The Egg Lady

Carton with six brown eggs.
Photo by Estudio Gourmet on Pexels.com

My recent post down memory lane got me to thinking about eggs. In the post, I wrote about the first time I saw brown eggs.

In the comments of the post, I mentioned when we picked up the brown eggs at the farmhouse, the lady said she had to “clean them up” before giving them to us. As a young girl, it was news to me that eggs had to be “cleaned up.”

A reader commented that it was better to not clean the eggs as without the cleaning chemicals, the eggs could sit on the counter without refrigeration. This was news to me. What I know about eggs is that they come from a store, are lined up neatly in a carton where they are clean and white and all ready to be used.

But then I realized, well, I knew a little more than that.

I remembered that when I was growing up, in the 1960’s, our family had an “egg lady.”

The “egg lady” came every Saturday afternoon, usually around 4 pm. I can’t remember if she drove a van or a station wagon. I never even learned her name, but I can still see her in my mind’s eye. If I remember right, my mom once told me she lived across the river, somewhere in Illinois.

Each week she brought us six dozen eggs. We needed that many as we had six kids in our family. I remember my mom would pay her in cash, unzipping her small leather coin purse to add the change needed to the one dollar bills laying on the table to come up with the exact amount. The “egg lady” would scribble something down on a small piece of paper and possibly confirm next week’s order. I guess that was her bookkeeping.

It was an “event” when the “egg lady” came. I would run downstairs upon her arrival and get the empty cartons out of our old Kelvin refrigerator which had the rounded corners. The Kelvin had a drawer on the bottom which pivoted open where my mom stashed the empty cartons. See, we were recycling even before it was the thing to do. We recycled other things, too, like clothes; although, back then we called them hand-me-downs.

Once I got the cartons, I would sit in the kitchen to watch the egg/money exchange between my mom and the egg lady. She always came to the back door and up the four steps into the kitchen where my mom was making dinner. I would watch the “egg lady” and was a bit fascinated by her. I think occasionally I may have asked her a question. I do remember her quick smile. It wasn’t but a moment, and then she would pick up the empty cartons, say a pleasant goodbye, and scurry out the back door to her next stop.

I’m not one to say the good ole days are always better than the here and now. But you know, it was pretty cool having an “egg lady.”

Is there an “egg lady” in your past?

34 comments

  1. I loved this read. My aunt was an “egg lady”. They were big grain farmers but also raised laying hens. I remember going for holidays to their farm, helping to gather the eggs, and then candling each one. I remember how warm the eggs were when we first gathered them. After the candling, the eggs were washed and we stopped at farms on our way to the city to drop off orders. In the city, we delivered the bulk of the eggs to the creamery there. Thanks once again for bringing back wonderful memories through your story, Betty!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you enjoyed this post, and that it brought back good memories for you! I am glad to get such a nice comment, so thank you. You always leave such nice comments. It’s extra gratifying when a post really resonates with someone. I have to admit though – I had to google what “candling” meant. 🙂 Hope you have a great Monday!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I really enjoyed this post also! I could picture you perched on a little stool in the kitchen, taking in the scene–and your Kelvinator! My grandmothers were the “egg ladies.” I would help them both gather eggs from the hen house nesting boxes. And yes, the eggs were washed, because who wants poop and feather bits on your eggs? No chemicals were involved–they were just washed off because sanitation is essential in food preparation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this post. 🙂 I’ve never gathered an egg, and I’m getting an education reading about it. I can still see that old Kelvinator. I don’t think it ever stopped working! Now it’s almost time for breakfast. I’m going to have eggs as usual, but I don’t think I’ll ever look at them quite the same way. Poop and feather bits? What????

      Liked by 1 person

  3. YES, now that you mention it there was an “egg lady” where we got eggs at a farm near our family cabin when I was little. My sister has told me that you do not have to refrigerate eggs, but she was talking about the white ones in a carton from the grocery store. I am going to have to do more research on that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting! I don’t think most people here get bread and eggs delivered by an individual anymore. But we do have “instacart” which I guess is an updated version of that. Thanks for your comment, and enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We didn’t have an egg lady but we did get our milk delivered. This post reminds me of our annual summer visits to my grandparents on their farm in West Virginia. While we were there we had to help with chores. I hated it when we had to go into the hen house to gather the eggs each morning. I never left that hen house without being pecked.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We had a milk man for a bit, but not very long. We never had fruits and vegetables delivered to the house, I think that would have been nice. We always went to local farmers for home grown produce in the summer. Thanks for your comment, and have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

        • We had a man that rolled a cart with a little bell. He went around and sharpened knives and scissors! Everybody in South St. Louis knew of him and still talks about him. His name was Tony. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Now that you mention it, I think we had a guy like tht too! In New York City! I wonder if they still have vendors like that. I haven’t lived in the city for many, many years. Though I have my memories!

            Liked by 1 person

            • I grew up in South St. Louis – the city. I have lots of good memories. There is even a Facebook group for those who grew up in South St. Louis where we discuss all the wonderful quirks growing up then and there. I don’t know if there are still vendors like that – I doubt it, but you never know. Now, we live in a planned new urbanism community, and we love it!

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Isn’t it funny what we remember. We had the ‘Honey -man’. He came form a specific area with the best honey in the world. My mum would prepare the old empty tins ready to exchange them to the big filled tins. They were I think 5 kg tins and lasted long. He didn’t come that often.
    We also had the milk van we went out to get a liter of fresh milk in our ‘milk can’ this was real sustainable, no cartons, no waste but real fresh milk. He cam to our road each day at a specific time, rang a bell, so we knew and we rushed out. I remember when my mum was outraged as the price went up from 52 Pfennig to 56 Pfennig. This was in the 70 ties. Now 50 years on milk is rahter luxury with those prices.
    It is fun to remember these things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is fun to remember the past times. And you have some great memories! I never heard of honey being delivered! It does remind me of when we visit Michigan in the summer. We go to the Farmer’s Market, and the vendor which sells the honey, made at their bee farm, is always a very popular spot. I also think you make a great point about the process being sustainable – no waste. That’s a good goal for today’s systems.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My aunt was the egg lady when I was a youngster. I remember the two story hen house was not far from the farmhouse. I would occasionally help to collect the eggs. She did it twice a day. She did not deliver the eggs but would set flats on the porch next to a tin can
    with a slit to drop in the money. It was the honor
    system. All day every day, cars would drive up the driveway and get their eggs.

    The first time we visited Europe, we went to a grocery store to get some eggs. We could not find any eggs so we asked. They immediately knew we were from the States. “You won’t find eggs in the dairy section sir, they are on the self next to the bread”, they said. In Europe, and other countries too, eggs are not refrigerated. They are just set out in the grocery section. Eggs have a protective coating that keeps bacteria out. If they are washed then the coating is removed and they would need to be refrigerated at that point. I believe it is illegal to wash eggs in Europe.

    Have a good day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting! I did not know that about eggs in Europe! Usually I get educated when I read other people’s posts. But this time, I am getting an education from the comments on my post!
      Your aunt must have had a lot of chickens to collect eggs twice a day. I like the idea of the honor system. I remember a home near us when my kids were growing up having an honor system for their home grown tomatoes. I don’t know what that lady did, but she had the best tomatoes!
      Hope you have a good day, too!

      Like

  7. Well, when I was a kid we had the milkman and the elderly lady who collected our discarded newspapers. She must have been doing darn well since she drove a really nice Cadillac! My niece in West Virginia has chickens and when we were there she gave us a huge bucket of eggs. Oh, they were so good. And now we have a vendor just a short piece from the house who has all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables. Barbara absolutely loves the stand. She even has the phone number of the lady who works there and has been able to call and ask for something specific, which they can usually find and get for her fresh. Ah yes, we have it all in Florida! All except snow which suits me just fine!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can remember when I used to go garage sale-ing – I saw plenty of Cadillacs, and those Cadillacs belonged to the people shopping at the garage sales! A vendor with fresh fruits and vegetables close to the house is a dream come true. I love it! In fact, I’d take that over a Cadillac any day! Hope you’re having a great week!

      Like

  8. I grew up next to my grandmother and she always had a few cows and chickens. Most of the eggs from her chickens were brown but every now and then there would be an egg of pastel pink or blue. I always thought they were gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know now some chickens (maybe Americana?) lay eggs of different colors. I didn’t realize until recently that some eggs were colors besides white and brown. I have yet to see a pink one though. Enjoy your day!

      Like

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