This interview was conducted by Becky Suarez on June 23, 2002 in San Antonio, TX. as part of Palo Alto College’s History 1302 class.
My father, Adolph David Suarez, who prefers to be called by the initials A.D., was born on July 2nd, 1948 to Amelia and Hilario Suarez in San Antonio, Texas. He has lived in San Antonio, Texas all his life. He graduated from Jefferson High School in 1969. After high school, he worked in retail store as a sales person. He married my mom, Lynnda Belden, in 1971. A year later, my father started working as a home delivery milk man at Knowlton’sCreamery. He enjoyed this job because he was able to talk and meet many people. He worked at Knowlton’suntil 1980, when he entered the roofing business.In 1974, he had his first child, my brother, Ronnie Suarez. Four years later he had his second child, my sister, Carissa Suarez. In 1984, his third and last child was born, Rebecca Suarez(me). In 1982, he opened up his own roofing business. Unfortunately fifteen years later he was forced to give up his business due to health problems. In 1997, A.D. started working for Guaranteed Converters. Today he continues to work there and has become manager. He especially enjoys hisjob because he enjoys talking to people, like he did when he was a home delivery milk man. Today, my dad thoroughly enjoys going to the movies, spending time with his family, and baby granddaughter.
What were your previous jobs before working at Knowlton’s Creamery as a milk man?
Before Knowlton’s Creamery, I worked at Spartan Atlantic as a sales person. The only other job was as an usher at the Broadway Theatre.
Did this experience help in any way as working as a milk man?
Working at Spartan Atlantic helped because I learned how to talk to people on a more one to one basis when I was head of the department.
How old were you when you were hired as a milk man?
I was twenty-four.
How old were the other people you worked with?
All different ages. Some were in their 30’s, 50’s, and even 60’s. I was one of the youngest.
Overall did you enjoy your job as a milkman?
I really enjoyed my job because at the time I realized how much I loved talking to different people.
Did you get to know your customers?
Only the ones that were awake, outside, or at home when I delivered. Some customers
would be sleeping because it was so early in the morning. I had a key to some of their
houses so I would walk in and place their products either in the refrigerator or wherever
they requested. Sometimes, they would leave lists of where they wanted each product. Like in the refrigerator, freezer, or counter. There were also customers, whom I didn’t have key to their house, who wanted their products on the porch.
Did you have any regular customers that you would see every day?
Yes. I had regular customers that I would either see once or twice a week. If they wanted
products twice a week then I would deliver to them either on Monday and Thursday or on Tuesday and Friday. It just depended on when they needed more products.
What type of vehicle did you use to deliver the milk?
I drove a refrigerated truck. It looked much like a U.P.S. truck only a little smaller.
Did you have to take a test to drive it?
Yes. I had to get a C classification driver’s license.
What kinds of products did you deliver (besides milk)?
Well, besides all different types of milk, I delivered other dairy products, such as: cheeses, yogurts, orange juice, ice-cream, and ice milk.
To what sides of town did you deliver to?
I delivered to the eastside on Mondays and Thursdays and downtown on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Did all the deliverers have a specific route that they were supposed to follow every day?
Yes. We all had specific routes.
How much did they pay you?
When I first started as a home delivery milk man I was paid on commission and received
percentage of the routes. Then when I moved up to institutional sales I received salary,
needed expenses, and a company car. This was because part of institutional sales meant
taking out the customers of big businesses, like restaurants, out to eat to talk to them
and make sure they were satisfied with our products.
How many hours did you work a day?
Well, I worked on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 4:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesdays were our days to solicit.
What types of class of people did you deliver to?
To any class. It didn’t matter if you were poor or rich. Just depended on who wanted products delivered to their house.
Did you have to wear a uniform?
Yes. I wore navy blue pants with a light blue shirt.
Why did you stop delivering milk?
I stopped delivering milk when I got promoted to Institutional Sales a few years after I had started working at Knowlton’s. I later left Knowlton’s to start a roofing company.
Are there still home delivery milkmen in San Antonio? Texas?
Not that I know of. I know that Knowlton’s Creamery is no longer in business. It was bought out by Oak Farms Dairy.
What event or events in your life have affected who you are today?
Having stroke when I was forty-three had a great effect on me but I am surrounded by a loving family and I thank God to be still around to enjoy life with them.
After interviewing my dad, A.D. Suarez, a former home delivery milk man, I have come to realize that times have extremely changed. My dad used to keep keys to the different houses he delivered to. In the early mornings he would enter some houses and put the products wherever the customer desired. When he would do this the customers would be sleeping. I couldn’t imagine someone coming into my house early in the morning, when I was sleeping, and put things in my refrigerator. Now in days, you can’t just trust anybody to have a key to your house and come in early in the morning. You don’t know how trustworthy this person may be. What if they were to make a copy of your key or steal things while you were sleeping? Back then, people didn’t ask these questions because they weren’t issues. This is the main reason why the job as a home delivery milk man has become an obsolete. Although recently, there has been issues on bringing
back jobs like home milk deliverers, laundry delivers, or grocery store deliverers. The only question left is “Can we trust other people delivering to or in our homes?” This interview has allowed to see how times have changed and how they will remain to change over time.