I was a boy back when the milk man still came around in his blue-and-white panel truck delivering bottles of milk with Elsie the Cow on them. I don’t remember clearly because I was only 4 years old back when I first became aware of being a boy in this world instead of being something else living somewhere else.
There were many things I didn’t know or understand back then. But one thing I did know, was that I loved Elsie the Cow. And why would a farm boy love a cartoon cow? There were many not-so-sensible reasons.
For one thing, Elsie the Cow reminded me of June Lockhart, Lassie’s mom and the mom from Lost in Space.
It may be that June Lockhart’s eyes reminded me of Elsie’s eyes, being large, soul-full eyes with large black eye lashes. It may be that she starred in a TV commercial for Borden’s milk in which Elsie winked at me at the end of the commercial.
Or maybe it was because Elsie had calves and was a mom. And June Lockhart was Lassie’s mom and the mom of Will Robinson, so I associated both of them with my mom, and thus with each other.
Elsie gave you milk to drink and was always taking care of you in that way. Milk was good for you, after all. My own mom was a registered nurse. So they were alike in that way too.
And she was constantly defending you against the bulls in your life. She stood up to Elmer to protect her daughter more than once. Of course, her son was usually guilty of whatever he was accused of, but she still loved him and kept Elmer from making his “hamburger” threats a reality.
And you can see in numerous ad illustrations that Elsie’s family were basically nudists. Although she often wore an apron, she was bare otherwise. And though her daughter often wore skirts and her son wore shorts, Elmer was always naked. And that didn’t surprise me, because no cow I knew from the farm wore clothes either. From very early in my life I was always fascinated by nakedness, and I would’ve become a nudist as a youngster if it hadn’t been soundly discouraged by family and society in general.
So there are many reasons why I have always loved Elsie the Cow. And it all boils down to the love of drinking milk and that appealing cartoon character who constantly asked you to drink more.