Throwback Thursday: Tony May, the ultimate ice cream truck man

Tony May stands by his ice cream truck with Pamela Buzenski Bobinski, middle, her sister Debbie, left, and friend Elizabeth Zielinski. The photo was taken about 1960 in front of the Buzenski family home on Longview Street in New London. (Family photo courtesy of Pamela Buzenski Bobinski)
Tony May stands by his ice cream truck with Pamela Buzenski Bobinski, middle, her sister Debbie, left, and friend Elizabeth Zielinski. The photo was taken about 1960 in front of the Buzenski family home on Longview Street in New London. (Family photo courtesy of Pamela Buzenski Bobinski)

A photo posted by Pamela Buzenski Bobinski touched a nostalgic nerve on Facebook, eliciting dozens of happy memories of Tony May, who delivered ice cream to locals in the 1950s and 1960s, most notably in New London and Waterford. Here, Tony sells ice cream from his truck at Pamela’s childhood home on Longview Street in New London.

“We all loved Tony so much... he was very kind to all the neighborhood children which were very plentiful on our street!” Buzenski Bobinski wrote. “As soon as he rang his bell we were all out there! He loved to stop to talk to my father who he called Doc because, believe it or not, he was a dentist in New London!!!”

The photo drew tons of comments, with Rick Nassetta saying “The only thing missing the fat cigar!” and Richard Zionts recalling his mother’s refrain, “Tony May sells tooth decay.”

Sheree Shastany-Ursini and Karen Ferrara noted that Tony May was their grandfather.

“I’m sure his cigar was on the back bumper of the truck … that’s where he would put it when he was getting the ice cream,” Ferrara commented. People recalled seeing Tony’s truck on Willetts, Viets, Orchard, West High, Cliff, Perry, Thames, Summer and Franklin streets as well as Laurel Drive.

“He’d open that heavy door and the white fog would float out into the humid summer air, then he’d grab what you were after (usually a Cremesicle, vanilla ice cream on a stick coated with orange sherbet), Then he’d close the door (with a heavy CLUNK!) hop in the front and continue his route,” recalled Glenn Michael. Bill Brett remembered him breaking Fudgicles and Twin Popsicles on the bumper of his yellow truck.

Another favorite flavor: toasted almond bars, a treat that cost only a dime. “I used to love the sound of the freezer doors on the truck open and close,” remembered Denise Burrows Hodges. “Loved hearing his bell coming down Mansfield Road,” agreed Beth Lapin. “Tony May & his truck were a classic New London personality!” said Diane Casey. “Every kid in every neighborhood loved Tony May … he treated all us kids with a sense of caring,” said Louis Lupica.

Throwback Thursday is a new feature in the Times. If you have a great old photo you’d like to share, send it to recordedhistory@theday.com, and don’t forget to listen to the Recorded History podcast on theday.com.

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