National Ice Cream Day has never been celebrated like it was Tuesday at The Bridge at Cherry Hill in Johnston.
“We are always celebrating something here at The Bridge,” said Jennifer Burns, sales/community relations director. “What better ways to celebrate the day then with a visit from Kay’s Ice Cream Truck?”
Tuesday’s celebration included everything from old-fashioned ice cream sandwiches to Popsicles. It also included memories of yesteryear, like when Burns was a little girl and visited the once-famous Kay’s Ice Cream stand on West Shore Road in Warwick.
“Ice cream trucks in the summer bring back fond memories for just about everyone, including our great residents here at The Bridge,” Burns said. “For me personally, my fondest childhood memories in the summer are of visiting Kay’s with my neighborhood friends … [We had] pockets full of change – usually pennies – and when we got there I could barely reach the counter.”
Years later, when Burns was a student at St. Mary’s Academy Bay View, she became friendly with Kim McDonough – now Kim Leandre – while dancing with other students during a cabaret performance at the East Providence-based Catholic high school.
During that performance, Burns remembers looking into the audience and seeing Kay – the same great lady who used to give her huge ice cream cones even if she and her friends didn’t have quite enough money. She later learned that Kay was, in fact, Kim’s mother.
“I was so excited when Kim told me Kay was her mother,” Burns said. “Kay was always so kind to the neighborhood children, giving all of us ice cream when we showed up with a fistful of pennies.”
Some years after Burns and Kim graduated from Bay View Academy, they reconnected at an alumni event.
“Kim told me Kay’s was now known as Kay’s Ice Cream Truck and she was taking it on the road,” Burns said.
Thus, when Burns and other staff members at The Bridge began planning Tuesday’s National Ice Cream Day celebration, she decided to reach out to Kim – who lives and Warwick and owns and operates the mobile ice cream parlor with her husband, Rick Leandre – to see if she’d be interested in coming to Johnston for National Ice Cream Day.
“Without any hesitation,” Burns recalled, “Kim said yes, and that would also mean bring back my childhood memories here [to The Bridge] and would be a perfect way to celebrate and give back to my Bay View sister’s business.”
Burns also emphasized: “Our residents loved having the ice cream truck here. They all sat in the patio eating their ice cream treats and reminisced about their own summertime childhood memories, just as I did while turning back the calendar those glorious days of summer’s past.”