Friday, May 07, 2010

'Horse Killer' the Garbage Man

When I was young on Flint Street in Rochester horse-drawn wagons were still seen on the city streets.  I particularly recall the garbage men and their wagons.  In addition to garbage men that picked up your garbage cans (which makes sense, I guess), there were also other guys that picked up ash cans.  At that time probably almost everyone in our neighborhood had coal furnaces. It was not until the latter part of the 1940s that we converted from coal to oil.

I recall very vividly one garbage man that we kids on the street called 'Horse Killer.'  I'm not sure that he was that mean but he had a huge whip (well, maybe not that huge) so we assumed that he whipped his horse.  We would see him coming down the street and we would hide behind a tree in front of either the Porter or Neary house.  As he when by we would yell out, "Hey, Horse Killer!"  He of course would yell back, "You goddamn kids I'm going to kick your ass!" and then he would crack his whip.  It was the high point of the week.

As a part of his route he would have his "lunch" at a tavern on Jefferson Avenue and probably Bartlett Street or so.  There was an iron water trough in front of the saloon for the horses. 'Horse Killer' was in the tavern one noon time when something must have startled the horses as they took off down Jefferson Avenue and eventually ran through the front window or door of the Loblaw supermarket at the southeast corner of Jefferson and Hawley Street. Somehow we kids thought that it was funny. Kids are strange . . . but not as strange as 'Horse Killer.'


Eileen said...

I remember the "Rag man" coming down the street in a horse drawn wagon. He would buy folks old clothes and he'd yell out as he was riding down the street.

Padraic Mac Aodhagain said...

And how about the milk man and his horse-drawn wagon?

Maureen said...

and the ice man!