-drawn wagon captained by a cheerful “Pony Boy” would weave his way through the neighborhoods, ringing his shrill bell and handing out ice cream treats. Can you imagine, not even all that long ago we had horses delivering ice cream throughout the city!
Even more recently, a generous "Pony Boy" substitute would make his way through Bay Village to share this summer tradition with the community. Bernadette recalled her childhood back in the 70s. A generous gentleman, knowing that many parents couldn't afford the Pony Boy, would pick up a block of ice from the fish house. As he made his way through the neighborhood, ice in tow, he'd ring his bicycle bell and the kids would come running! This kind man would shave ice right on the spot, pouring any flavor of syrup a kid could imagine over the rainbow snow cone. Back on his bike he would go, taking no money in return, content enough to see children happy. "That was a real treat", recounted Bernadette... and that is the spirit of New Bedford!
So you see, here at Y.O.U. ice cream is never just ice cream--it’s a portal into our city’s history, a chance to connect with our organization’s founder, and a sweet memory made with new friends!
*On behalf of our youth, we would like to extend an extra special thank you to JoAnn Tschaen and Richie Gomes for their thoughtful generosity. People like them make this city a special place! :)